The Handmaid’s Tale won’t be going into the wine business after all. The tone-deaf marketing campaign inspired by the Hulu drama and previously announced by Lot18 and MGM has been pulled amid social media backlash, according to Entertainment Weekly.
On Tuesday, People reported that Handmaid’s Tale producer MGM and wine seller Lot18 planned to launch a collection of wines inspired by the characters on the hit Hulu series, which is known for the catchphrase “blessed be the fruit.” The announced wines were to be two reds inspired by Elisabeth Moss and Alexis Bledel’s characters, Offred and Ofglen, and a white wine in tribute of Yvonne Strahovski’s character, Serena Joy.
Marketing copy for the wines included a description of the Offred’s 2017 Pays d’Oc Pinot Noir as a wine “that will stay with you long after you’ve finished your glass and a powerful experience you will never forget.” Serena Joy’s 2016 Bordeaux Blanc was painfully described as a wine that “may initially come off as restrained” until “a few sips reveal it to be hiding layers of approachable white grapefruit and lemongrass, backed by weight and concentration.”
While MGM marketing eyes initially considered the wine to be a catchy tie-in to the show, viewers weren’t having it. Backlash over the ill-conceived Handmaid’s Tale wine line was swift and severe as angry viewers hit social media to slam the tone-deaf idea which some described as “capitalism at its worst” and a mockery of the show’s feminist themes.
“Can you turn rape into marketing copy?” one angry commenter wrote, while another offered suggestions for a Handmaid’s Tale-inspired pepper spray or a Handmaid’s Tale IUD.
Finally a product that combines everything I hate: wine, marketing, unbridled capitalism, and authoritarian patriarchal dystopias where women are chattel! https://t.co/Hd7242e2nR
— andi zeisler (@andizeisler) July 10, 2018
Wow, mindless capitalism at its tasteless best… "The Handmaid’s Tale, a show about the systemic rape, abuse, and disenfranchisement of women living in a fascist theocracy formerly known as the United States, has lent its name to a line of wine."https://t.co/mmXIVCZecj
— The Passionate Friar (@PassionateFriar) July 10, 2018
— TheWrap (@TheWrap) July 11, 2018
Amid the fierce backlash over the bizarre Handmaid’s Tale wine line idea, EW reported, “After further consideration, Lot18 and MGM have decided to cancel the line of wines inspired by The Handmaid’s Tale.”
No official statement about the cancelation of the three wines was given by MGM or Lot18, but indeed, this campaign was corked before the day ended, giving offended fans a real reason to offer up a toast.
The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a dystopian future in which fertile unmarried or LGBT young women, called Handmaids, are forced into child-bearing servitude under a new government. Offred (Elisabeth Moss) and Ofglen (Alexis Bledel) are Handmaids, while Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) is the wife of Gileadan Commander Fred Waterford on the Golden Globe-winning series.
The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 is currently streaming on Hulu.