The Handmaid's Tale gets into trouble with its "rape-themed" wine
In screenshots stil circulating online, the now-deleted Lot18 page for the products show Offred being described as “completely stripped of her rights and freedom.”
The Handmaid's Tale is currently streaming on Hulu with its second season having just arrived with its very confusing finale, but that isn't the only reason the acclaimed TV show is in the news. No, the fact that it has bagged several - a whole multitude - of Emmy nominations this year, isn't the one either.
It's the recent wine range that the show's marketing team tried to establish but failed miserably.
Many were outraged with the name and descriptions of the wines, with many fans even finding the whole marketing strategy of the wines as pro-rape.
On Tuesday, the show's producer MGM, in alliance with Lot18, released a line of wines, including a red inspired by Elisabeth Moss and Alexis Bledel‘s characters -- Offred and Ofglen, and a white after Yvonne Strahovski‘s character, Serena Joy.
Offred got labeled as a 2017 Pays d’Oc Pinot Noir, which was described as “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.”
Reps for Lot18 confirmed to People magazine that the wine line was canceled ever since people started protesting against the description, but screenshots of the now-deleted Lot18 page for the products show Offred being described as “completely stripped of her rights and freedom.”
“Offred must rely on the one weapon she has left to stay in control — her feminine wiles,” the description continues. “This French Pinot Noir is similarly seductive, its dark berry fruit and cassis aromatics so beguiling it seems almost forbidden to taste. But it’s useless to resist the wine’s smooth and appealingly earthy profile, so you may as well give in. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, indeed.”
As for Ofglen, who happens to be one of the most rebellious characters on the show, a 2017 Rogue Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: “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 was called a 2016 Bordeaux Blanc, which 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.”
Soon after the news of the launch spread, people took to Twitter to state their views, trashing the line - especially their descriptions. “’Can you turn rape into marketing copy?’” one user tweeted. “‘Sure, you bet.’ ‘Great, it’s for Handmaid’s Tale wine.’ ‘Haha, love it.'”
She then followed the tweet with: “‘IT’S USELESS TO RESIST…SO YOU MAY AS WELL GIVE IN.’ Who the f— thinks rape-themed wine is a good idea?”
Another user quipped, criticizing that the “secret ingredient” in the wine is “roofies.”
One user had some particularly insightful suggestions about “better ideas for merchandising!" where she enlisted a "Handmaid’s Tale the pepper spray. Handmaid’s Tale the IUD. Handmaid’s Tale the enormous donation to the National Network of Abortion Funds.”
Another wrote: "Finally a product that combines everything I hate: wine, marketing, unbridled capitalism, and authoritarian patriarchal dystopias where women are chattel!"