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News >  Idaho

Idaho: Stop serving booze at ‘Fifty Shades’

BOISE – Idaho authorities are telling movie theaters serving alcohol that they can’t provide drinks during showings of the erotic blockbuster “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

The Idaho State Police’s Alcohol Beverage Control has contacted at least two theaters showing the popular R-rated flick, ordering them to comply with a law banning businesses from serving booze to people watching sexually explicit films.

“I just found it odd that this movie was singled out,” moviegoer Michele Williams, 50, of Eagle, told the Idaho Statesman in Boise in a story published Friday. “I just thought, ‘What year am I living in here? Women can’t control themselves when they drink during this movie?’ I don’t know what the message was.”

The statute passed by Idaho lawmakers in 1999 lists types of movie scenes requiring a booze ban, including simulated sex acts or touching of private parts. “Fifty Shades of Grey” features bondage and sadomasochistic scenes. Business owners that violate the law could face up to a $300 fine, a six-month jail sentence and a suspended liquor license.

“Movies like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ the ladies come to our theater – responsible mothers, grandmothers, etc. – they watch a movie, they share wine,” said Dave Corkill, owner of theater operator Cinema West. “It’s part of an experience. It’s part of what they want. We clean up the bottles whether we sell those bottles to them or they sneak them in.”

He told the newspaper that some PG-13 films seemingly violate the law and that he hopes lawmakers will change the statute.

State officials also told Rick Kessler, owner of Magic Lantern Cinema in Ketchum, to stop serving alcohol to those attending the movie. However, the call came after its two-week run at the theater ended.

“It did not even cross my mind that this was in violation of anything,” he said.

In 2013, the statute drove another theater, The Flicks in Boise, to decline to show “Blue is the Warmest Color,” a critically acclaimed film about lesbian romance.

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