Airbnb is taking a hard line against white nationalists. The online vacation rental service has now banned some potential customers who plan on booking accommodations on its site in order to attend a white nationalist conference about 40 miles from Nashville.
The company launched an investigation into bookings being made in the immediate area of Montgomery Bell State Park in Burns, Tenn. after being alerted by the website Gizmodo to the existence of the American Renaissance Conference, which is scheduled to take place from May 17 to May 19.
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The yearly conference, dubbed AmRen, provides a forum where nationalists can engage in “‘scholarly’ talks about the biological, sociological and genetic differences between the races,” according to Gizmodo. The organization itself describes the conference as “a weekend of inspiring speeches, networking and conviviality” attended by “men and women who are leading the fight against censorship, calumny and dispossession.”
AmRen has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and the conference’s organizer, Jared Taylor, has been labeled an extremist. Each year, the conference courts controversy, and Airbnb wants no part of it. CEO Brian Chesky confirmed in 2017 that the company would ban white supremacists and neo-Nazis from using its platform following the devastating events of the Unite the Right Rally that year in Charlottesville, Va.
“The violence, racism and hatred demonstrated by neo-Nazis, the alt-right and white supremacists should have no place in this world,” Chesky told The Verge at the time. “Airbnb will continue to stand for acceptance, and we will continue to do all we can to enforce our community commitment.”
Part of that enforcement involved removing users and shutting down accounts of anyone the company deemed a white supremacist.
Regarding the AmRen conference, Airbnb is adhering to its Community Commitment, which includes requiring users to agree to “treat everyone in the Airbnb community — regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age — with respect, and without judgment or bias.” The commitment also includes a nondiscrimination policy based on “inclusion and respect.”
In a statement to Yahoo Lifestyle, a spokesperson for Airbnb said, “Actions based in racism and hatred associated with neo-Nazis, the alt-right and white supremacists have no place in the Airbnb community. When we see people on the platform pursuing behavior that would be antithetical to our Community Commitment, we take appropriate action. We previously acted in advance of the horrific event in Charlottesville, we’ve now acted in advance of this conference in Tennessee, and if we become aware of similar information we won’t hesitate to do so again.”
Airbnb told Gizmodo in a statement that it is “committed to preemptively banning all users who violate the company’s community standards,” including those planning to attend the AmRen conference. The company ended up canceling some of its reservations in the Montgomery Bell State Park area and banned an unknown number of users, including event speakers, according to Gizmodo.
One of those speakers was Faith Goldy, who Gizmodo reports has been called a “white nationalist poster girl.” She tweeted to confirm the ban, warning, “Just like every other ban, this only strengthens my resolve.”
In the event it’s not already clear: Just like every other ban, this only strengthens my resolve.
If they think a girl who makes unscripted videos from her kitchen table is so dangerous, it proves how WEAK our enemies really are.
Newsflash: Our movement is only getting started!
— Faith J Goldy (@FaithGoldy) April 4, 2019
Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to AmRen for a statement on the Airbnb ban.
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