As PayPal and GoFundMe have recently done with alt-right figures doing fundraising, Airbnb has taken a stand against users who appear to be intending to host gatherings in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend in connection with a rally that is drawing support from neo-Nazi and white supremacist organizations around the country. As BuzzFeed reports, various self-proclaimed members of the alt-right heading to the Unite the Right rally on Saturday have been complaining on Twitter, and Airbnb has confirmed their actions based on the site's Community Commitment.
Airbnb issued a statement saying they wanted to "make good on our mission of belonging" and that "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."
Saturday's rally is specifically centered around a park in Charlottesville that was previously named Lee Park and featured a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and where recently the statue was removed. The park was recently renamed Emancipation Park by the Charlottesville City Council. Noted alt-right figures Richard Spencer and Baked Alaska are scheduled to speak, and BuzzFeed reports that staff from neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer are also going to be in attendance.
The image in the tweet above comes from a torch-lit vigil during another rally in this same park in May.
The Airbnb Community Commitment is like a Terms of Service that's signed by all users of the platform, and Airbnb says the company is deactivating the accounts of people who are "antithetical" to this policy. Per BuzzFeed, "They added that they are able to find these users who violate the policy 'through our background check' and the 'input of our community.'"
At least one Twitterer noted that this "background check" seemed to be connected to one's Facebook account.
If your Airbnb account is linked to your edgelord Facebook, expect cancellations and an account ban for Charlottesville.— Reinhard Wolff (@contentmancy) August 7, 2017
Canceled my account with airbnb pic.twitter.com/CBwhN6lB0s— Cracker Factory (@EarthBoisRDumb) August 6, 2017
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups nationwide, suggests that Saturday's rally might be a "historic alt-right showcase," attended by hundreds if not thousands of white nationalists, Ku Klux Klan members, and various members of the alt-right and racist spectrum.
A number of intended attendees have been using the alt-right-favored crowdfunding platform Rootbocks to help fund their trip to Charlottesville, with campaigns like this one.
The city of Charlottesville has already stipulated that the rally will only be permitted if it is moved to a larger park in the city called McIntire Park, because more than 400 people are expected to attend.