Story at a glance
- After the insurrection at the United States Capitol, some local Airbnb hosts learned that their guests participated in the mob.
- Ahead of the inauguration, law enforcement authorities are cracking down on security.
- Airbnb announced that it will block and cancel all reservations in the Washington, D.C. area.
After some Airbnb hosts discovered that their guests participated in the insurrection at the United States Capitol, the online vacation rental marketplace announced it would cancel all existing reservations in Washington, D.C., for the week of the inauguration and block new bookings.
“Dating back to the tragic events around Charlottesville in 2017, Airbnb has applied Trust and Safety defenses in order to combat violent and discriminatory hate groups. To that end, on an ongoing basis, Airbnb has removed people from the platform associated with violent hate groups in advance of specific events, including taking action ahead of the horrific attack on Congress, by cancelling reservations and removing accounts associated with hate group members, including Proud Boys,” said Airbnb in a statement ahead of the inauguration.
The company is working with local officials and police to investigate individuals confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity at the Capitol and said it has banned “numerous individuals” from the platform.
All guests will be refunded in full and hosts will be reimbursed by Airbnb, including those who booked stays via HotelTonight, a last-minute rental service owned by Airbnb. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) have asked people not to travel to D.C. for the inauguration amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, offering a virtual livestream instead.
“On January 20, there will be a transition of power, and we will work together, and with our partners in the federal government, to ensure the safety of the National Capital Region. Due to the unique circumstances surrounding the 59th Presidential Inauguration, including last week’s violent insurrection as well as the ongoing and deadly COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking the extraordinary step of encouraging Americans not to come to Washington, D.C. and to instead participate virtually," said the leaders in a joint statement.
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