By Warren Sink – Collegiate Staff
“Fifty Shades of Grey,” the film adaptation of the best-selling novel, is set to open nationally on Feb. 13. Scott Ruth, from Wyoming, has organized a petition to ban it from local Celebration Cinemas.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” depicts a bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism (BDSM) relationship between a virginal college student and a young billionaire. The content has created a controversy over whether this type of sexual display should be viewed in public theaters.
Despite its R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America for “strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language,” Ruth believes that is not enough.
“In years past this type of material has been quarantined to porn shops, but now it is creeping into the mainstream,” Ruth said.
In a video posted by Ruth on YouTube, he states he is targeting the local chain, because, “this is ultimately a concern for our country, though to me, a critical concern for our community.”
When asked if he had read the novel, Ruth said he had not.
“I have done as much research as possible to understand the material and make informed decisions,” Ruth said.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” defenders say the movie is an expression of Freedom of Speech guaranteed by the Constitution, allowing the expression of ideas and beliefs without government restriction.
“I agree that people should have the legal right to see any movie that they want,” Ruth said. “However, many people feel that this film is completely inappropriate for public theaters that serve a wide audience of viewers.”
Steve VanWagoner, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Celebration Cinemas, said “to not play a wide-release movie is not in the best interest of our business model, and not in the best interest of the community or the industry.”
The community has bought over 3,600 pre-sale tickets for opening weekend at Celebration Cinemas.
“People often object to the content of movies, and it’s their right to express their opinion, but we will be playing 50 Shades of Grey,” he said. “It’s our job to show it.”
Here is what GRCC students had to say about the controversy – compiled by Amelia Eck – Collegiate Staff
Alexis Melinn, 18, Grand Rapids
“It is a little out there…I think maybe they should’ve made it a little more censored…I guess maybe it shouldn’t be in theaters…it all depends on the theater I guess.”
Elmedin Zerick, 20, Grand Rapids
“From what I’ve heard it’s erotic, but I feel like you must know what you’re getting yourself into. Once you buy the ticket its your choice…even if you haven’t read the book you know what it’s about…I think boycotting the theater is kind of unnecessary.”
Karim Hussain, 20, Grand Rapids
“Our generation is different because we are more open-minded…I don’t know maybe we’re just young and he’s like older and he’s just not going (to) understand it like we would”
Amiya Chandler, 18, Grand Rapids
“I think it’s okay that its shown in theaters… I think that if you’re connected to the book and stuff then it should be like in theaters… it depends if you’re a reader or just want to go see it.”
Nora Hudson, 54, Grand Rapids
“I don’t see what the big controversy is all about. I actually read the trilogy. They’ve had more, I’m just going to say this, (there are) worse movies in theaters than “Fifty Shades of Grey” would ever be.”