Airbnb has removed people from their platform who may have connections with an upcoming white nationalists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12th. This group is known for their views on white supremacy and their approach against black, Latino and other non-white citizens.
The rally is called, “Unite the Right” and it will take place in front of the statue of Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee at Virginia’s Emancipation Park. They plan to recruit people from across the country from groups like Neo-Nazis, the KKK and White Nationalist groups. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups and extremists is sending out warnings that the rally may be “largest hate gathering of its kind in decades in the United States.”
Visitors may have trouble finding a place to stay at while attending the rally. Airbnb cited its policy that their members “accept people regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age.” Airbnb also said that they remove users who are opposed to this policy.
Jason Kessler, the organizer of “Unite the Right” blasted Airbnb and expressed his frustrations. He called the decision “outrageous” and said that “lawsuits should take place.” He stated, “It’s the racial targeting of white people for their ethnic advocacy” and asked, “Would Airbnb cancel the service of black nationalists or Black Lives Matter activists for their social media activity? Of course not!”
On Monday, August 7th, city leaders tried to convince the group to move the rally to another place for safety reasons. Kessler stubbornly said no and said that he already notified the police that he intends to carry out the First Amendment and will work on making the event a safe one. Do you think that Airbnb made the right decision? Let us know.