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Alt-right supporters traveling to Charlottesville, Virginia, beware: Airbnb isn’t here to support your racist attitudes and is deactivating accounts of people it believes are making reservations to host gatherings related to the city’s upcoming white supremacist rally.
According to BuzzFeed News, the company suspects that several reservations were made in relation to this Saturday’s “March on Charlottesville,” an alt-right, white supremacist movement designed to “unite the right.” Notable alt-right figures expected in attendance include Richard Spencer, Mike Enoch, and Pax Dickinson.
The rally comes in response to the Charlottesville City Council changing the name of one of its parks, Lee Park, to Emancipation Park in June. The renaming followed the removal of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s statue in May. According to NBC news affiliate WVIR, the rally’s coordinator, a white supremacist named Jason Kessler, says they’re congregating on Saturday to support the removed monument.
In a statement to the publication, Airbnb referred to its established community rules from 2016 that “make good on our mission of belonging.” The Airbnb Community Commitment is signed by everyone who uses the service, and requires Airbnb members to be accepting of all people “regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age.”
Airbnb found users who violate the policy through its background checks and “input of our community,” and accounts of people they deemed are “antiethical” to the community rules are being removed.
Airbnb’s efforts, unsurprisingly, have only managed to enrage Kessler and other white supremacists. Supporters of the rally have subsequently moved to cancel their accounts with Airbnb to boycott the company’s decision.
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
How many levels of secret police does Airbnb have to be on to snoop customers' social media, then BAN them?— American So Woke (@AmericanSoWoke) August 7, 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
In a Periscope video, Kessler called for a boycott of Airbnb, said the company was the “thought police,” and called this an example of the civil liberties of alt-right members being violated.
“Are they going to go through a Black Lives Matter person, through all of their posts and see if they’ve advocated for white genocide or have said hateful thing about white people? Of course, they’re not going to do it,” Kessler said. “Basically, this isn’t just political discrimination, it’s racial discrimination, because they are only going to apply that standard to white people.”
H/T BuzzFeed News
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.