The online vacation home-rental booking site Airbnb is taking a stand against racism by actively removing accounts of people it suspects of planning to attend a white supremacist rally in Virginia this weekend.
The “March on Charlottesville” is slated to take place on August 12 and will promote several white supremacist speakers, including noted white supremacist Richard Spencer who retweeted the event on his Twitter account.
In his tweet, an image of banner promoting the event includes the phrase, “Unite the Right,” and contains images of soaring eagles similar to what the Nazi Party in Germany used in the middle of the 20th century. It also includes two Confederate flags — symbols of white supremacy in the south — being carried by Confederate soldiers marching in lock-step.
UNITE THE RIGHT
August 12, 2017
Charlottesville, Virginia pic.twitter.com/ZCqVA3tqA9
— Richard ☝🏻Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) June 17, 2017
Airbnb took action against account users flocking to the area, justifying their move as within their rights due to the terms of their policy agreement.
“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,” the company said in a statement, according to BuzzFeed.
Indeed, the Airbnb terms of service tells participants, “you will not and will not assist or enable others to…discriminate against or harass anyone on the basis of race, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, age or sexual orientation, or otherwise engage in any abusive or disruptive behavior.”
The site also states that, “Airbnb may immediately, without notice terminate” agreements with users if they “have materially breached obligations under these Terms, the Payments Terms, our Policies or Standards.”
White supremacists who have seen their accounts closed or locked are outraged at the move, calling it a violation of their civil liberties.
“Anybody who is not just in the alt-right, but who is conservative, right-wing or cares about civil liberties should start boycotting Airbnb,” Jason Kessler, one of the organizers of the event, said on Twitter.
The city of Charlottesville has tried to convince organizers to move the rally, citing concerns for safety and other logistical reasons. “Government has no more central role than protecting life and property. Given the sheer numbers projected, the city manager is right to conclude that this event is incompatible with the dense and urban location of emancipation park which is right next to our Downtown Mall,” Mayor Mike Signer said.