A small village of house-shaped signs pillorying Airbnb's recent ad campaign blunder spun like a massive mobile in the atrium of 888 Brannan, Airbnb headquarters, this afternoon. "Evictions. Love, Airbnb," and "Homelessness. Love, Airbnb," they read among other slogans.
The building's lobby, as a tipster tells SFist and SF Weekly reports, was "occupied" in the words of protestors, but more likely invaded in the eyes of office workers who watched from upper floors. For about 90 minutes, the activists pushing for the passage of Proposition F and advocating on behalf homeless San Franciscans held court, then left of their own volition.
Demonstrators are at AirBNB Headquarters protesting. They're supporters of Prop F to be decided on Election Day. pic.twitter.com/TVpsPxOHF1— Sergio Quintana (@svqjournalist) November 2, 2015
The Brass Liberation Orchestra, a loud political organ if there ever was one, played the soundtrack to today's protest. Truly tensions around housing and tech companies, as crystallized in the Prop F debate, had reached a fever pitch.
To quote SFist's Jay Barmann, who recently summarized Proposition F,
Prop F may end up being the one that gets the most campaign money spent on it, especially given Airbnb and No of F spending upwards of $8 million to shoot this one down. The main points here: It cuts the number of short-term rental days on both un-hosted and hosted units to 75, down from 90 (currently there's no limit to how many days you can rent a single room in your house or apartment), increases the possibility of enforcement and increases the reporting burden on hosts, and makes it a misdemeanor for a rental platform to unlawfully list a unit as a short-term rental. It could, also, as the No on F campaign says, encourage more neighbors to go after their neighbors for violations, but they can already do this, and it makes it harder for mom-and-pops to rent spare rooms for extra income.
Incidentally, the "No on F" headquarters was vandalized exactly a month ago today.
Airbnb staff are watching protest from upper floors. Spokesman says no comment for now. pic.twitter.com/jtbeOhBMmv— Julia Carrie Wong (@juliacarriew) November 2, 2015
One particular conference room at 888 Brannan, the one Airbnb modeled off the war room in the film Dr. Strangelove, was probably quite a scene at the time of the protest.
Cleaning up and heading out pic.twitter.com/vH41N3Y1Ax— Julia Carrie Wong (@juliacarriew) November 2, 2015
Leaving the lobby, the activists offered up pizza, sharing it with the homeless among them.
Homeless folks stock up on leftover food from Airbnb protest on Brannan Street as protesters debrief pic.twitter.com/4aG6qk7X7B— Julia Carrie Wong (@juliacarriew) November 2, 2015