Airbnb Takes a Strict No-Nazi Stance With Users Travelling to a White Supremacist Rally

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Airbnb has spent the last year or so trying to find a solution to the mounting instances of racial discrimination people of color have encountered when using the site. The hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack shined a very public light on the company’s big problem.

Last fall, the company sent an email to all their users, stating their commitment to fighting discrimination. Many users (myself included) probably filed this into the “I’ll believe it when I see it” category of rebranding attempts. But they’ve followed through. They partnered with both the NAACP and the California department of fair employment and housing, and asked a former director of the American Civil Liberties Union to write an internal report on racist discrimination within the company, which they released publically. They instituted some automatic fail safes to prevent rebookings after hosts claim their home is unavailable, like in that tweet above. Most famously, they required one aggressively racist host pay a $5,000 fine to a guest who had her booking dropped last minute because she was “Asian.” He was also ordered to attend an Asian American studies course and volunteer with a civil rights organization. His account was also terminated.

That was reportedly the first time an Airbnb host was banned, but this week the company is going full Thor with their anti-racist banhammer.

This weekend, a white nationalist rally will be held in Charlottesville, Virginia, which is reportedly projected to be the biggest white supremacist event of the millennium so far. It’s expected to draw hundreds of people from across the country in the spirit of–going off of the event poster–uniting frogs and white men under the symbols of the losing sides of two different racist wars.

When hundreds of people travel across the country, they all need somewhere to stay, right? Airbnb has decided these racists aren’t going to stay with them. They’ve started deactivating the accounts of anyone travelling to Charlottesville this weekend whom they suspect is attending the rally. (It looks like might be checking the social media pages associated with the accounts. Sorry, Pepe avatars, you’re gone.)

Yeah, except white supremacy is not a “political belief.” It’s apolitical hate mongering. It’s also in violation of Airbnb’s Terms of Service, which mandate that “in connection with your use of the Airbnb Platform, you will not and will not assist or enable others to … discriminate against or harass anyone on the basis of race, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, age or sexual orientation, or otherwise engage in any abusive or disruptive behavior.” It also prohibits using your Airbnb account to “violate or infringe anyone else’s rights or otherwise cause harm to anyone.”

Still, a lot of Nazis are super mad. Many are calling for a boycott … over being banned from the service.

So, let me get this straight. These people are claiming they’re now going to refuse a service that they’ve already been banned from using. And if they haven’t yet been banned, they’re making the Airbnb moderators’ jobs easier by self-banning, which the company would have done anyway.

Great plan as usual, racists!

(H/T Buzzfeed, image: Shutterstock)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.