(WAFB) - Pinterest and the Knot Worldwide, two of the nation’s largest online wedding-planning websites, are changing their policies to stop promoting wedding venues that were former slave plantations, according to an exclusive interview with BuzzFeed News.
The Knot Worldwide is currently working on new guidelines to ensure wedding vendors don’t use language that glorifies, celebrates, or romanticizes Southern plantation history, chief marketing officer Dhanusha Sivajee told BuzzFeed.
The effort comes after Color of Change, a civil rights advocacy group, sent letters urging Pinterest and the Knot Worldwide to cease promoting plantations entirely. A campaign director for Color of Change told The Washington Post that some vendors were using decorative words like “breathtaking” to describe plantations - venues that invoke painful imagery for African Americans.
“Black people don’t have happy memories of the antebellum period and plantations, where our ancestors were beaten and tortured,” Ogunnaike said. “It’s important the reality of what happened in these spaces is present, versus a romanticization of human rights abuses.”
Plantations will still be able to list themselves as venues. The new guidelines are meant to ensure that wedding vendors aren’t referring to a history that includes slavery using language such as “elegant” or “charming.”
The new language guideline will apply to all wedding venues that list on the Knot websites. Sivajee added, "You can imagine there could be former plantations that maybe have changed their names to manors or farms."
A Pinterest spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the company will restrict plantation wedding content on its website, and is working on de-indexing Google searches for plantation weddings on Pinterest. Users who look up “plantation weddings” and similar terms on Pinterest will be warned that some of the results may violate the site’s policies.
“Weddings should be a symbol of love and unity. Plantations represent none of those things,” the Pinterest spokesperson wrote 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.”
It is important to note that not all plantation homes were built by slaves nor worked by slave laborers. For example, the Palo Alto Plantation in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, was built in 1847 by a family friend of the Lemanns, who fought against slavery.