Airbnb Hires Former Attorney General Eric Holder to Fight Discrimination | Airbnb

Airbnb has hired the former US Attorney General Eric Holder to help combat racism and other forms of discrimination on its short-term rental platform, the company announced on Wednesday.

In a blog postCEO Brian Chesky called discrimination “the biggest challenge we face as a company” and admitted he and his co-founders weren’t “fully aware of this issue when we designed the platform” and that “there has sometimes been a lack of urgency to work on this”.

Holder, the nation’s first black attorney general, has spoken openly about the racism he has experienced — including being racial profiling by the police when he was a federal prosecutor. As Attorney General, he fought to preserve the Voting Rights Act, despite the 2013 supreme court decision that gutted civil rights-era legal protections for black voters.

Referencing the company’s support for Black Lives Matter, as well as “brave police,” Cheskey provided the most insight yet into Airbnb’s plan to “get our house in order.” .

A review of the platform is being overseen by former ACLU official Laura Murphy, and the company said it will task Holder and civil rights lawyer John Relman with improving its anti-discrimination policy.

Holder said in a statement, “I look forward to working with Airbnb to develop and implement a world-class anti-discrimination policy. I look forward to helping them develop policies that will serve as a model for businesses that share Airbnb’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Airbnb has come under fire in recent months as users have spoken out about their experiences of discrimination on the platform, including black users who have shared their struggles finding rentals using the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack and one transgender woman who revealed that she had been rejected by one of the company’s “superhosts”.

A 2015 to study by Harvard Business School researchers found evidence of “widespread discrimination against African American guests” on the platform.

Federal civil rights law prohibits hotels and other public accommodations from discriminating against guests based on race, but it’s not yet clear whether those rules apply to Airbnb and other short-term rental companies. who do not operate accommodation themselves.

Airbnb current policy tells hosts they are responsible for complying with local laws, including, in the United States, federal anti-discrimination laws. When the new policy is in place, Chesky said, hosts will be required to “read and certify” that they will comply with it.

In addition to potential legal liability, Airbnb has faced market pressure due to discrimination. Black entrepreneurs recently founded two startups, blackbnb and inclusivewhich would target people of color and other travelers who may face discrimination on Airbnb.

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