Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are apologizing for what they are calling a “giant f**king mistake.” In 2012 the couple wed on the grounds of Boone Hall, South Carolina, a former plantation.
Plantations, which were built on the back of slave labor, represent a particularly dark period of United States history. Though they are beautiful, the only reason their original owners accumulated their massive fortunes was because of slavery.
Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively apologize for holding their 2012 wedding ceremony at a South Carolina plantation.
"What we saw at the time was a wedding venue on Pinterest. What we saw after was a place built upon devastating tragedy." https://t.co/t1J7TGBptM
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 4, 2020
Reynolds told Fast Company in an exclusive interview:
“It’s something we’ll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for.”
“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. 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 re-patterning and challenging lifelong social conditioning is a job that doesn’t end.”
For those that are missing the point. Yes many attractive buildings have a terrible history. The problem is that people only see the beauty and white wash the history. Acknowledge that people suffered on that land AND Acknowledge that legacy of hatred is alive today.
— Tanya (@Tanya_RBLee) August 4, 2020
Interesting how they didn't notice until just now, 8 years after their wedding and 2 months after George Floyd.
— Vecerna (@Vecerna1) August 4, 2020
They couldn't figure out at the time that it had a history of slavery?
— Jim Mears (@Jim_R_Mears) August 4, 2020
Finally they realized it? Urge the plantation to send letters to every person that attended event at their location to educate them on the shame and feeling they should have for utilizing the structures beauty. Stated above. Nobody should use a building in south built before 1870
— MonkeyMan (@HarambeMattered) August 5, 2020
As a response, Lively and Reynolds have been putting their money where their mouths are.
The couple donated $200,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
And Reynolds launched a diversity and inclusion initiative through his production company, Maximum Effort.
"The program, run through his production banner Maximum Effort, plans to bring 10 to 20 trainees who are black, indigenous, other people of color or who are from marginalized communities across the age spectrum, giving them real-life film experience." https://t.co/we4HsEEpQC
— grids ⧗ (@donniedarkus) July 31, 2020
The Group Effort Initiative is designed to invest in the talent and creativity of any and all under-represented communities who’ve felt this industry didn’t have room for their dreams. To register yourself, go to: https://t.co/DXMM9VuPhL #GroupEffort #MaximumEffort pic.twitter.com/TJ0FGUMe2l
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) July 31, 2020
@VancityReynolds please consider women of ALL race for this wonderful initiative. This is an industry that has absolutely marginalized women.
— Allison Brody (@ABr0dy) August 1, 2020
Ryan this is a great idea, but please be sure to include people with disabilities. Even when characters have disabilities, non disabled actors are almost always cast. The film industry ignores this population. We all deserve a chance without discrimination!
— Tara 👩🏻🏫♿️🏳️🌈 (@uutheatrerebel) August 1, 2020
This is FANTASTIC. I’ve been hoping to see a shift like this! In film, all the creative arts, business, everywhere! Well done @VancityReynolds . You’re a true leader and I hope other companies follow and do the same! 💕❗️
— brendajohima 💎 (@brendajohima) August 1, 2020
Reynolds explained to Fast Company:
“Representation and diversity need to be completely immersive.”
“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.”
This is great- and I admire the project and a lot you've been doing. But don't forget to make sure there is gender parity. Women of every nationality have been left out/pushed out of the industry.
— Sarah Nadav (@sarahnadav) July 31, 2020
This and you are amazing
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) August 1, 2020
Can you capitalize Black and Indigenous on your website please?
— Kim Wheeler (@kimagewheeler) August 1, 2020
This is good work Ryan!!! Don’t forget about people with disabilities and sexual preferences/ predispositions. We are all Human!
— Abbey Bell (@AbbeyBe24916147) August 1, 2020
We 💜✌🏿👁 it
— Liz Jenkins (@ej11lizzie) July 31, 2020
Though plenty of Twitter is blasting the apology for “trying to bankrupt the wedding venue” or “cancel culture,” Reynolds’ initiative in particular has the ability to make a big difference in Hollywood.