Call it a facepalm in Gilead. A perfect marriage between marketing and missing-the-point ended in annulment as the makers of a line of “The Handmaid’s Tale”-branded wines canceled its launch on Tuesday just hours after it was announced.
Wine curator Lot18 had announced the collection, named for characters from the series that included “Offred” Pinot Noir, “Ofglen” Cabernet Sauvignon, and “Serena Joy” Bordeaux Blanc, on Tuesday morning.
The cancellation was first reported by People and Entertainment Weekly, shortly after the page promoting the new line on the Lot 18 website was taken down.
No official statement about the cancellation was given by Lot 18 or MGM, which produces the Hulu drama series. Hulu and MGM did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.
But the launch was met with intense backlash over the apparent mockery of the show’s feminist themes.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” is set in a near-future dictatorship in which religious fundamentalists force unmarried (or LGBT) fertile women to become Handmaids, sexual slaves who make babies for the new society’s elite.
And notably, Offred (played by Elisabeth Moss) and Ofglen (played by Alexis Bledel) are Handmaids, while Serena Joy is one of the architects of the new regime, and herself a participant in the oppression.
The marketing copy — for instance, “Offred must rely on the one weapon she has left to stay in control – her feminine wiles. This French Pinot Noir is similarly seductive…” — was just one bone of contention for fans of the show, who flooded social media with criticism.
Here’s just a small sample of the reaction:
“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
Hey ladies! Get you a bottle of Handmaid's Tale wine and watch Alan Dershowitz mansplain on the View because Gilead is real.
— Wally Leary (@WallyLeary) July 10, 2018
Blessed be the fruit of entirely misguided capitalistic endeavors. https://t.co/uvanqfqKJd
— Maris Kreizman (@mariskreizman) July 10, 2018
— Lauren Kelley (@lauren_kelley) July 10, 2018
The secret ingredient is roofies https://t.co/H4EKDmsNqk
— Melina Wicks (@melinawicks) 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
'Handmaid's Tale' wines? These will go great with your 'Silence of the Lambs' cheese board: https://t.co/Zf1vuLiAds
— Tony Martin (@mrtonymartin) July 11, 2018
I’m starting to think that aliens released a chemical into our water supply that is slowly making the entire world stupid. https://t.co/ILj9qzbtEd
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) July 11, 2018
Handmaid’s Tale wine, Human Centipede whiskey, Purge pomegranate liqueur https://t.co/RVBysBdn7v
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) July 11, 2018