Airbnb hires Eric Holder to develop anti-discrimination policy

Former Attorney General Eric Holder is advising Airbnb on its anti-discrimination policy, the company said on Wednesday.

CEO Brian Chesky announced his involvement in a blog post laying out the home-sharing service’s efforts so far to fight discrimination among its hosts. The role is not full time.

{mosads}“Airbnb is committed to building a community where everyone can belong, no matter who they are or what they look like,” said Holder, now a partner at law firm Covington and Burling, in a statement issued through an Airbnb spokesperson.

“I’m eager to help them craft policies that will be the model for companies who share Airbnb’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

Cheskey said that everyone who uses Airbnb would have to read and sign off on the non-discrimination policy before using the platform.

Holder lends the prestige of a former Cabinet official who focused heavily on civil rights issues during his time in the Obama administration to a company under fire for discrimination by its users.

Black users looking for lodging have united around the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack to highlight examples of discrimination on the platform. One user recently posted about an exchange in which a host directed a racial slur at her; the host was later booted from the platform.

The company has responded that it will bolster its anti-discrimination efforts and draw on its technological expertise to build tools to deal with the issue.

The discrimination has also exposed Airbnb politically. Its opponents in the hotel industry and among housing advocates recently launched a national ad campaign using the Twitter conversation to make their case. And a trio of Democratic senators raised the concerns last week in a letter to the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission.

Holder is also quietly building out his links to companies in the on-demand economy. In addition to his work with Airbnb, he penned letters this year opposing fingerprint-based background checks in places where Uber is fighting against laws that would mandate the stricter checks of their drivers.

Tags Airbnb Eric Holder

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