There’s a halfway decent chance this story isn’t even true, but the infamous Daily Mirror (a UK tabloid) and its sister publication, the Coventry Telegraph, are both reporting that Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James has threatened a sex-themed party planner with legal action.

According to the two papers, a 45-year-old woman by the name of Tina Winters (that’s her in the photo above) wanted to launch a small home-party business that would host Fifty Shades of Grey-themed buying parties. Winters would presumably host the events at the homes of various women; she would then sell lingerie and discuss sex tips. A Tupperware party for British cougar set, you might say.

But according to the article, “after [Winter] revealed her plans in the Coventry Telegraph a fortnight ago, she [was] warned off by lawyers representing E L James, the author of the best-selling book which has been dubbed ‘mummy porn’ in some quarters. They have demanded that she immediately cease the parties, and remove all references to the bonkbuster from her website.”

In the United States, at least, any number of companies have been hosting similar parties for years; most of them make money by selling vibrators and other sex toys. In fact, if you check out the website of a very successful U.S.-based company known as Pure Romance, you’ll find all sorts of obvious references to the Fifty Shades series.

Currently, Pure Romance is even offering an entire line of products that it says were inspired by James’ work (see screen cap above). Perhaps James’ legal team will be sending a cease-and-desist their way next?

“It’s unbelievable,” said Winters, in the aforementioned Coventry Telegraph article. “[Fifty Shades of Grey] has gone all round the world. Everyone has been using the book title to sell lingerie, fashion, catwalk shows, you name it. Sex shop brands and department stores, they’ve all jumped on the bandwagon – yet I’m the one who gets a letter.”

Incidentally, Winters operates her own online lingerie and sex toy shop, Filthy but Gorgeous.

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Speaking of the unstoppable E.L. James phenomenon, if you didn’t see the recent essay in The Guardian by James’ husband, the author and screenwriter Niall Leonard, I highly recommend giving it a read; it’s hilarious. Here’s a sample:

“I’m the least romantic fecker that ever lived – ask my wife Erika, aka EL James. Our first Christmas together I bought her a tin opener, and my earliest experience of kinky sex was her trying to shove it up my arse.” 


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