Not Surprisingly, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Is Banned in Malaysia

Rhett Pardon

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the mainstream movie based on the erotic trilogy that has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, is opening in theaters Friday — but not in Malaysia.

The Malaysian Film Censorship Board has confirmed that it has banned the theatrical release in the predominantly conservative Muslim country in Southeast Asia.

"[T]he board made a decision in view of the film containing scenes that are not of natural sexual content,” its chair, Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid, told local reporters. “The content is more sadistic, featuring scenes of a woman being tied to a bed and whipped.”

The ban on the mainstream film, with its erotic scenes featuring BDSM, could fuel consumer curiosity in the country and even catapult local sales of tie-in sex toy and novelty merchandise.

Malaysia last year banned the film "Bruno" for promoting homosexual lifestyles, as well as the Cameron Diaz movie, “Sex Tape.”  Also, certain showbiz personalities such as U.S. pop singer Ke$ha are banned from playing in the country.