Three prominent online wedding resources – The Knot, Pinterest and Brides – have agreed to stop “glorifying” wedding venues that used to operate as slave plantations, in response to a request from a civil rights advocacy group.
The Knot Worldwide, which owns both The Knot and Weddingwire, among other wedding-focused websites, confirmed to Fox News on Monday that it will be updating its policy regarding former plantations listed at its online marketplaces, and barring the use of language that “romanticizes or glorifies a history that includes slavery” to advertize those venues. The company will also ban any vendors that fail to comply with the new language guidelines.
“By creating these guidelines, we are providing a respectful experience for all couples, wedding professionals, and employees,” The Knot WorldWide said in a statement shared with Fox News.
Pinterest and Brides.com too have confirmed that they are both working to change their policies regarding former slave plantations listed as wedding venues on their platforms. The former has agreed to limit the promotion of wedding venues that formerly operated as slave plantations — "People can still search for this content, but we now show an advisory that some results may violate our policies," Pinterest confirmed — and to stop accepting advertising dollars from any such venue entirely. The latter told Fox News that references to the properties' plantation histories have since been removed, as "content glorifying plantations is not in line with our core values."
The Knot, Pinterest and Brides were spurred into action by Color of Change, a civil rights advocacy group that has been campaigning for the popular sites – and others – to stop ignoring the histories of venues advertised on their platforms.
“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 wrote in emails sent to The Knot and Pinterest, according to Buzzfeed News.
“Plantations are physical reminders of one of the most horrific human rights abuses the world has ever seen. The wedding industry routinely denies the violent conditions Black people faced under chattel slavery by promoting plantations as romantic places to marry."
Color of Change’s vice president, Arisha Hatch, further likened glorifying of former plantations to glorifying concentration camps as wedding venues.
“It would be weird and disrespectful and egregious for folks to be seeking to have their weddings at these locations,” she argued, per Buzzfeed News. Hatch also explained that Color of Change has appealed to wedding websites, instead of the venues themselves, as the websites are not directly profiting from couples booking through their online marketplace, whereas the venues do, and, therefore, may be less apt to institute any changes.
Zola, Brides.com and Martha Stewart Weddings also received similar emails from Color of Change.
"Brides is an inclusive place where everyone can feel celebrated. Content glorifying plantations is not in line with our core values."
Martha Stewart Weddings told Fox News on Thursday morning that it was reviewing its policy in light of Color of Change’s request, though it had not yet introduced any definite changes to its policy.
“We thank Color of Change for bringing this valid concern to us,” reads a statement issued by Martha Stewart Weddings. “We feature how couples have chosen to wed and celebrate their special day. We will give this careful thought and attention.”
Zola, meanwhile, had initially told Buzzfeed News that the venues of concern to Color of Change “did not violate [its] non-discrimination policy,” and would not interfere with "how [users] want to get married."
In a later statement shared with Fox News, however, the site said it has re-evaluated its initial stance, and will now "not allow vendors to list who are plantations."
"We recognize that this is a painful issue and have been evaluating on an ongoing basis. 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," Zola wrote.
In both The Knot WorldWide and Brides' statements to Fox News, the companies confirmed that they would be working alongside Color of Change to institute the new policies.
“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 Knot WorldWide confirmed. Brides, meanwhile, said it was "actively working with Color of Change to evolve our guidelines to help ensure all our couples are supported, respected and inspired."