Rachel Maddow, MSNBC's self-described "liberal TV lady," could barely contain her glee in sharing the news with her cable TV viewers that Tupelo, Miss., home to the virulently antigay American Family Association, is also the epicenter of Fifty Shades of Grey movie fandom.
"Mississippi: the most eager state in the country to see Fifty Shades of Grey!" Maddow declared on her Thursday show, reading headlines from two of the state's newspapers, Jackson's Clarion-Ledger and Tupelo's Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
"Nowhere in the country are people so hot to see this movie as the people of Mississippi!" Maddow said, displaying a bar graph from Fandango and The Washington Post, which showed Mississippi theaters with at least double the rate of advance ticket sales compared with Alabama, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Iowa, and Tennessee.
Theaters in Arkansas, West Virginia, and Kentucky had greater sales than other Bible Belt states, but they couldn't beat Mississippi, which sold nearly four times its average for advance tickets.
And, Maddow noted, Tupelo is the first city in the nation to sell out screenings of Fifty Shades of Grey.
For that reason, the Clarion-Ledger jokingly suggested that perhaps the movie should be renamed "Fifty Shades of Irony." The AFA issued a press release Monday denouncing the erotic romance movie, calling it "essentially pornography." The group called on theaters not to show the film.
The AFA, by the way, is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for the harmful misinformation it has circulated about LGBT people. It also denounces any sexual activity outside marriage.
Maddow concluded, "American Family Association, your town really wants to see Fifty Shades of Grey, and they really don't care what you say about it."
Below, watch Maddow introduce viewers to Tupelo.