White supremacists are planning to boycott Airbnb after the website banned accounts of people who were looking for accommodation to attend a rally supposed to take place in Virginia.
The rally, headed by neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, was to be held in the Virginia Park where several rallies to defend the Confederacy took place earlier — including a torch-wielding rally where the Ku Klux Klan marched to defend the legacy of Robert E. Lee, the general who led the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia against the United States during the Civil War.
The room rental company said people planning to attend the "Unite the Right" rally on Aug. 12, which is going to feature a variety of white supremacist online personalities, are violating the company's terms and conditions, which all members sign when they create an account.
The company also said it runs background checks on members to determine who engages in behavior it deems inappropriate.
“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," Airbnb said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.
"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," it continued.
However, after the white supremacists realized their accounts were being blocked, they decided to boycott the online hospitality service.
“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 cancelling people’s reservations to stay in Charlottesville … based on political ideology,” said Jason Kessler, one of the white supremacists organizing the rally.
“We are having our civil rights violated,” he said referring to the Airbnb crackdown.
Several rally goers took to Twitter to express their discontent.
Looks like Airbnb is permanently deactivating the account of anyone booking a room in Charlottesville if they think it's for the rally. Gay! pic.twitter.com/O1NTzwWpuu— Illegal Aryan (@Illegal_Aryan) August 6, 2017
If your Airbnb account is linked to your edgelord Facebook, expect cancellations and an account ban for Charlottesville.— Reinhard Wolff (@contentmancy) August 7, 2017
Airbnb has previously faced disciplinary action for discriminating against an Asian customer. Since then, the company follows an agreement with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing that allows the agency to test and penalize hosts for racial bias.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Pixabay, TeroVesalainen