Airbnb Enlists Former U.S. Attorney General To Address Discrimination

Image courtesy of EFFIE YANG

Airbnb has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind, but that hasn’t stopped some hosts from refusing to rent their homes to consumers based on race or sexual orientation. In order to address these issues, Airbnb has now begun to review its policies, enlisting the help of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. 

The company announced the review in a blog post on Wednesday, following the reports of bias against consumers using the platform to rent rooms.

As part of the review process, the company has met with civil rights leaders from across the country and held working sessions with employees at Airbnb to get their input.

While the process is still ongoing, Airbnb says it has enlisted the assistance of former Attorney General Eric Holder as outside counsel to help craft a “world-class anti-discrimination policy.”

“While we have a policy that prohibits discrimination, we want this policy to be stronger,” Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder, said. “And we will require everyone who uses our platform to read and certify that they will follow this policy.”

The company also plans to offer hosts training about “unconscious bias,” and hire more employees that will work to detect and address instances of bias.

Chesky notes that after speaking with many Airbnb users, he’s come to understand that there has “at times been a lack of urgency to work on this, and we need to rectify that immediately.”

“This process isn’t close to being over, but we want to be as transparent as possible along the way because I know we’ve failed on that front previously,” Chesky wrote. “I promise you that we have learned from the past and won’t repeat our prior mistakes and delays. I sincerely believe that this is the greatest challenge we face as a company.”

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