The Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning Hulu original, The Handmaid’s Tale, struck all the right chords with its latest season, hitting almost too close to home at times. And while the riveting season two finale that recently aired has earned praise, the show’s marketing efforts was hit with swift backlash after attempting to release a collection of wines celebrating its female characters. You know, the same female characters from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel who are forced into sexual servitude.
And that leads us to…
Wine? Really? Wine?!
Wine retailer Lot18 and MGM teamed up to release three Handmaid’s Tale varietals yesterday, two reds (for characters Offred and Ofglen, played by Elisabeth Moss and Alexis Bledel, respectively) and one white (for character Serena Joy, played by Yvonne Strahovski).
And here’s how they were described — before they were very quickly canceled by Lot18 and MGM literally hours after the release announcement:
Offred’s 2017 Pays d’Oc Pinot Noir is “rich and complex. Lush, fruit flavors of cherry and cassis are complemented by earthy flavors of mushroom and forest floor. We honor Offred with a wine that will stay with you long after you’ve finished your glass and a powerful experience you will never forget.”
Ofglen’s 2017 Rogue Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is “a daring testament to the heights that Oregon Cabs can reach, featuring concentrated flavors of cherry, plum and coffee bean that give way to a warm, spicy finish.”
Serena Joy’s 2016 Bordeaux Blanc is “sophisticated, traditional and austere… While the wine may initially come off as restrained, a few sips reveal it to be hiding layers of approachable white grapefruit and lemongrass, backed by weight and concentration.”
Cue the merited social media backlash, slamming the wines as tone-deaf:
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
Um am I the only one who finds this really wrong and distasteful. Lets buy a wine that turns Rape Culture, Misogyny and Violence Against Women into a cool wine label. Ick! What's next Handmaid's Tale special limited edition Oreo Cookies and Shreddies!?!?!? https://t.co/RSafMQZOQ2
— Lyla Miklos (@lylamiklos) July 10, 2018
Hey @hulu I had some better ideas for merchandising! Handmaid’s Tale the pepper spray. Handmaid’s Tale the IUD. Handmaid’s Tale the enormous donation to the National Network of Abortion Funds. https://t.co/gIRH62wdyf
— Jess Zimmerman (@j_zimms) July 10, 2018
“Can you turn rape into marketing copy?” “Sure, you bet.” “Great, it’s for Handmaid’s Tale wine.” “Haha, love it.” pic.twitter.com/9089Cveu0G
— Margaret Lyons (@margeincharge) July 10, 2018
If you don’t think a Handmaid’s Tale wine makes sense then ask yourself who watches The Handmaid’s Tale and what it is they get out of it
— Andre (@andredoesthings) July 11, 2018
Peak capitalism is being pitched "Handsmaid's Tale"-inspired wine.
— Joseph Hernandez (@joeybear85) July 5, 2018
Better luck next time, marketing team.