Airbnb is not here for hate groups. The home-sharing platform proved that this week by canceling the reservation of a customer who used Airbnb to rent a property in order to attend this weekend's Million MAGA March in Washington, D.C.
According to Newsweek, @RuthlessWe, a Twitter account dedicated to "research and analysis of the far right," made Airbnb aware of the reservation made by Ronald Gaudier, a member of the Proud Boys, by tweeting screenshots of his messages on an encrypted messaging service called Telegram. In the messages, Gaudier stated that he had booked an apartment through Airbnb and offered to have others attending the far-right rallies stay there with him. In its tweet, @RuthlessWe wrote, "Hey @Airbnb what are your thoughts on members of white supremacist hate groups like the 'Proud Boys' using your platform?"
The tag got Airbnb's attention, and a day later, its official Twitter account commented, "We really appreciate you bringing this to our attention. Anyone affiliated with hate groups has no place on Airbnb." It also added that the reservation had been identified and canceled, and Gaudier had been banned from the platform.
We really appreciate you bringing this to our attention. Anyone affiliated with hate groups has no place on Airbnb. We've identified the reservation, cancelled it, and banned the user from our platform.— Airbnb (@Airbnb) November 11, 2020
Refinery29 has reached out to Airbnb for further comment on the incident and its broader policy toward hate groups. We will update this story as we learn more.
The Million MAGA March is one of a few pro-Trump rallies taking place in D.C. starting Saturday morning. According to The Washington Post, there will also be a Women for Trump event as well as a "Stop the Steal" demonstration. With far-right media personalities like Sean Hannity and Alex Jones promoting these events, there could a lot of people in attendance, which means Airbnb could soon be canceling many more reservations if it stays vigilant. The Hill reports that yesterday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she expects the turnout at Saturday's Million MAGA March to be "quite large." Of course, given this administration's track record for not sharing the truth with the press, that could mean anything. If it's anything like the turnout for Trump's inauguration, Airbnb doesn't have much to worry about.