Airbnb to Block D.C. Reservations During Inauguration
By Dave Sebastian
Airbnb units won't be hosting new visitors in Washington next
week, when President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect
Kamala Harris will take office Jan. 20, as the home-sharing company
braces for potential violence in the U.S. Capitol by armed militias
and hate groups.
Airbnb Inc. said it is blocking and canceling all reservations
in the Washington, D.C., metro area during the period, in response
to local and federal officials' calls against traveling to the city
for Inauguration Day. The action comes as federal officials and
inauguration organizers are boosting security in response to
growing concerns after last week's attack on the Capitol by a mob
of supporters of President Trump.
The San Francisco company said it will refund guest reservations
and reimburse hosts at Airbnb's expense, as well as cancel
reservations on HotelTonight, the company's hotel-booking service.
Long-term reservations that have already been booked are excluded
from the move, an Airbnb spokesman said.
Airbnb said it has banned from its platform individuals who are
confirmed to have been involved in the Jan. 6 storming of the
Capitol or those associated with known hate groups. Federal
prosecutors said they were examining more than 160 cases and
weighing sedition charges in some of them as the nation's military
leadership this week denounced the attack as a plot to overthrow
"We are continuing our work to ensure hate group members are not
part of the Airbnb community," the company said.
The move marks the latest action by a company in denouncing the
violence that transpired as lawmakers last week certified Mr.
Biden's victory. In the wake of the riot, companies have also moved
to cut ties with Mr. Trump and his supporters and fired workers who
Founded in 2008, the company found an opportunity in setting up
an accommodations site -- at the intersection of couch surfing and
hotels -- during large events such as the South By Southwest music
conference in Austin, Texas, and eventually the Democratic National
Convention and former President Barack Obama's inauguration.
Write to Dave Sebastian at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 13, 2021 11:37 ET (16:37 GMT)
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