Airbnb Bans Users Heading to White Nationalist Conference in Tennessee

Airbnb has taken a stand against racism and hate by banning customers who plan to use the app while attending a white nationalist conference in May. On April 8, the company announced that it would ban users who were attending the American Renaissance Conference at the Montgomery Bell State Park Inn & Conference Center in Burns, Tennessee from May 17 to May 19, The Tennessean reported.

The popular vacation rental company told The North Star it has removed Airbnb accounts that are connected with the conference. Airbnb cited its “Community Commitment” policy, which states that the company agrees “to treat everyone in the Airbnb community — regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age — with respect, and without judgment or bias." In 2017, the company banned users who were attending the Unite The Right rally for violating its policies, Gizmodo previously reported.

“Actions based in racism and hatred associated with neo-Nazis, the alt-right, and white supremacists have no place in the Airbnb community. When we see people on the platform pursuing behavior that would be antithetical to our Community Commitment, we take appropriate action,” the company said in a statement to The North Star. “We previously acted in advance of the horrific event in Charlottesville, we've now acted in advance of this conference in Tennessee, and if we become aware of similar information we won’t hesitate to do so again.”

The American Renaissance is a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) designated hate group founded in 1990. The group “is a self-styled think tank that promotes pseudo-scientific studies and research that purport to show the inferiority of Blacks to whites,” according to SPLC. The nonprofit law center also noted that the group holds conferences “every other year where racist ‘intellectuals’ rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and other white supremacists.”

This is the group's eighth conference at the Inn and has been renting the venue since 2012, according to The Tennessean. The conference is advertised on the American Renaissance’s website along with registration information and the conference schedule. The website also informs attendees of hotels nearby the conference. “The establishment is terrified. Giant media companies keep trying to silence racial dissidents even as they turn a blind eye to violent hatred against whites. Why? Because we threaten the very foundations of how they see the world. Our reach and appeal continue to grow — and they are afraid. We are right and our opponents are wrong. They have power; we have truth,” the group's website reads. “Come join the men and women who are leading the fight against censorship, calumny, and dispossession. Join us for a weekend of inspiring speeches, networking, and conviviality.”

Companies like Facebook have also taken a stand against white nationalism. In March, the social networking company announced that it was removing users from Facebook and Instagram. In a press release, the company stated that it would ban “praise, support, and representation of white nationalism and white separatism” on the two social media websites.

“Unfortunately, there will always be people who try to game our systems to spread hate. Our challenge is to stay ahead by continuing to improve our technologies, evolve our policies, and work with experts who can bolster our own efforts,” Facebook stated in the release. “We are deeply committed and will share updates as this process moves forward.”

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.