Guarding against taking any blame for providing shelter to domestic terrorists, Airbnb announced Wednesday that it would be canceling all reservations at properties owned by Washington D.C. hosts during inauguration week — as well as all reservations through Airbnb-owned HotelTonight.
"Airbnb’s work continues to be informed by inputs from our local host community as well as Washington, D.C. officials, Metro Police and Members of Congress throughout this week," the company said in a statement. "In particular, Mayor Bowser, Governor Hogan and Governor Northam have been clear that visitors should not travel to the D.C. Metro area for the Inauguration. Additionally, we are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration."
The company said it would reimburse guests in full and reimburse hosts for lost revenue at the company's expense.
Airbnb's announcement comes shortly after it said it was reviewing all reservations in the D.C. area to identify any individuals associated with hate groups — and apparently it decided the safest bet was to shut down reservations completely. In addition to canceling an unknown number of existing reservations, the company also blocked any further reservations from being made.
As the Associated Press reports, looking at D.C.-area rentals for President's weekend, there are about 300 listings available.
The next step would be for all D.C. hotels to shut their doors to guest as well, given that the city isn't welcoming visitors to the inauguration at all. Is Trump's hotel fully booked?
"We are continuing our work to ensure hate group members are not part of the Airbnb community," Airbnb's statement continued. "As we’ve learned through media or law enforcement sources the names of individuals confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity at the United States Capitol on January 6, we’ve investigated whether the named individuals have an account on Airbnb. Through this work, we have identified numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building, and they have been banned from Airbnb’s platform."
Airbnb made a similar move ahead of the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville in 2017, banning users with known ties to white nationalist and hate groups.
As the Chronicle notes, some Airbnb hosts have already applauded the move on social media, thanking the company for not putting the onus on them to cancel reservations with possible insurrectionists.
"As an airbnb host in Florida, I appreciate @airbnb taking this stand and not making their hosts individually address the issue and subject themselves to potential retaliation,” writes Twitter user SeaGrapeDreams, adding that Airbnb ought to apply the cancelation to a 25-mile radius around Washington.
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