Airbnb Cancels All D.C. Reservations During Inauguration Week

by Madison Vanderberg
Originally Published: 
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty

In light of violent threats ahead of Biden’s inauguration, Airbnb cancels all D.C.-area reservations for the week of the event

After the January 6th attack on the Capitol, plans to repeat that act of insurrection at Joe Biden’s inauguration are being made by far right extremists on Parler and other social media sites. So to do their part to slow the threat of domestic terrorism, Airbnb has cancelled all bookings made for the D.C. area during the inauguration week.

“We are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration,” Airbnb wrote in a statement on Wednesday, January 13, 2020.

Through the media and law enforcement, Airbnb also learned “the names of individuals confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity at the United States Capitol on January 6, [and] we’ve investigated whether the named individuals have an account on Airbnb. 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.”

In addition to cancelling all bookings and identifying and banning individuals who were involved in last week’s incident, they will also not allow any future bookings for the D.C. area next week. The same practices are being followed on Hotel Tonight, as well. Airbnb will also reimburse hosts, at Airbnb’s expense with the money they would have earned from those reservations.

The company did not state how many bookings were cancelled, however a quick search of the Airbnb site for dates that include January 20th shows you can still book several (not many, but some) locations just outside D.C., so it’s unclear how far outside D.C. and into nearby Virginia neighborhoods the Airbnb ban extends or why those listings are still appearing on the site as available. A representative from Airbnb tells Scary Mommy those listings are being removed.

It is wild and a little terrifying that domestic terrorists can just book an Airbnb on their way to carry out an act of violence against our elected officials. D.C. officials have told visitors not to travel to the area for the inauguration, but that isn’t going to stop far right insurrectionists. And call me crazy but why not temporarily stop all flights into D.C. while we’re at it? Also, no major hotel chains have followed in Airbnb’s footsteps and cancelled reservations for next week. Marriott point blank told The AP they were keeping all of next week’s reservations in tact.

Additionally, many local D.C. officials have called upon their neighbors to stop renting out rooms either privately or on apps like Airbnb and VRBO. Hopefully we’ll learn of more safety measures for the D.C. area as the inauguration looms.

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