After a series of raw-throated public confrontations earlier this year, Charlottesville, Virginia, is bracing for an influx of white nationalists from across the country to Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally.
But visitors might have a problem nailing down accommodations. As city leaders worked overtime Monday trying to defuse an increasingly tense situation, the room-sharing company Airbnb quietly booted users planning to use the service to find housing in the Virginia city.
The company confirmed they had taken action in a statement to NBC29: “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.”
That stance doesn’t sit well with the rally’s organizer.
“This is outrageous and should be grounds for a lawsuit,” Jason Kessler, the rally’s organizer, told The Washington Post in an email Monday night. “It’s the racial targeting of white people for their ethnic advocacy.” Kessler added the rally “is opposed to the historical and demographic displacement of white people. Would Airbnb cancel the service of black nationalists or Black Lives Matter activists for their social media activity? Of course not!”
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors “hate groups and other extremists,” warns that the rally could be “the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States.”
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Kyle Swenson