Why Are Some ‘Handmaid’s Tales’ Fans Appalled By Elisabeth Moss’s Role On the Show

As Season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale hit Hulu on June 5th, fans are busy watching the terrifying, binge-worthy drama. Elisabeth Moss’s character June is a badass rebel who’s overcome some ridiculous odds in the first two seasons.

We’re eager to see how she plans to continue to fight for her cause as Gilead closes in on her. But, some fans are critical of Moss’s depiction of June based on her history of following Scientology. Is it ironic she is starring in The Handmaid’s Tale?

The Handmaid’s Tale dystopia

Elisabeth Moss
Elisabeth Moss | Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Turner

In The Handmaid’s Tale, the commanders and their wives are part of the leadership in a new reality called Gilead. Under the totalitarian regime, women (the handmaids) who are of reproductive age are used as breeding vessels, to produce children for upper-class couples who cannot naturally have them. After the handmaids give birth, the children are quickly weaned and the handmaid is placed with another family to repeat the process. Much of this is guided by the principles laid forth by the religion of Gilead. 

Gilead parallels the beliefs of Scientology

View this post on Instagram

June is coming. 06.05.19.

A post shared by Elisabeth Moss (@elisabethmossofficial) on

Critics claim that the ideals of the people of Gilead are essentially the same as many of the principles behind Scientologist belief. The Church of Scientology has denied any such claims as it has come under attack by several famous, former members. One of the most notable opponents of Scientology is former member Leah Remini with her show Scientology and the Aftermath. Several episodes of Remini’s show detail how The Church of Scientology discourages familial connections, much like Gilead. 

There have been fans who have brought up some of the similarities between Scientology and Gilead too. An Instagram user left a comment questioning Moss’s values after she won her Golden Globe in 2017. 

“Love this adaptation so much,” the fan wrote. “Question though, does it make you think twice about Scientology? Both Gilead and Scientology both believe that all outside sources (aka news) are wrong or evil… it’s just very interesting.”Moss defended her position, responding, “That’s actually not true at all about Scientology…Religious freedom and tolerance and understanding the truth and equal rights for every race, religion and creed are extremely important to me.”

Fans still find her casting on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ appalling

If she just played an average handmaid, that would be one thing. But portraying the powerful, rebellious June seems in direct opposition to her Scientologist roots. Fans have taken to social media to express their concerns.

Filling Twitter with their outrage and angst isn’t the only thing fans have been doing either, some are straight out boycotting watching the show. Concerned that Elisabeth Moss is unaware that her role in the show seems to contradict her belief system, critics have recently called her out on her opinions about Scientology. 

She has defended both her religion and her role in the show. Moss has made it clear that she believes her role as June actually lines up with her Scientology beliefs. 

“The things that I believe in personally, for me, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ and the ability to do something that is artistically fulfilling but is also personally fulfilling, I’ve never had that,” she explains. “‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ lines up so perfectly parallel with my own beliefs in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the things that this country was actually built on.”

Since she is firmly ensconced in both her role as June and her religion, we will just have to wait and see if she changes her opinions at all as time goes on. Especially since more and more people are pointing out the perceived hypocrisy. 

Hulu has dropped the first three episodes of Season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale. It promises to be as captivating as the first two seasons and fans can expect a new episode to air on Wednesdays.