Ahead of a white supremacist rally this Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, Airbnb has deactivated the accounts of some people who are trying to attend the event, Gizmodo first reported.
It’s not clear how many accounts Airbnb has deactivated (we asked and the company told us there are no numbers to share). Airbnb did, however, provide TechCrunch with the following statement:
In 2016 we established the Airbnb Community Commitment reflecting our belief that to make good on our mission of belonging, those who are members of the Airbnb community accept people regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age. We asked all members of the Airbnb to affirmatively sign on to this commitment. When through our background check processes or from input of our community we identify and determine that there are those who would be pursuing behavior on the platform that would be antithetical to the Airbnb Community Commitment, we seek to take appropriate action including, as in this case, removing them from the platform.
The quick context about this white supremacist rally is that it’s being put on by people affiliated with a site called The Daily Stormer. They’re organizing a stay-in and are attempting to host some after-parties at some Airbnb listings.
In the post below, one member writes that they’ve “Taken over all of the large AirBnBs in a particular area” and have set up “Nazi Uber” and the “Hate Van.”
Some Airbnb members flagged the event, which led to Airbnb investigating and confirming that some users on the platform had booked listings for those white supremacist parties.
Airbnb has banned racist hosts before. Last June, Airbnb banned someone after they cancelled on a guest because the woman was black. A few months later, in September, Airbnb laid out its plan to combat racism and hatred on its platform.
In a 32-page document, Airbnb explained that anyone who used Airbnb would have to agree to a community commitment, which entailed treating fellow members with respect, and without judgment and bias. Airbnb’s non-discrimination policy, developed under the guidance of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, prohibits content that promotes things like racism and bigotry. Given the nature of the Daily Stormer’s event, I would say Airbnb was absolutely correct in deactivating some of these people from the platform.