The promotion of former slave plantations as wedding venues could soon be a thing of the past, as Pinterest and the Knot Worldwide are changing their policies, according to a BuzzFeed News report published Wednesday (December 4).
The Knot Worldwide, which is the parent company of The Knot and WeddingWire websites, are said to be revising their guidelines to make sure wedding vendors don’t use language that romanticize plantation history at the expense of the slaves who toiled the land—although plantations will still be listed as venues. “We want to make sure we’re serving all our couples and that they don’t feel in any way discriminated against,” the Knot’s chief marketing officer Dhanusha Sivajee told BuzzFeed. But, Sivajee added, “You can imagine there could be former plantations that maybe have changed their names to manors or farms.” The new policy is said to be released in the next few weeks.
As for Pinterest, they will restrict plantation wedding content and will eventually remove those Google searches from the site. “Weddings should be a symbol of love and unity. Plantations represent none of those things,” a spokesperson for the site told BuzzFeed. “We are working to limit the distribution of this content and accounts across our platform, and continue to not accept advertisements for them.”
According to Buzzfeed, the push was a result of pressure from the civil rights advocacy group Color of Change. In a letter to the Knot and Pinterest, Color of Change reportedly wrote: “The decision to glorify plantations as nostalgic sites of celebration is not an empowering one for the Black women and justice-minded people who use your site. Plantations are physical reminders of one of the most horrific human rights abuses the world has ever seen. The wedding industry routinely denies the violent conditions Black people faced under chattel slavery by promoting plantations as romantic places to marry.”
Arisha Hatch, the vice president of Color of Change, broke the issue down further by explaining to Buzzfeed, “all the different ways that the wedding industry is disrespecting Black folks by romanticizing … forced labor camps that brutalized millions of slaves.” What’s more, Hatch said, “If we were talking about concentration camps, it would be weird and disrespectful and egregious for folks to be seeking to have their weddings at these locations.”