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Why Govt banned the movie Fifty Shades of Grey

Kenya Film Classification Board has banned the distribution and screening of the movie Fifty Shades of Grey due to its “prolonged and explicit sexual scenes depicting women as sexual slaves”.

The regulator has warned that anyone found distributing the film will be prosecuted.

The board said the film ignores harsh realities that may arise from sexual practices that include bondage, submission and dominance.

“Besides being a film which is sexually loaded in tone, visual effects and sound, the film is one among many films, which is slowly but steadfastly desensitising viewers into embracing pornography, which is illegal in Kenya,” said Bishop Jackson Kosgei  the chairman of the Classification Board.

“Wife battery and sexual violence are vices the country and continent as a whole are trying to eradicate. By having a film that glamorises sexual servitude and abuse, no matter how trivial and mild in form, we fail to empathise with millions of victims of domestic and sexual violence whose voice is seldom heard,” Bishop Kosgei said in a press conference at the regulator’s office.


Asked whether the decision would instead spark the public’s curiosity concerning the film and cause them to seek it out, the chairman was dismissive.

“You cannot use the fact that people will obtain the movie from the internet and other illegal means to justify why it should be exhibited. The movie infringes on the dignity of women, which is against Article 10 of the Constitution. We are working on behalf of children also who would find the material unsuitable,” the Bishop Kosgei said.

Queried on why the film was not instead restricted to adults, the chairman said that the film went beyond what was acceptable for viewership by adults.

“The film is too graphic to be exhibited to adults.

“It contains outstanding violence and objectifies women. It further fails to uphold basic human dignity,” Bishop Kosgei explained.

“Pornography is pouring into the market like a flood and we call upon the public to support the stand taken by the board to protect the youth from harmful practices, which continue to take a toll on their emotional and psychological wellbeing,” the chairman added.

He asked exhibitors wanting to show the film to submit an edited version that would be more suitable for public consumption.

“The film distributor is free to ask for a review of the board’s decision. They can edit out the offensive parts and we may reconsider our decision restricting its exhibition,” said Bishop Kosgei.