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“Belong Anywhere” with Airbnb… Unless You’re the KKK

UPDATE: Leadership matters. We thank the companies who stepped in and showed us what America is all about while we waited over three days for the President to respond:

• Airbnb canceled accounts of #UniteTheRight attendees
• TIKI Brand Products condemned the use of their products at the rally
• GoDaddy is pulling the plug on the Daily Stormer after they posted an article mocking #Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer
• The Detroit Red Wings said they “vehemently disagree” with the use of their logo at #UniteTheRight and may pursue legal action
• Under Armour’s CEO takes a stand
• WordPress bans website associated with fascist group and the #Charlottesville killer
Facebook bans the account of a white nationalist who attended the #UniteTheRight rally
* Spotify bans white supremacist bands

In today’s address, President Donald Trump condemned the hate groups behind the rally. His words came as a direct result of extreme pressure. Remember to raise your voice. It’s working.

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This week news broke that Airbnb took preemptive measures to bar KKK and Alt-Right members attending the “Unite the Right” rally from using their platform, even going so far as to remove their accounts. White nationalists and neo-nazis alike gather each year for this rally to “affirm the right of Southerners and white people to organize for their interests.” In a statement, Airbnb said the members didn’t live up to their “community commitment” to “accept people regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age.”

This proactive measure by the tech giant is part of the company’s revamped diversity and inclusion initiative after a number of high profile discrimination claims. Previously, Airbnb had come under fire for being unresponsive to racial profiling on their site. Particularly, Black guests were getting their reservations canceled needlessly and protested the site’s lack of remedies with the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack.

In January, a study by Harvard Business School found that “African-American names were roughly 16 percent less likely to be accepted as guests than those with distinctly white names.”

Finally, Airbnb is living up to its “belong anywhere” motto and joining the ranks of Silicon Valley leaders – like Slack, Salesforce, and Pinterest – who are taking an active role in promoting diversity and inclusion not only on their staff, but on their platform. In a world where these companies shape our status quo, it’s critical their algorithms don’t ignore hate speech and their communities don’t promote sexism, racism, and other damaging stereotypes.

Thank you Airbnb for taking this action. We’re still waiting on you, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Uber and Lyft to do the same.

Posted in: Technology