Airbnb cancels and blocks inauguration week reservations

Caitlin O'Kane
·2 min read

Airbnb announced on Wednesday it is canceling and blocking reservations in the Washington D.C. area during the week of President elect Joe Biden's inauguration, scheduled for January 20. The company said the decision was made "in response to various local, state and federal officials asking people not to travel to Washington, D.C." 

It also said it is aware of reports about "armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration." 

Guests impacted by the measures will be refunded, and hosts will be reimbursed at the company's expense, according to a press release from the company. Additionally, HotelTonight reservations will also be canceled, as it is owned by Airbnb. 

The announcement comes a week after pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, leading to five deaths. Investigators are now following leads and working cases in more than 30 states related to the attack and to next week's inauguration.

Airbnb said on Monday it was reviewing reservations in the Washington, D.C., area and would bar any guests associated with hate groups or violent activity. It also said it would warn all guests in the Washington region that it may bring legal action against them if they are members of hate groups or if they plan violent activities. 

Airbnb said Wednesday it was continuing to "ensure hate group members are not part of the Airbnb community."

"As we've learned through media or law enforcement sources the names of individuals confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity at the United States Capitol on January 6, we've investigated whether the named individuals have an account on Airbnb," the press release reads. "Through this work, we have identified numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building, and they have been banned from Airbnb's platform." 

Some city officials had asked Airbnb, as well as VRBO and other rental hosts, to remove their listings until the January 20 inauguration is over.

"There's no way to guarantee that your guests are not coming to incite violence," Janeese Lewis George, a Washington city council member, said in a Tweet on Monday. "Please protect your neighbors and the District from more attacks."

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