Fifty Shades of Grey may be contributing to the rise in the number of people calling emergency services to free them from handcuffs, the London Fire Brigade told the The Associated Press. This is further proof that E.L. James's erotic trilogy is probably the worst thing to happen to Western culture since the macarena.

In a report released earlier today, the Brigade said that there has been a rise in the number of incidents involving people and their various body parts trapped in blenders, toasters, toilets and the like. Most notably, over the last three years, 79 Londoners called the fire department to have themselves freed from handcuffs. The brigade reckons that the smutty series has prompted a few people to add some spice to their love lives — apparently without thinking the kinky game through. "I don't know whether it's the Fifty Shades effect, but the number of incidents involving items like handcuffs seems to have gone up," Third Officer Dave Brown said in a statement. "I'm sure most people will be Fifty Shades of red by the time our crews arrive to free them." 

And handcuffs are just the tip of the iceberg. These are the most embarrassing calls to which the fire department was forced to respond, arranged by the increasing lack of sense demonstrated by the victims:

  • One child got a Lego stuck to his finger
  • Four people got their hands stuck in blenders
  • One adult got stuck in a child's car
  • Eighteen kids got their heads stuck in toilets
  • Nine guys had rings stuck to their penises

Many of these, to be fair, have seemingly nothing to do with the erotic adventures of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. But their BDSM escapades have not helped. In the face of the Fifty Shades-inspired handcuffing epidemic, the London Fire Brigade recommended that residents keep their handcuff keys handy and use common sense. 

More importantly, they want people to stop calling them. “I’d like to remind everyone that 999 is an emergency number and should only be used as such," Brown said. "When firefighters are out attending to some of these avoidable  incidents, someone else could be in real need of emergency assistance." He could have also pointed out that people might want to find something better to read.

(Image from Shuttershock.)