Airbnb announced Tuesday its decision to place a permanent ban on white supremacists from booking lodging through its services, according to The Independent.
Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk confirmed the new policy in an interview with Bloomberg TV. Blecharczyk's announcement comes on the heels of the violent protests that broke out among alt-right supporters and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. The co-founder asserted that his company will cancel reservations after he was alerted to a large gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville.
Blecharczyk told Bloomberg TV that the "hate displayed this week has been shocking."
"We make every one of our users sign a pledge when they sign up that they will not discriminate and exhibit hatred," he added. "Whenever we become aware of such examples they are permanently banned from [the] platform."
According to BuzzFeed, Airbnb will not only ban alt-right supporters from making reservations, but the company has begun the process of deactivating the accounts of said individuals.
A statement on Airbnb's new policy change was issued to International Business Times Tuesday from the company's CEO Brian Chesky. Chesky said "the violence, racism and hatred demonstrated by Neo-Nazis, the alt-right, and white supremacists should have no place in this world."
"Earlier this month, we learned that some people were organizing to stay in and hold a series of after parties at several Airbnb listings while in town to attend this terrible event," Chesky said. "As we explained to members of the media who contacted us last week, we require those who are members of the Airbnb community to accept people regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age."
Chesky added, "When we see people pursuing behavior on the platform that would be antithetical to the Airbnb Community Commitment, we take appropriate action. In this case, last week, we removed these people from Airbnb. Airbnb will continue to stand for acceptance and we will continue to do all we can to enforce our community commitment."
Jason Kessler, a blogger and organizer of the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, noticed Airbnb's new policy change leading up to the protest. He took to Twitter August 7 to encourage his followers to boycott Airbnb because he saw the company's actions as a violation of white supremacists' civil rights and alleged that "free speech and civil rights under attack" by Airbnb.
Kessler said in the Twitter video post, "You see this thing going that's going on with Airbnb. Anybody who is not just in the alt-right, but who is conservative, right-wing or cares about civil liberties should start boycotting Airbnb. Airbnb are canceling people's reservations to stay in Charlottesville ... based on political ideology."
Airbnb Community Commitment, which launched in 2016, is signed by all people who choose to use its services. The community guidelines entail that the company plans "to fight bias and discrimination in the Airbnb community." Its decision to ban white supremacists from utilizing its services falls in line with Airbnb's Community Commitment agreement.
The policy claims that if users choose to opt out of the agreement, they "will not be able to host or book using Airbnb and will have the option to cancel your account. Once an account is canceled, future booked trips will be canceled." According to the agreement, users can, however, be reinstated. The policy states that "if in the future you accept the commitment to inclusion, you’re welcome to come back."
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