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How ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Was an Indirect Consequence of 9/11

An unhinged series of events

Osama bin Laden and Fifty Shades of Grey: What could a violent militant possibly have to do with an erotic novel about BDSM? Well, his heinous act 22-years-ago may have indirectly served as inspiration for it in an unhinged series of events. To understand, first we must talk about the Butterfly Effect, a theory that suggests that the world is so deeply interconnected that one seemingly unrelated occurrence can influence a much larger and complex system.

This particular Butterfly Effect began over 20-years-ago, when My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way witnessed the terrorist attack in Manhattan from just a couple of blocks away. As a result of the traumatic experience, Way decided to start writing music as a way to cope with the PTSD, which eventually led to the formation of the alternative band.

“Music became my therapy from the PTSD that everyone had experienced from 9/11, and processing that,” the Umbrella Academy writer said in his panel at Comic-Con in Los Angeles in 2019, speaking about My Chemical Romance’s origin story.

His music went on to deeply resonate with and touch the lives of many around the world, including Stephenie Meyer, the Twilight author, who wrote that she used My Chemical Romance’s music as fuel to write parts of her vampire epic teen romance saga. In 2009, she told Entertainment Weekly  that the band was really instrumental in making one of the main protagonists Jacob Black’s character, and she included several of their songs in her “Twilight Playlist,” a curated roundup of “the music (she hears in her head) while reading the book.”

At this point, you’re probably wondering where Fifty Shades of Grey fits into all of this. Well, according to E.L. James, the author of the best-selling erotic novel and box office hit, Fifty Shades of Grey began as a fan fiction spin-off on the Twilight novels before it was published without an agent through a small, online writers community.

After reading the Meyer’s vampire epic, James started posting her own erotic take on the novels on, an online forum that allows fans to write stories based on their favorite works.

Speaking to ABC in 2012, the author said, “I just sat on my sofa and just read them and read them and read them [Twilight books]. I was inspired by Stephenie Meyer… she just kind of flipped this switch in my head.”

Fifty Shades of Grey wasn’t the only indirect consequence of the events of 9/11. This domino effect can be taken even further, when you consider that all of this culminated into The Ellen Show being canceled in 2022, after Fifty Shades of Grey lead actress Dakota Johnson called out Ellen DeGeneres on her show, which led to people becoming disillusioned with the talk show host, toxic workplace allegations, and problematic interviews resurfacing.

While The Ellen Show probably would have been canceled eventually, even if Johnson didn’t throw the first brick, Fifty Shades of Grey most likely would have never came into existence  if 9/11 never happened, a bizarre domino effect that changed pop culture as we know it.

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