Airbnb banning rioters, hate groups ahead of inauguration
Airbnb is reviewing reservations in the Washington area ahead of next week’s presidential inauguration and will bar any guests associated with hate groups or violent activity.
The move, announced by the company Monday, comes as some city officials ask Airbnb, VRBO and other rental hosts to take down their listings until President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20 is over.
“There’s no way to guarantee that your guests are not coming to incite violence,” Janeese Lewis George, a Washington City Council member, said in a post on Twitter. “Please protect your neighbors and the District from more attacks.”
Airbnb has had a policy of removing guests who are confirmed to be members of hate groups since 2017, when it blocked guests who were headed to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
Airbnb said it will warn all guests in the Washington region that it may bring legal action against them if they are members of hate groups or if they plan violent activities. It’s also telling hosts to call a hotline if they suspect guests are violating Airbnb’s policy.
Airbnb said it’s also banning from its platform anyone who engaged in criminal activity in last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol. The company said it is cross-referencing arrest records to determine who should be removed. The company would not say Monday how many people it had removed so far.
Airbnb survived a drastic downturn in its business at the start of the pandemic and rallied to go public at a valuation that reached $100 billion.
The San Francisco-based company also said Monday that it would not give political donations to the Republicans who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, which the pro-Trump mob tried to disrupt. Airbnb joined Marriott, AT&T and other businesses in taking that stand.
Airbnb’s political action committee donated $866,519 to candidates and political parties in the 2020 election cycle, according to Open Secrets, which monitors campaign donations. Biden was the biggest recipient of Airbnb donations.
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