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"Fifty Shades of Grey" inspired merchandise causing controversy at local mall


GRAND CHUTE, WI (WTAQ) - A popular yet controversial book for women is moving into the accessory business.

But the merchandise inspired by "Fifty Shades of Grey" may not be marketed to an appropriate age group.

Keys and handcuffs and suggestive messages are part of a collection of merchandise based on the popular and sexually suggestive book series. But it's who is selling the items that has raised the concerns of some parents.

"I think it's a little worrisome, I mean it is quite an out-there book," Marian Griebenow of New London told FOX 11.

The novel explores the world of bondage and other sexual behaviors. But now merchandise based on the book is being sold at the jewelry and accessory store Icing. Icing is a store popular among teenagers. Some parents say it's not the kind of merchandise they want their children to be exposed to.

"I wouldn't let my teenage daughter wear them," Amy Diedrich of Neenah told FOX 11.

Psychologist Frank Cummings says exposing teenagers to the sex and violence contained in the book through merchandise sends a strong message. "I think it's clearly a message that's intended for adults and perhaps adult fantasy and kids don't often understand the difference between those things."

While parents admit their children will eventually be exposed to such messages.

"These are all going to be conversations that we have as they get older," said Jill Rohan of Appleton.

Claire's Stores Inc., the parent company of Icing, declined to comment, but an employee of the store here in the Fox River Mall says they've had the merchandise for a few weeks and have had both positive and negative feedback from their customers.

The company did post a message on its Facebook page reading, "Our Icing stores are targeted to appeal to young women ages 18 and up. We choose our fabulous jewelry and accessories carefully and hope we can inspire her, cause her to smile and help her say something about herself."

The group One Million Moms has organized a letter-writing campaign to request the store and its parent company pull the merchandise off the shelves.