British Hotel Replaces Bedside Bibles with Fifty Shades of Grey

Instead of the Gospels, guests at the Damson Dene Hotel get "mommy porn" for their bedside reading

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Vintage Books / AP

Nestled in the picturesque Lake District of northwestern England, the Damson Dene Hotel looks at first glance like a typical English countryside hotel. But its bedside tables hold a shocking secret. Instead of placing the traditional Gideon Bible at arm’s reach, the hotel has put in each of its 40 rooms a copy of E.L. James’ best-selling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

Hotel owner Jonathan Denby told NBC News that in a secular society, it was “wholly inappropriate” to put a religious book in someone’s bedroom. He confessed that the novel, which started life as Twilight fan fiction, wasn’t his first choice of replacement. In fact, he hasn’t even read it. “I was thinking originally of putting in a book by Ayn Rand — Atlas Shrugged was my first thought,” he said, but “because everybody is reading Fifty Shades of Grey, we thought it would be a hospitable thing to do, to have this available for our guests, especially if some of them were a little bit shy about buying it because of its reputation.”

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Fifty Shades of Grey traces the relationship between a business magnate and a young college graduate, with explicit depictions of bondage and submissive acts. Since the Damson Dene’s dirty little secret has emerged, the hotel has received dozens of angry e-mails — not from Britons, but from Americans — demanding that the Bibles be restored beside the beds. Writing on his personal blog, Denby revealed that he has been called a “puppet of Satan” and that several people e-mailed him “pretending that they were just about to make a booking the Damson Dene, but had changed their mind.”

Unsurprisingly, the move has also attracted the ire of local parish priest Michael Woodcock, who told the Westmorland Gazette that “it is a great shame that Bibles have been removed from rooms and very inappropriate to have been replaced by an explicit erotic novel.” He added, “The Bible remains a source of comfort and inspiration that many people do find helpful.”

However, Wayne Bartholomew, the manager of the hotel, has been quick to point out that “the Gideon Bible is full of references to sex and violence, although it’s written using more formal language, so James’ book is easier to read.”

Ironically, the previous owner of the hotel was a Methodist group that was responsible for putting the Bibles in the rooms.

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181 comments
Richard Charbonneau
Richard Charbonneau

I find this funny, I mean look at whos in an uproar over it.... its not the English, its the Americans... Honestly?  do Americans have nothing better to do then complain about a hotel thats not even in there nation? and chances are will never even stay at!

tnies
tnies

why is any type of sex between consenting adults immoral?  especially since its between a man and a woman.  Is it more the removal of the bible or the addition of Shades of Gray?

I honestly dont know the grounds for complaints are.  Dont the people complaining have sex?

sayit_outloud
sayit_outloud

I don't want to live in this world anymore.  Someone PLEASE shoot me.

ThomasNeidhart
ThomasNeidhart

If you're going to boast, boast about the love of Christ - JESUS is Lord of all.  Now, beyond that, they can put whatever to read in their own establishment.  Doesn't bug me at all.  I just think it's a bit icky for a shared copy of an erotica book. I wouldn't touch it and I wouldn't think it's at all hygenic with couples reading it to each other or such, in a bedroom.

pl1224
pl1224

I agree that placing Bibles in hotel rooms these days is probably culturally inappropriate.  But at least the Gideons favored the King James Bible with its graceful and majestic language.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" seems a bit gender-specific for general appeal (not to mention the fact that you might not want the kiddies reading it!) and anything written by Ayn Rand is hardly relaxing vacation literary fare.   How about a nice volume of William Wordsworth?  At least that would be geographically appropriate.   

Michael Henderson
Michael Henderson

Well a hotel isn't a library...but one might if one so desires, be able to order a Gideon's sent up to one's room.

flyinroom
flyinroom

Gideon Bible...too religious

Atlas Shrugged............too political

50 Shades of Grey...............................too sexy, damn just right.

disconnected55555
disconnected55555

It was funny the first time, but this has been out there for weeks.  News is the one thing that needs to be new and fresh.

imo2012
imo2012

I don't mind the bibles in hotel rooms. The Gideons made their push many years ago to have these put in the rooms. I also wouldn't mind other books if groups were to offer to supply them. 

However, 50 Shades of Grey???  Please.  If you're going to supply fiction reading material, at least offer the classics, and/or let people choose from your library of books when they check in.

Samuel_B
Samuel_B

I'm glad at least he decided to replace the Bible with 50 Shades of Gray instead of Atlas Shrugged.  At least anyone who reads 50 Shades of Gray won't turn smug, arrogant, and condescending like so many of the rightwingers and evangelicals who read the other two books.

imo2012
imo2012

You have an attitude problem.

calivianya
calivianya

That's too funny. I don't get why anyone wastes the money putting books in hotel rooms at all, really - does anyone actually dig around in a hotel room to try to find reading material?

LindaLuttrell
LindaLuttrell

I guess some folks will have to BYOB if they stay there...

RichAssPope
RichAssPope

I think clean towels are most important.

RichAssPope
RichAssPope

The custom of having a Bible in a hotel room is antiquated. Most people that read a bible have on of their own anyway. And those that are frequent readers probably carry their own bible with them. I think most people could care less about this issue.

Joey Di Paolo
Joey Di Paolo

If someone wants to read a bible while away on vacation or a business trip, they can bring their own. Bibles in every hotel room puts a bad taste in my mouth. Where are the other religious texts? Who decided that the Bible is the last and only word on theistic faith? Unless there is a bookshelf in every room with spiritual texts from all dominant religions, there is no place for one chosen spiritual book in public, secular, modern venues.  I agree that a bestselling novel may be placed as a courtesy for the entertainment of the guests, or even the daily newspaper, but the whole bible-in-the-hotel-room thing that is found to happen...everywhere....is just a silent Crusade to convert. Forced religion...yuck!

Mike_in_NYC
Mike_in_NYC

But if you're going to argue that "dominant religious" texts should be included they what about non-dominant texts?  Why should only a Bible, Torah, and Koran (presumably the 'dominant' texts) be the only ones available.  What if I'm part of a minor religion.  At least if there is only one text then I don't feel as though my religion was singled out for exclusion.

I would even argue that since atheists constantly aruge that the Bible is a work of fiction - if that is the case - it is the single best selling novel in history. So - since you think a bestselling novel should be  placed as a courtesy, then that is currently taking place.   ;-)   lol

Thomas T Headen III
Thomas T Headen III

Well, whether or not you like the Bible, to replace it with a sexual novel is not necessarily the best choice either.

Samuel_B
Samuel_B

Why not?  It's infinitely more interesting.

Howard Roark
Howard Roark

At least 50 Shades is more plausible than the bible. While I have not read it, I am pretty sure there are no angels copulating with humans in it, no people gaining strength by not cutting their hair, no deity that can defeat anything but iron... And it's got to be better written than that banal mythology tome (and I hear it's not well written at all).

Sonja Marie Fischer LeVan
Sonja Marie Fischer LeVan

And why are you shocked at this move???....Look at the World!!!!!!...........It is sliding into HELL!!!.....Just as the Scriptures  told us!

momofthree66
momofthree66

Oh my gosh! We're all so scared! Well, we're not. And that's the point. People and science have evolved beyond the threat of old stories. On the other hand, I completely understand that most people will need something like this to get them through life. In fact, I think some people are better off with it. Keeps them busy. 

Howard Roark
Howard Roark

 Right. Scriptures. Written in the good old days when women were stoned and men married children. Ah... times gone by.

momofthree66
momofthree66

Go to the Middle East...the past is now!

herocrest
herocrest

Jesus Christ never forced His opinion on others, We christians shouldn't demand non Christians to see things from our perspective. If the man doesn't want Bibles in his hotel, it's his call. How can he when he doesn't feel it's for him? Are all the products, clothes, groceries you use made by just Christians? So, why must a hotel owner be a Christian before you patronise it? God has His way of touching any body. Nothing wrong in also having multiple books just as they serve different cuisine.  

NativeBornUSA
NativeBornUSA

Man that must cost a fortune to replace them.....kind of dumb.    So if you stay there you rip out the last chapter hahahah.

hammr25
hammr25

This was a great advertising ploy

hilreal
hilreal

Who reads when you can watch Hung on HBO?

CFBMoo1
CFBMoo1

As and American I'd like to say to my fellow Americans, "Get over it." It's their business and they can put what they want in their hotel rooms. If you really want a Bible that bad then BYOB.

SouthernFriedInfidel
SouthernFriedInfidel

Wonder how many Americans feel they are credible in complaining about this? I mean, fer real, who's going to accept their claim that they HAD BEEN planning to travel to the Lake District in order to read the hotel Bibles??

Laurence Chiniquy
Laurence Chiniquy

The people complaining about the Bibles being removed, probably never, ever opened the Bibles placed in any hotel room they have ever stayed in.

timinbovey
timinbovey

As usual, the handcuffs used for the photo above are TOY handcuffs, available at discount department stores and county fair, and typically sold in adult stores at a huge markup (e.g. $3 at the fair or Wal-Mart, $20 at a sex shop) when REAL Smith and Wesson or other real cuffs are readily available for $20 - $25 dollars. They're safer AND secure.  These toy cuffs you see in most articles and even on bondage photo websites are dangerous toys with sharp edges and easy to break locks -- not like you need to break them since they have little levers to release the "prisoner" no key actually needed.  When you see that little lever on the cuffs, and the word "stop" on them, they're TOYS.  Hardly anything that's going to drive anyone into an in-escapeable sexual frenzy.

As for the Bible in hotels.  No one says you have to READ it, ya know. 

Dany Smith
Dany Smith

I worked in hotels a long time and once asked why they put the Bibles in the hotel rooms.

The Bible isn't there for "leisurely reading."  The Bibles are placed in the hotel rooms because an alarming number of people go to hotel rooms to commit suicide.  The hope is that the Bible will persuade them otherwise.  And they choose The Gideon Bible because they can get it for free.

hammr25
hammr25

I hope you didn't believe that story because I sure don't.

SouthernFriedInfidel
SouthernFriedInfidel

 Uh huh. It's not hard to find passages in the Bible that'll send a suicidal person over the edge. Maybe they need to put a 24-hr Dr. Phil channel in the hotels instead? :-P

Laurence Chiniquy
Laurence Chiniquy

I hate to say this, but if someone was contemplating  suicide and started reading the Bible, they would most certainly go through with the suicide after reading a few pages.

SouthernFriedInfidel
SouthernFriedInfidel

 Mebbe they need to post a card for a local suicide hotline? Be a lot more likely to help on THAT issue than some book that tells readers "Happy will he be who dashes the heads of children on the rocks."

Glen Moseley
Glen Moseley

HAHA us uptight Americans, we are so stupid.

Laurence Chiniquy
Laurence Chiniquy

Why is a religious book from any faith group placed inside hotel room? This is a carryover from the past when arrogant Christians were forcing Christianity on others.

I agree with this hotel removing the Bibles from the room. I don't agree with them placing this book "Fifty Shades of Grey" or any other book in the room. Unless it is among a collection of books on various subjects.