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Posted under: News

Pinterest To Stop Romanticizing Plantations As Wedding Venues After Being Called Out By Civil Rights Organization

Last time we checked, slavery was neither elegant nor romantic.

Two wedding planning platforms are now on board with affirming what many in the Black community have been saying for years: a former slave plantation is no place to celebrate your union. 

The Knot and Pinterest announced on Wednesday that they would no longer romanticize plantation weddings after being contacted by civil rights advocacy group Color of Change.

“Weddings should be a symbol of love and unity. Plantations represent none of those things,” Pinterest told NBC News. “We are grateful to Color of Change for bringing attention to this disrespectful practice.”

The civil rights organization reportedly urged the companies to stop promoting plantations as elegant locations for weddings, citing their histories as places of severe abuse and dehumanization against Black people. 

“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,” the group said. “Plantations are physical reminders of one of the most horrific human rights abuses the world has ever seen.” 

According to NBC News, Pinterest will make adjustments to its policies and decrease the content distribution of plantation-related wedding posts by turning off search recommendations, email notifications and autocomplete functions. The social media platform — which according to Sprout Social, has approximately 291 million active users — also said they will remove plantation content from their search results and incorporate an advisory message for users. 

“We are working to limit the distribution of this content and accounts across our platform, and continue to not accept advertisements for them,” a Pinterest spokesperson told Buzzfeed News via email.

Though Pinterest is in the process of scrubbing its site for plantation wedding content, The Knot will still allow plantation venues to advertise on their platform while working with Color of Change on building new guidelines and standards for venue owners. 

“We’re currently working with Color of Change to create additions to our current content guidelines that will ensure all couples feel welcomed and respected on our sites,” the wedding planning company said.

Color of Change also reportedly reached out to Zola, another popular wedding planning website. While the platform eliminated some references to plantation weddings from their blog posts, some posts remain live on their site, including inspiration boards for users. 

Zola Communications Manager Emily Forrest responded to the civil rights group’s letter with another written statement, saying “After reviewing this complaint we determined it did not violate our non-discrimination policy. While we may not always agree with couples on all of their wedding details, we also respect their right to choose where and how they want to get married.”

In a statement sent to Blavity, Zola said they've since reconsidered. 

"We re-evaluated all our venues listed on Zola and determined we will not allow vendors to list who are plantations. We recognize that this is a painful issue and have been evaluating on an ongoing basis," the statement read. "We appreciate Color of Change for bringing this issue forward, and will work with them and additional organizations to ensure our policies and guidelines are inclusive and make everyone feel welcome." 

The controversial venue is a popular wedding spot for many Southern weddings. NBC reports that the wedding industry is projected to rake in $76 billion this year. 
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Chelsea is a proud HBCU alumna of Winston-Salem State University and graduate of Georgetown University, who can't turn down a trip to the Wharf, a tall cup of Half-and-Half, and a moment to catch up on her favorite podcasts.