After months of silence, The Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood is weighing in on Kylie Jenner’s Gilead-themed party in June to celebrate her friend Anastasia “Stassie” Karanikolaoui's birthday. Speaking in a new interview with New York Magazine, Atwood called the party “a little off" mark, though she noted that Jenner’s was just the first of many to show their appreciation for the novel-turned-TV series in an ill-mannered way.
“My readers deal with those things. They notice them before I do. I expect that Kylie Jenner heard from some of them along the lines of ‘We appreciate the thought, but you kind of missed it.’ There were some themed tequila,” Atwood said, referencing the “Under His Eye” alcoholic beverage available at Jenner’s party.
“People often do this in a very well-meaning way; they’re not trying to be unpleasant,” she continued. “It has been the occasion when I’ve been speaking somewhere and I will be greeted with Handmaid’s Tale cupcakes because the person doing the catering is such a fan. Will I turn up my nose at such cupcakes? No, I will not. I will not do that.”
Although Jenner had been dubbed tone-deaf for the party, Atwood said that she has no hard feelings towards the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star.
“There are these things that appear, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s people playing in the sandbox. I’m happy to have people playing in the sandbox, although sometimes they get a little off, but that is to be expected,” she said. “There are people right now writing military histories of Gilead, and I look forward to reading them because I’m not going to do that.”
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The backlash directed at Jenner had been sparked over the summer after she documented the party on social media for her millions of followers. Featuring the Hulu series’ infamous costumes of red handmaid robes and white bonnets, wait staff dressed as the servant-class Marthas, cocktails were named “Praise Be Vodka” and “Under His Eye Tequila,” and guests greeted each other with the phrase "Praise be,” which is commonly spoken on the series.
The theme was immediately shrouded in controversy, with social media slamming Jenner as being “tone deaf” on social media, and the party being called “tacky” by Bradley Whitford, who portrays Commander Joseph Lawrence on the series. Meanwhile, series costume designer Natalie Bronfman said that she didn’t think it was “done maliciously” and was instead done without “really [understanding] the symbolism” of the book and series.