A civil rights advocacy group reportedly urged both platforms to stop promoting content featuring former slave plantation wedding venues

By Hanna Flanagan
December 05, 2019 01:50 PM
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Popular wedding-planning platforms Pinterest and The Knot Worldwide are taking a stand against using former slave plantations as wedding venues.

Spokespersons for both Pinterest, a social media platform that gives couples ceremony and reception inspiration, and The Knot Worldwide, a site dedicated to wedding ideas, products and services, will stop promoting content that “romanticizes” these Southern venues, BuzzFeed News reported.

Civil rights advocacy nonprofit Color of Change sent letters to both platforms urging them to stop promoting former slave plantation venues altogether, according to The Washington Post.

“We are grateful to Color of Change for bringing attention to this disrespectful practice,” a Pinterest spokesperson told the outlet in a statement. “We are working to limit the distribution of this content and accounts across our platform, and continue to not accept advertisements for them.”

The platform will restrict related content, and is “working on de-indexing Google searches for plantation weddings on Pinterest,” BuzzFeed News reported.

St. Joseph Plantation in Louisiana
| Credit: Getty

While users will still be able to find former plantation venues using the search bar, a pop-up will notify them that the content “may violate Pinterest’s policies.”

“Weddings should be a symbol of love and unity. Plantations represent none of those things,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for The Knot Worldwide tells PEOPLE that the company is currently developing content guidelines with Color of Change that will ban vendors from using “any language that romanticizes or glorifies a history that includes slavery.”

The spokesperson says the goal is that all Knot content is “respectful and considerate to everyone,” and is entirely inclusive of all people.

Hampton Plantation in South Carolina

Plantations will still be able to list themselves as venues on The Knot and WeddingWire, which are both owned by the company, so long as the language complies with the guidelines. If not, they’ll be removed from the sites.

“Color of Change brought an issue to light about the way venues with a history of slavery describe their properties to couples,” the spokesperson says.

Jade Magnus Ogunnaike, Color of Change senior campaign director, tells PEOPLE that the conversation surrounding plantation weddings has been a “cyclical” one, but that the organization saw an opening in the fall as more and more people began discussing the issues with it on social media.

“I think it’s a larger conversation about the realities of slavery,” she says. “A lot of people don’t have happy memories of antebellum, we don’t look at plantations fondly. They are spaces where our ancestors were tortured and harmed, or forced to work.”

Ogunnaike says that each and every company Color of Change reached out to, including Pinterest, The Knot and Zola, have all either amended their policies or are in the process of doing so.

“We understand that the aesthetic can be appealing, but to that we say there are plenty of other places that [are just as beautiful] that weren’t forced labor camps for black people,” she says.

A spokesperson for Pinterest did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment.