In a new interview with Fast Company, Ryan Reynolds issued an apology on behalf of himself and his wife Blake Lively for hosting their 2012 South Carolina wedding at Boone Hall, a former slave plantation.
As noted by the interviewer, even though the ceremony took place in 2012, not many people were aware of Boone Hall’s history until 2018, when the Deadpool actor tweeted about Black Panther and received backlash from critics calling him a hypocrite.
Reynolds praised the Chadwick Boseman-starring movie, which was the first major superhero film to feature a cast almost entirely comprised of African-American actors. Many felt his support was rather tone-deaf, considering he and his wife had married on a slave plantation where untold horrors were perpetrated against Black people in the past.
During his latest interview, Reynolds acknowledged that getting married at a place where so many slaves had died was in poor taste.
According to him, he and Blake only saw a “wedding venue on Pinterest,” which drew their interest to the South Carolina event hall.
“What we saw after was a place built upon devastating tragedy.”
The father of three said he and his wife later remarried at home but admitted the location of their marriage ceremony was something they would “always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for.”
“A giant f*cking 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*ck up again. But repatterning and challenging lifelong social conditioning is a job that doesn’t end,” the 43-year-old said.
In recent years, the Gossip Girl alumna and Reynolds have become increasingly involved in social justice, especially in light of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.
The couple made “a pair of $1 million donations” to groups like the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund last year.
That said, Reynolds has tried to be cautious about speaking up on issues in the past out of fear he would overstep, as he worried about the tendency white celebrities have to “drown out non-white voices.”
In May, the plantation ceremony started getting discussed online once again, so he and Lively decided it was time to start doing more in the public eye. The couple each posted a message to their respective social media accounts to take responsibility for their choice of a wedding venue and announced they would be donating more money to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
In their statements, the couple took ownership of their “complicity.”
They claimed they wanted to work to educate themselves “about other people’s experiences and talk” to their kids “about everything, all of it.”