Airbnb Reverses Ban on Parents of Conservative YouTuber – Says It Was a Mistake


Airbnb is reversing course after it banned the parents of a right-wing YouTube star from its service.

On Tuesday, right-wing commentator Lauren Southern tweeted, “My parents just got banned from AirBnB for being related to me.”

“They have never booked anything for me. They do not represent me in any way. They aren’t publicly political in any way,” she continued. ”How is this sane in any way?”

She shared a screenshot of an email sent to her parents which stated, “We’ve removed you from the Airbnb platform because your account is closely associated with a person who isn’t allowed to use Airbnb. This means you’ll no longer be able to book reservations on Airbnb.”

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It added Southern’s parents would be refunded for reservations. Additionally, it provided a way for them to appeal the decision.

Southern has been accused of promoting “many causes dear to the alt-right” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. She has also been banned from Airbnb.

But on Wednesday, Gregg Re, a producer at Fox News, tweeted, “[Airbnb] tells me it was a ‘mistake’ to ban Lauren’s family members. Decision ‘reversed.’ They say Lauren is still banned, although the spokesman did not explain why. He says that’s forthcoming in an email.”

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Southern later shared a follow-up email her parents received stating the company had reviewed an appeal of the initial decision. However, she claimed they did not file an appeal and suggested the email was an attempt to “make this look like a mistake due to bad PR.”

“It was not. They just miscalculated how far they could go,” she added.

The good news for Southern’s parents is the ban was reversed. As the original email stated, they were banned because their account was “closely associated” with her. It did not say it was due to their views. Nor did it claim her parents were trying to skirt the ban for her and book reservations for her on their account.

If the Airbnb executives decide losing out on profit from people they view to be deplorable is a worthy business decision, that’s up to them.

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However, it seems to be a rather poor business decision, even more so than in the case of Facebook or Twitter.

While social media users have relatively few viable options to turn to if they are banned from YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook, there are many options for people who are excluded from Airbnb.

They can go to a hotel or a motel or Vrbo instead. And Airbnb will lose out on the profit.

But the company may want to clarify its policy about people “associated” with banned individuals so it does not unfairly punish other potential customers who may not even share the same views.

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