Ryan Reynolds has expressed regret for holding his wedding to Blake Lively at a former plantation in South Carolina.
“It’s something we’ll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for,” the actor told Fast Company in a new interview. “It’s impossible to reconcile.”
Reynolds and Lively married in 2012 at Boone Hall, a former plantation in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. In the years before the Civil War, Boone Hall was the site of a brick-building business, which thrived from the labor of enslaved people. The plantation displays nine slave cabins, called “Slave Street.” Historians and activists have long said using such venues for celebratory events like weddings glorifies the American system of slavery and the violent oppression of Black people.
Speaking with Fast Company, Reynolds said that at the time, he and Lively viewed Boone Hall as “a wedding venue on Pinterest,” and only later saw the site as “a place built upon devastating tragedy.” Last year, Pinterest, along with wedding websites like The Knot and Zola, announced it would stop promoting content that romanticizes plantation weddings.
“But shame works in weird ways,” he said. “A giant f-cking mistake like that can either cause you to shut down or it can reframe things and move you into action.” To that end, Reynolds introduced the Group Effort Initiative in July, which aims to invest in marginalized communities that are typically underrepresented and ignored in Hollywood.
“Representation and diversity need to be completely immersive,” he said. “Like, it needs to be embedded at the root of storytelling, and that’s in both marketing and Hollywood.”