Following on an announcement last week by Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky that the company wanted to provide emergency short-term housing to those affected by President Trump's travel ban, the company has doubled down on that both with a pointed ad that aired during the Super Bowl, and with a new pledge to provide short-term housing to 100,000 people in need over the next five years, as CNet is reporting.
The ad, shown above, features a montage of faces of different races and ethnicities, all with a message of inclusiveness. "We believe no matter who you are, where you're from, who you love, or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept. #WeAccept." And backlash from commenters on YouTube has prompted them to add a statement above the video saying "LET LOVE TRUMP HATE. Thumbs Up to beat the Racist Dislikes!" The thumbs ups currently are about double the thumbs down.
The pledge to help 100,000 people will start with refugees, disaster survivors, and relief workers, according to a statement on the company's website. "People who've been displaced, whether because of war or conflict or other factors, are acutely vulnerable to not being accepted. They are, quite literally, in need of a place to belong, which is why we've been inspired to take action."
To that end, the company is also donating $4 million over four years to the International Rescue Committee.
Further, Airbnb writes regarding some accusations of discrimination that have been brought by users of the platform itself suggesting that this ad campaign was in the works well before Trump's executive orders.
We couldn’t talk about the lack of acceptance in the world without pointing out the challenges in our own community at Airbnb. The painful truth is that guests on Airbnb have experienced discrimination, something that is the very opposite of our values. We know we have work to do and are dedicated to achieving greater acceptance in our community.
These efforts are just the beginning, and we hope you consider joining us by sharing your home with someone who is displaced or donating to organizations that assist those in need.
A December 2015 study from researchers at Harvard Business School found that there was "widespread discrimination" on the platform, something they suggested could be bleeding into the traditional hotel market, which has begun advertising regular hotel rooms on the platform.