“Fifty Shades of Grey” Returns to Library Shelves

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Update! Brevard County returns Fifty Shades of Grey to Library Shelves
NCAC and ACLU Demand Return of Fifty Shades of Grey
The NCAC has been a prevailing voice against the censorship of the best-selling Fifty Shades of Grey. In letters to the Brevard County Library Services Director, the Library Board and the County Commission, we and partner organizations have condemned the exclusion of erotica books and asked that the books be returned.  In a New York Times article this week NCAC Executive Director Joan Bertin called the case “egregious.”
CONTACT:
Michael O’Neil, Communications Coordinator
National Coalition Against Censorship
michael@ncac.org, (212) 807-6222, ext. 107
NEW YORK, N.Y. 5/24/12— In a joint letter sent today (link to PDF), the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida (ACLUFL) to urge Brevard County Commissioners to reinstate the best-selling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey to the Brevard public library system.
The ACLUFL’s support adds a new salvo as national attention escalates, from coverage via the New York Times and the NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams.
Calling on commissioners to overturn the decision of the Public Library Services Director, the letter argues that:
“Public libraries enrich our lives. Books teach us; they entertain us; they confound us; and they challenge us. And sometimes, they make us uncomfortable. But there is no room on library shelves for censorship.”
The letter goes on to point out that the Brevard County Public Libraries contain many titles with sexual content and that it is the prerogative of readers to decide for themselves whether or not to pick these books up.
This is only the latest action in NCAC’s campaign against the ban on Fifty Shades in Brevard County. Last week, NCAC joined with national free speech organizations representing publishers, authors, booksellers and journalists in condemning a categorical ban on erotica in public libraries.
A main contention of the campaign is that, because Fifty Shades had already been selected and circulated in Brevard County, removing the trilogy because of its content is an act of government censorship that violates the First Amendment.
The letter cites a landmark 1943 Supreme Court case, in which Justice Jackson stated, “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.” NCAC and the ACLUFL expressed their hope that the County Commissioners and Library Board Members will uphold their duties to “represent all Brevard County citizens,” including the hundreds who wish to read Fifty Shades and other erotica.
The groups hope that the County Commissioners will address this issue at their upcoming meeting on May 29.
NCAC and ACLU letter in the news: