E.L. James
(Jewel Samad/Getty)

Author E.L. James faced unrelenting backlash on Twitter yesterday (29 June) when a planned Q&A using the hashtag #AskELJames was taken over by Fifty Shades Of Grey haters.

What had initially been intended to be an opportunity for fans to ask questions about the novels and films, quickly became a free-for-all for critics as they started slating James and accusing her of, through the creation of the characters and plotlines, romanticising the abuse of women and misogyny, and some even suggesting her books glorify rape.

"What's it like telling millions of women it's ok to be in an abusive relationship as long as they're rich," asked @reginaldkray, while Ian Robinson (@eyeswideshut75) targeted the 52-year-old saying: "Which do you hate more, women or the English language?"

Some comments were very much statements rather than questions, such as @Snark_Squad's, who claimed: "Sometimes Ana says no and Grey says BUT YES. That's rape. Sorry, that wasn't a question."

The hashtag was used so much over the course of the session that it swiftly became the number one trend in the US and even number two worldwide.

While most took to bashing the themes and subjects of the saga, some critics moved on to slating James' writing capabilities. Account holder @avestal asked: "After the success of 'Grey', have you considered re-telling the story from the perspective of someone who can write?" Meanwhile, @caitlinstasey wrote: "Does the E.L. stand for ELiterate?" Twitter user @dawneywawney also used the hashtag, wondering: "Is there a safe word which will stop you from writing anymore of this b*******?"

Some people on the social media tried to lighten the mood, making a few jokes regarding the situation and the books in general, but it couldn't outweigh the negative reactions.

James chose not to address the scathing questions of her series, rather sticking to the more 'serious' ones that asked her things such as what is her favourite scene from the novels and if she would change anything about Anastasia Steele's and Christian Grey's relationship if she could go back and do it again.

When the live Q&A came to an end, the writer thanked the participants, simply describing the session as "an interesting hour", seemingly unfazed by the huge number of negative comments. Regardless of the criticism, the Fifty Shades Of Grey franchise has made her a staggering $58m (£37m, €52m)... and that's just the books.

The film of the first novel, starring The Fall's Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, grossed more than $500m in total, despite being panned by critics.

She reportedly earned $5m just for giving over the rights to create the movie adaptations and seeing as she's going to be acting (once again) as screenwriter and producer on the second instalment, she's set to make even more from Christian Grey's story, in the next few years.