Story at a glance

  • Ryan Reynolds married Blake Lively in 2012 at Boone Hall Plantation in South Carolina.
  • In a recent interview, Reynolds said using the former slave plantation as their wedding venue was a mistake.
  • The couple have been active philanthropists and advocates for the Black Lives Matter movement since the death of George Floyd.

On Pinterest, the search "plantation wedding" turns up dozens of idyllic photographics of antebellum architecture and rural landscapes covered in white, with no hint of their violent and racist history with slavery.

At the top, you'll see a note, "Pinterest isn’t a place for hateful images, content or activities." The company added the disclaimer last year, telling Buzzfeed News it would restrict plantation wedding content on its website and was working on de-indexing Google searches for plantation weddings on Pinterest.  

"Weddings should be a symbol of love and unity. Plantations represent none of those things," a Pinterest spokesperson said in an email. "We are working to limit the distribution of this content and accounts across our platform, and continue to not accept advertisements for them."


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Now, actor Ryan Reynolds is apologizing for his 2012 wedding to Blake Lively at Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston County, S.C. 

“It’s something we’ll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for,” he told Fast Company. “It’s impossible to reconcile. What we saw at the time was a wedding venue on Pinterest. What we saw after was a place built upon devastating tragedy. Years ago we got married again at home—but shame works in weird ways. A giant fucking mistake like that can either cause you to shut down or it can reframe things and move you into action. It doesn’t mean you won’t fuck up again. But repatterning and challenging lifelong social conditioning is a job that doesn’t end.”

One of America's oldest working plantations, Boone Hall Plantation was worked by enslaved people for centuries. They were later replaced by their descendants as sharecroppers after slavery was made illegal in the United States.

“We treasure all our relationships with couples that have chosen to get married at Boone Hall, and, when needed, respond to them in private, honest, and personal discussions to address any concerns they may have. The discussions are heartfelt as we want to listen and put love and respect at the center of any issues that arise. We will always work to be a part of the solution for our couples, not a part of the problem,” the plantation said in a statement. 


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"At Boone Hall Plantation we believe there is a responsibility to present the history of slavery in an accurate and educational manner each day in a way that pays honor and respect to that history and the progress of Black Americans," reads the website for the plantation, which still takes bookings for weddings. 

In 2018, when Reynolds tweeted praise of "Black Panther," many on social media pointed to the wedding venue and accused him of hypocrisy. Since then he and Lively have been vocal advocates against racism and police violence against Black people, including posting a statement in solidarity on May 31, days after the death of George Floyd. 

The couple, who have donated more than $1 million to coronavirus relief efforts, also donated $200,000 to the NAACP legal defense fund. The actor is also committing to diverse hiring for his new production company and marketing agency Maximum Effort, which staff hold equity in.

“Representation and diversity need to be completely immersive,” Reynolds told Fast Company. “Like, it needs to be embedded at the root of storytelling, and that’s in both marketing and Hollywood. When you add perspective and insight that isn’t your own, you grow. And you grow your company, too.”


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Published on Aug 05, 2020