A wrench has been thrown into the plans for an upcoming white supremacist rally, dubbed "Unite the Right," in Charlottesville, Virginia.
After Airbnb apparently caught wind of parties being hosted in some of its rentals last week, it quietly begun deactivating the accounts of those members. The home rental site said these users didn't adhere to its "Community Commitment," which has the 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," Airbnb said in an emailed statement. If the company finds out users are "pursuing behavior" antithetical to its Commitment, it will "seek to take appropriate action including, as in this case, removing them from the platform."
Airbnb has banned racist and discriminatory users before. In April, the company banned a host after she refused to rent out her home to an Asian woman. Airbnb has also worked with California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing to test for racial discrimination among hosts and penalize those who discriminate.
As for the case in Charlottesville, Airbnb apparently learned of its rentals being used for parties on a forum for the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, which is a host of the rally. A user, who goes by the name SCnazi, listed some planning logistics 10 days ago. Along with setting up transportation like "Nazi Uber" and the "Hate Van," the issue of lodging came up.
"We've taken over all of the large AirBnBs in a particular area," SCnazi wrote. "We have 80-90 people, and are a mix of various AltRight groups."
As far as freedom of speech goes, The Daily Stormer has the right to hold its rally. But as a private company, Airbnb also has the right to reject certain users that don't comply with its Community Commitment.
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