There's been a major misstep in the promotion of The Emoji Movie and people on social media are not happy about it. On July 21, the Twitter account for The Emoji Movie tweeted a parody image, which mashed up the poster for Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale with the face of Smiler, one of the characters from The Emoji Movie. This tweet got people upset at The Emoji Movie Twitter, in large part because the context and subject matter of The Handmaid's Tale is decidedly more serious than The Emoji Movie portrays in the image. In short, the tweet did not accomplish what those behind it may have hoped it would in promoting the film. Bustle has reached out reps for The Emoji Movie for comment about the tweet, but we have not heard back at this time.
The tweet, which has been deleted since it was posted on July 21, featured a photo of the character of Smiler superimposed onto the poster for The Handmaid's Tale, standing in for the face of one of the characters from the show, but showing the distinctive outfit worn by the female characters on The Handmaid's Tale. The title of The Emoji Movie was also designed in the same style as The Handmaid's Tale and instead of it saying "A Hulu Original" above the title, it now read "A Smartphone Original." Perhaps most irksome is the caption that the tweet used, riffing on one of the most used phrase from The Handmaid's Tale, "Blessed be the fruit," which was changed to "Blessed be the Emoji."
The biggest reason this tweet is widely being regarded as insensitive is because many believe the subject matter of The Handmaid's Tale does not allow for comedic riffing. In that story, women are frequently used against their will as sexual surrogates in a world where fertility rates have dropped; it could be argued that this topic is hardly the kind of story that should be parodied to help market a movie aimed at families and children. It's easy to read this Emoji Movie tweet as an attempt to tie in to current pop culture trends as a way to build excitement for the movie itself; however, it appears this was not the way to do it.
People on Twitter reacted with a mix of shock, disgust, and tweeted back to The Emoji Movie questioning their decision to market their decidedly cheerful and lighthearted film in a way that appropriates a much more serious and politically-charged story.
Did you... did you watch The Handmaid's Tale?— Lucas (@lucas_hack12) July 24, 2017
Another user pointed out how women are treated in The Handmaid's Tale:
So does it make you happy to mock the suffering of women? just want to be clear.— Claire Agincourt (@ClaireAgincourt) July 24, 2017
This user had a very business-like approach to criticizing the tweet:
Someone(s) in your marketing dept should probably get written up and go on a performance improvement plan because of this nonsense.— Jack Snyder (@velocijacktor1) July 24, 2017
The tweet has left a bad taste in the mouths of many people, and it's easy to see that, especially on social media, this decision to market The Emoji Movie did not go over well.