Airbnb is canceling reservations in the Washington, D.C. metro area during Inauguration week, and blocking any new reservations. They also are removing accounts from their platform of people identified by law enforcement as having been involved in the violent riots at the Capitol.
The company said they are responding to the various calls from local and national leaders asking people not to travel to D.C. for the Inauguration.
President-elect Joe Biden has been asking Americans to stay home out of concern for spreading the coronavirus and, more recently, over concerns of potential violence and rioting like what happened at the Capitol on January 6. Inauguration Day events have been downsized and pivoted to virtual offerings to accommodate everyone who would like to participate.
D.C.’s mayor has also been vocal in asking people to stay home next week.
Guests will be refunded for canceled reservations, and Airbnb saysthey will reimburse hosts who would have earned money on those stays.
“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,” Airbnb said in a written statement.
Airbnb says they are working to “ensure hate group members are not part of” their community.
“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,” the company stated.
Airbnb has had a policy of removing guests who are confirmed to be members of hate groups since 2017, when it blocked guests who were headed to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.