Ryan Reynolds Says He and Blake Lively are 'Deeply Sorry' for Their Plantation Wedding
Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively definitely regret choosing to get married at Boone Hall, a former plantation in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2012.
In a new interview with Fast Company, Reynolds acknowledges getting criticism for choosing a wedding venue where slaves were forced to produce bricks and harvest pecans as well as peaches, especially in the light of the Black Lives Matter movement. Reynolds was first widely called out on their wedding venue after some said he was hypocritical when he tweeted praise for the 2018 hit, Black Panther, the first superhero movie with a primarily Black cast. Lively was also accused in the past of glorifying the antebellum South on her now-defunct website, Preserve.
"It's something we'll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for," he now says of choosing to get married at a plantation. "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," he continues. "A giant f**king 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 f**k up again. But repatterning and challenging lifelong social conditioning is a job that doesn't end."
He is now also committed to diverse hiring when it comes to his ad agency, Maximum Effort.
"Representation and diversity need to be completely immersive," Reynolds says. "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."
Meanwhile, in December, wedding sites like The Knot and Pinterest decided to no longer feature weddings that took place at plantations given the venues' problematic histories.
Reynolds and Lively donated $200,000 to the NAACP in May amid nationwide protests after the death of George Floyd. In their statement about the donation, they addressed the mistakes they've made and vowed to be different when it comes to raising their three young daughters.
"We're ashamed that in the past we've allowed ourselves to be uninformed about how deeply rooted systemic racism is," the statement read. "We've been teaching our children differently than the way our parents taught us. We want to educate ourselves about other people's experiences and talk to our kids about everything, all of it… especially our own complicity. We talk about our bias, blindness and our own mistakes. We look back and see so many mistakes which have led us to deeply examine who we are and who we want to become. They've led us to huge avenues of education."
"We are committed to raising our kids so they never grow up feeding this insane pattern and so they'll do their best to never inflict pain on another being consciously or unconsciously," the statement continued. "It's the least we can do to honor not just George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Eric Garner, but all the black men and women who have been killed when a camera wasn't rolling."
Back in September, Reynolds and Lively also made two separate donations of $1 million each to both the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and to the Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights.
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