In news that will surprise no one in 2017, a white supremacist rally is scheduled to take place this Saturday Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was promoted by none other than alt-right leader Richard Spencer, also known as the guy who got punched twice on Inauguration Day.
UNITE THE RIGHT— Richard ☝🏻Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) June 17, 2017
August 12, 2017
Charlottesville, Virginia pic.twitter.com/ZCqVA3tqA9
In response, Airbnb is canceling the reservations of people it believes are booking rentals in connection to the rally. Not only that, they're shutting down the accounts of these people, with this message: "After a routine review of your Airbnb account, we regret to inform you that we're no longer able to support your account due to a violation of our Terms of Service. ... Per our Terms of Service, Airbnb reserves the right to make the final determination with respect to such matters, and this decision will not be reversed."
Looks like Airbnb is permanently deactivating the account of anyone booking a room in Charlottesville if they think it's for the rally. Gay! pic.twitter.com/O1NTzwWpuu— Illegal Aryan (@Illegal_Aryan) August 6, 2017
Because white supremacists get their energy from nostalgia, the rally is set to take place in a park where other supremacists gathered earlier this year, though that time, it was to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Then named Lee Park, the public space was renamed in June as Emancipation Park.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Airbnb said it established community rules in 2016 that "make good on our mission of belonging" and that "those who are members of the Airbnb community accept people regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age." There's a community commitment that must be signed by everyone using the service, and Airbnb said it's committed to removing people from the platform who are "antiethical" to the policy.
The city of Charlottesville canceled the permit for the Unite the Right rally, saying Emancipation Park would not support the size of the expected crowd. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Unite the Right rally is expected to draw hundreds of people from across the country who align with the alt-right. The nearby McIntire Park was offered as a back-up, but organizers refused to reset, emphasizing the significance of the initial location as a former Confederate site. One of the rally organizers, Jason Kessler, took to Twitter to respond to the permit cancelation.
Nothing will stop us. https://t.co/cXydRzJSG9— Jason Kessler (@TheMadDimension) August 7, 2017