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Why I am cancelling my Airbnb account

I received the following e-mail from Airbnb:

The Airbnb Community Commitment

Hi,

Earlier this year, we launched a comprehensive effort to fight bias and discrimination in the Airbnb community. As a result of this effort, we’re asking everyone to agree to a Community Commitment beginning November 1, 2016. Agreeing to this commitment will affect your use of Airbnb, so we wanted to give you a heads up about it.

What is the Community Commitment?

You commit to treat everyone—regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age—with respect, and without judgment or bias.

How do I accept the commitment?

On or after November 1, we’ll show you the commitment when you log in to or open the Airbnb website, mobile or tablet app and we’ll automatically ask you to accept.

What if I decline the commitment?

If you decline the commitment, you won’t be able to host or book using Airbnb, and you have the option to cancel your account. Once your account is canceled, future booked trips will be canceled. You will still be able to browse Airbnb but you won’t be able to book any reservations or host any guests.

What if I have feedback about the commitment?

We welcome your feedback about the Community Commitment and all of our nondiscrimination efforts. Feel free to read more about the commitment. You can also reach out to us at allbelong@airbnb.com.

The Airbnb Team

I have added emphasis to the words religion, gender identity and judgment as they particularly leapt out at me. So I am being told by Airbnb that I must not judge someone based on a prescribed list of things, some simply matters of genetics or location, but others being ideas someone has chosen to believe or adopt, which is a very different category to race for example. This is the first time I have ever had a company or indeed anyone ask me to sign an agreement to interact socially in a certain manner as a precondition to doing business, or they will cancel any existing bookings I might have in their system and prevent me from making any in the future. Well that is their prerogative of course, but does anyone else find this utterly bizarre?

Now I have travelled to a great many places on this planet over the years (well, not by Michael Jennings standards perhaps, but most would say I was very well travelled). I am also a straight white atheist who thinks all religion is arrant nonsense. And yet I have stayed in hotels, motels, yurts, boats and b&bs owned by Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Animists, Homosexuals, Heterosexuals, and goodness knows Whateversexuals, and never once had any problems due to the owner’s religious beliefs or personal peccadilloes, because I am really a very tolerant person. And yet none of the proprietors have required me to sign an agreement not to ‘judge’ their religion or what they do in bed, so such topics really never came up, which is just as well because when I am asked what I think, I typically say what I think (unless the person is pointing a gun at me).

But if a hotel ever sent me a confirmation e-mail for a booking and included a rider stating: “as a precondition of this booking, please confirm that you will not judge our religious beliefs…” or perhaps “as a precondition of this booking, please confirm that you will not show bias against my demands to be called Doris even though I have a beard and a baritone voice…” well my terse reply would be: “Cancel reservation”. Yet this has never actually happened, because most people who run hotels or B&Bs are just not that stupid. Perhaps making such demands does not seem like unhinged behaviour at Airbnb HQ in San Francisco, but that is indeed how it strikes me.

And so even though I have never once in my entire life had a problem renting a room anywhere in the world, I will be closing my Airbnb account, deleting their app, and telling Airbnb to get stuffed for their sheer effrontery and presumptuousness.

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56 comments to Why I am cancelling my Airbnb account

  • bobby b

    Remember Captain Black’s Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade from Catch-22?

    That’s all it is.

  • That’s all it is.

    It is a company, a damn company who wants my money, telling me out of the blue & with very little warning, that they will cancel any bookings I have in their system unless I promise to behave a certain way. Get stuffed.

  • Fred Z

    “unless I promise to behave a certain way”

    No, no, no it’s even worse, you must promise to think a certain way.

  • bobby b

    It’s a company, a damn company controlled by people who want society run their way.

    This is your chance. Sign their oath, join their club, or your name goes on the list. Failure to sign the oath will be dealt with more harshly than judging some religion..

  • Meh

    This is apparently because somebody somewhere didn’t want black people staying at their house, or something.

    It’s an interesting situation. On the one hand, freedom of association. On the other, the world we live in, in which no hotel would ever dream of exercising their freedom of association in such a way, or of even supporting the right to do so. But on the third hand, these aren’t hotels, these are people’s homes, which surely makes a difference.

    I don’t know that we can be too hard on Airbnb for doing what literally every other company would do in their shoes, i.e. knuckling under. (That’s if they’re not true believers.) But perhaps this was a difficulty they should’ve forseen: that there’s a psychological difference between running a hotel and renting out your spare room, and in the latter situation people are going to be much less willing to forgo their prejudices for a buck.

    I can’t say I blame that. A man’s home is his castle, and if he doesn’t want to let any damn dirty foreigners in, or whatever, that’s his prerogative.

    What we have here is the unique properties of Airbnb’s business model highlighting the fact that we haven’t had proper freedom of association for a few decades now. Airbnb aren’t asking anything of their sub-contractors that society (and in some cases the courts) don’t already ask of traditional hoteliers. Just try being a BnB that doesn’t want to serve queermoes (or bumders as they prefer to be called).

    I’m really not sure what my point was

  • PapayaSF

    Just be sure to let them know why you are canceling. Not that you’ll change their mind….

  • lucklucky

    Yes that is the important part “let them know why you are canceling.”

  • bobby b

    Just be sure to let them know why you are canceling.

    Um, research this first. Might be a form of hate speech.

  • elge

    I am canceling my account too. Not for the obvious reasons. I’m all for letting your freak flag fly. I am a 5th generation San Franciscan after all. I don’t agree with discrimination. I don’t even agree anyone has a right to discriminate. I am closing my account because AirBnb’s “efforts” ring false to me. They’re putting this BS clause in their TOC so they can say to Wall St. “Hey! We tried!” when they really didn’t and “You can’t sue us because some host are bigots, because we tried! (by having our PR department write a few words and make users agree to them.)”

  • This will be Air bnb trying to head off regulation: there has been talk for some time now about is possible for Air bnb users to ignore anti-discrimination legislation which hotels and B&Bs have to adhere to. Of course nobody has actually complained, it’s the usual statist approach of dreaming up a hypothetical situation and saying “something must be done”. No doubt Air bnb are naive enough to think this “voluntary” option will keep the statist from regulating them out of existence.

    See also the Uber ruling yesterday: 2 drivers out of 40,000 have complained they ought to be treated like employees rather than contractors and now the whole business model is threatened. Naturally the unions are delighted. But who represents the customers here? It’s the same with Air bnb: did customers ask for this?

  • bobby b

    I thought this was interesting timing:

    Facebook now allows advertisers to exclude viewers by race.

    It’s racist when you do it, but it’s a valid business decision when they do it themselves.

  • Stonyground

    The way things are going it will soon be impossible to make a decision about anything whatsoever. Surely making judgments about people as well as about everything else is essential just to function in life?

  • I’m waiting for these pledges to be a requirement of joining a dating site. “What, you don’t want to go on a date with a short, Asian lesbian? Sorry, you’re in breach of our policy. Bye!”

  • Paul Marks

    It is a demand to sign up for P.C. (Frankfurt School of Marxism “Critical Theory” – which is only “critical” of Western society) doctrine.

    “But they are a private company” – yes but made up of university educated people, who (partly out of fear – partly out of sincere belief) have “internalised” the doctrines of the Frankfurt School of Marxism (without even knowing their source) and push them.

    The Frankfurt School of Marxism worked out after the failure of the risings in Germany after the First World War (where most industrial workers showed they were AGAINST Revolution) that the traditional Marxist dream of “the workers” producing a socialist society was an illusion – so they sought new groups (women, ethnic minorities, homosexuals – and so on) to teach that “capitalist society” “oppressed” them. The idea being to use these groups of people as a club against “capitalist society” and to make Westerners ashamed of their society. Of course this approach was not truly successful till the 1960s by which time most of the well known Frankfurt School thinkers were operating in American academia.

    The stress on the politics of “gender” and “race” continues to this day. But there is a twist – and a very dangerous one. The leading opponents of the Frankfurt School of Marxism (the Marxist School of thought that dominates the education system and the media and so on) are themselves collectivists – they just follow the Black Flag rather than the Red Flag.

    I used to believe that the Fascists and National Socialists (for that is what they are) were a fringe thing – but it is clear from the organisations that have lined up to support the take over the Republican Party (organisations that are openly allied with racialist groups – organisations such as Breitbart, whose present leadership would have disgusted the late Andrew Breitbart) that racialism and so on is now mainstream.

    So we have a situation developing similar to that in Germany in the early 1930s – a massive Marxist movement (the Red Flag types) facing a large scale Racialist movement (the Black Flag types) who think that the United States (and Britain) were on the wrong side in World War II (yes even the people from Jewish backgrounds in the “Alt Right” think Winston Churchill, not Adolf Hitler, was the bad guy – the “logic” of the arguments of Paul Gottfried and the other raving lunatics is to demand that they themselves be gassed) – and who think Mr Putin is wonderful.

    A quick test. When I started talking about the Frankfurt School of Marxism at the start of this comment you (gentle reader) had “Alt Right” pop into your head did you not? I detest the “Alt Right” so why did it pop into your head when I pointed out the influence of the Frankfurt School and expressed opposition to the Frankfurt School?

    It popped into your head because the racialist “Alt Right” are the people who do most of the attacking of the Marxist Frankfurt School (the education system, the media and so on). Thus a false choice is presented – the Black Flag of the “Alt Right” or the Red Flag of the Marxists.

    And the America of “Chesty” Puller, Joe Foss, Barry Goldwater, and Audie Murphy, James Stewart and Gary Cooper (the last three were much the same people in real life as they were in their films) – this America is being crushed, crushed between the Marxist Frankfurt School (with its endless charges that everything is “racist”, “sexist”, “homophobic” and so on) and the “alternative” of the Nazi “Alt Right”.

    And if America falls the rest of the West can not (can not) stand.

    A patriot is someone who honours the American (and British) cause in World Wars and the Cold War – not someone who pretends that Germany did not start BOTH World Wars (the German Declaration of War upon France in 1914 was a pack of lies, it has the French bombing Bavaria and so on, and the Germans did not even bother to pretend that Belgium had attacked them before they invaded Belgium) and the Cold War – Korea and so on.

    Someone who pretends that World War II was unjust or unnecessary or that the Korean War was a local matter (not an attack by international Communism – part of their design for world conquest) is NOT a patriot. No more than someone who waved the Stars and Stripes whilst really being a Frankfurt School Marxist is a patriot.

    People in the West must reject BOTH “alternatives” – both the Red Flag (the Marxism of the education system and the media and so on), and the Fascism and Racialism of the “Alt Right” (the National Front in France, the Breitbart types in the United States – and so on).

    Black Flag people and Red Flag people are not hard to identify – just say such names as “Barry Goldwater” or “Winston Churchill” to them and watch their faces.

    Or say “Koch Brothers” (Charles and David Koch) and watch their faces.

    Both the Fascists and the Marxists hate these people.

    A Nationalist is not a Patriot – a patriot does not seek to beggar other nations to (supposedly) benefit their own (Protectionism and so on), and a patriot does not seek to turn different races against each other – or to turn people against “the rich”.

  • I can see the future of Tinder now…

    Customer: “Why are the checkboxes for ‘Overweight’ and ‘Lesbian’ pre-checked and can’t be unchecked?”

    Tinder Rep: “Sorry sir, but too many of our male customers have been expressing their white, CIS het privilege by excluding our feminist customers. We can’t have those sorts of attitudes”

  • lucklucky

    Fascism came from Marxism.

  • I am canceling my account too. Not for the obvious reasons.

    I would be curious to know what you think ‘the obvious reasons’ are.

    I’m all for letting your freak flag fly.

    I am all for people’s right to do that as well, just as I am also very keen to avoid people who flag up their freakiness (or politics or religion) at inappropriate times just to test the limits of my tolerance. I am very tolerant of things I do not like but I am not at all accepting of them (i.e. I genuinely do not like the things I do not like). My policy is usually “if you might not like my opinions, it would be for best if you do not ask me to express them, and also keep your own opinions to yourself as well”… such a policy works wonders at keeping things civil. I have a blog on which to vent, so no need to get in people’s faces in meatspace provided they stay out of mine.

    I am a 5th generation San Franciscan after all. I don’t agree with discrimination.

    But what exactly do you mean by ‘discrimination’? Presumably you have no problem with an otherwise well behaved KKK member in full gonzo regalia turning up at your place of business and conducting whatever business it is you do, because to throw them out would be ‘discrimination’, right?

    I don’t even agree anyone has a right to discriminate.

    As we are now talking rights and not choices, then you presumably do not support free association or actual ownership of self or property and prefer state intermediation in all relationships? See above.

    I am closing my account because AirBnb’s “efforts” ring false to me.

    Alas poor Airbnb, shot by both sides: the pro-freedom side hates you because you think it is appropriate to tell people who they can and cannot ‘judge’ rather than just renting them a fucking room, and the pro-Political-Correctness side hates you because you are not employing sufficient gusto when telling people who they must not judge because life is all about virtue signalling & crushing dissent.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    @elge,

    I don’t agree with discrimination. I don’t even agree anyone has a right to discriminate.

    Perfect example of the Frankfurt School’s efforts. We do indeed have the right to discriminate. We discriminate everyday in favor of one thing over another. What to have for lunch. What to wear. What to buy. Where to surf for our next website. We discriminate in our exams, our tests (discriminating power). Discrimination in a world of liberty and free markets is a good thing.

    To say you are against discrimination is to admit you cannot choose and you don’t want to choose. And the future world is one in which those who deem themselves our betters don’t give us any leeway to choose. At all.

    I must admit, I am impressed with the way the left has managed to turn words such as ‘privilege’ and ‘discrimination’ into negative words and pejoratives to be used against their opponents.

  • Thailover

    Perry, you are quite right. This is not behavior policing, it’s thought policing. It’s an attempt to get you to agree to agree with them…or else. I wouldn’t do business with them either. And yes, THEY think they’re being the good guys, ironically enough.

  • Thailover

    Elge wrote,

    “I don’t agree with discrimination.”

    No civilized person can tolerate a Pol Pot or Adolph Hitler. No civilized person can tolerate a Boston Strangler. Tolerance as a universal principle simply does not work. Besides, when you fail to tolerate Airbnb, you are making a discriminating choice between company behaviors you will tolerate and those you will not. You do agree with discrimination…because you just did.

  • NickM

    Paul,
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3878392/Israel-condemns-shameful-House-Lords-event-audience-applauded-claims-JEWS-responsible-Holocaust.html

    OK, it’s the DM which I distrust because of it’s abysmal sub-editing but…

    Yes, the House of Lords hosted a load of nutters who proclaimed, basically, the unholy trinity +1.

    1. The Holocaust never happened.
    2. It wasn’t that bad really.
    3. The Jews started it.
    4. They got what they deserved, anyway.

    Ignore the sheer horror for a moment. I studied quite a bit of mathematical logic at university and those cannot cohere. Aristotle could have told you that. And yet… And yet… People still believe this shit. People believe Israel is evil. Just evil. The same people who nitpick over the scruples of cake-makers in Ulster ignore the fact that in the grand scheme of things not baking a cake to celebrate gay marriage in Northern Ireland is worse than what ISIS or Hamas or whatever do. the same self-deluded numpties who find it appalling (and it feeds their self-hatred) that the only political party in this country to have a female PM is the Conservatives! That is not from their mental(ist) map of the Universe. Oh, and of course the Tories have done it twice!

    Yet the NI bakers (are they the only bakers in NI – not that that is the point really) are worse than ISIS who apparently put a load of Christian kids into industrial dough mixers alive. But then they are “Noble Savages” who are better than us. Thank you TE Lawrence and it goes back to Rouseau and all that.

    I shall end this rant mid course.

  • Dr Evil

    I discriminate. Discrimination shows that you have ideas about quality. I know what wines and beers I like because I discriminate. You can’t help it, that’s why your friends are your friends. Because you discriminate. Discrimination shows you have taste. It’s not always about race or indeed class. I think the airbnb nonsense should be hurled back in the face of this company. It is trying to control your thinking let alone your actions.

  • frank

    Interesting topic. I am an anthropologist and I have been JAILED in Baton Rouge, LA for defending civil rights of black people in 1960.
    So, my renting of houses in New Orleans to families turned into a LOGICAL decision to not rent to black families because of about 35 families, EVERY SINGLE black family either paid the rent late (or not at all–several evictions) or tore up the house, once even ripping out copper wires to sell!
    We had Asians, Jews, and Whites, who paid more or less on-time and didn’t cause problems. THUS, I could tell by the accents over the phone if a person were black and would say “sorry the house is already rented; thanks for calling”

  • Nemo

    Paul Marks,

    “A quick test. When I started talking about the Frankfurt School of Marxism at the start of this comment you (gentle reader) had “Alt Right” pop into your head did you not?”

    A quick answer: no. So everything from that point on was tosh. But you already know that, being a mind-reader.

  • “We welcome your feedback about the Community Commitment and all of our nondiscrimination efforts.”

    And please be sure to include your name and address so the ensuing hate speech prosecution can be mounted more easily.

    ——

    We cannot know what ratio of this is airbnb protecting themselves against collateral prosecution, as against airbnb, or some part of it, being captured by the PC. My (somewhat bitter) joke above applies more to the second case. The recent NI “judgement” will certainly have increased their fears of lawfare, so perhaps the first applies at least in part.

    Of course, it does not make that much difference. Anyone who cancels their account will have that fact remembered – and may think themselves lucky if it stays outside the public domain until/unless asked for by search warrant. (I’m reminded of those soviet elections where you could post your pre-printed ballot paper or go behind a screen and change it. You were not told, and did not have to be told, that if you went behind the screen, it would be remembered.)

    BTW this suggests a line of ‘feedback’ that may at least disconcert them: “If anyone cancels their account in the next few months, how will you protect it from becoming known and so leading to vicious web harassment on the assumption that your commitment was the reason?”

    Meanwhile, is there or will there be an airbnb rival website hosted in a country unfriendly to hate speech laws. Here in the UK, I suspect those NI judges and likeminded PCers will one day rule that some law already applies, but strategies for defeating the left’s claim that “the people gladly gave it up of themselves” are worth pursuing.

  • Nemo

    Perhaps because I don’t have all the info, but I actually have a little sympathy for airbnb here: imagine you book accommodation through them and upon arriving your putative host decides they don’t like the colour of your skin and refuses to honour the booking; you are then faced with the prospect of finding alternative accommodation and at much higher walk-in rates – if you can afford them. This uncertainty could fatally flaw the entire business model, so airbnb would be justified in protecting their trade. The free-market solution would be a proper exchange of information to minimise the possibility of such a situation, and an efficient method of doing so might be pre-expressed preferences and exclusions on the host’s account. Which, if it isn’t already illegal, would be made massively difficult by our masters and moral guardians. I guess that’s just the price of voting your freedoms away.

  • Anyone who cancels their account will have that fact remembered

    I am actually waiting until November 1 so that I will get the pop-up, decline & then cancel the account.

  • I saw this AirBnB announcement this morning, and now that I have thought about it for 2 minutes, they can stuff themselves. I cant tell how much of their policy is CYA, and how much of it is PC Enforcement, but it doesnt matter; whether you are a vendor or client in their network, if you dont go with their new anti-discrimination policy, you are not playing.

    I have seen plenty of reasonable AirBnB listings that say, ‘Female renters only’, and I am fine with that, as the space being rented is someone’s private property. But such will not be allowed under the new Marching Orders. While i do not generally join boycotts, I do feel free and maybe even obligated to mock and undermine such efforts as they come up in my public life.

  • Lamar Howell

    Airbnbb damned! You have no right to tell us what we can think and how we can behave and if we can judge others’ behavior or not. We can demand that of Airbnb but you cannot demand it of us. There is no community of commitment here. First, there is no “communty.” We don’t see each other or talk to each other. Secondly, there is no “commitment.” We are not related by birth, blood, oath, or contract. You have crossed a line!

  • Perry de Havilland (London), October 29, 2016 at 2:57 pm: “I am actually waiting until November 1 so that I will get the pop-up, decline & then cancel the account.”

    Good for you! Of course, presumably you can just decline and then wait, forcing them to do the work of cancelling. Or perhaps the popup will have “Please cancel my account” as its cancel button, forcing you to express obsequious compliance with their rationalisation even in dissent.

    Whatever the actual wording, the popup will strike some as offering the following two options:

    – I promise to believe what the PC tell me and do what they command.

    – I am a despicable human being: please cancel my account and inform on me to your friends.

    Many will dislike this. In reality, little courage is required to face up to them about it, but quite a few who dislike it will nevertheless not have the guts to complain. And it’s probably happening in part because some in airbnb did not have the guts to complain.

  • Mr Ed

    What would these people say if a dissembler accepted the terms but by practicing ‘taqiya’ and then breached them, and upon being sued argued that not accepting taqiya and suing was disrespectful of the dissembler’s religion?

  • Nemo (October 29, 2016 at 1:49 pm:), I think your defence of airbnb is ill-founded.

    Firstly, the phrasing is about respect; about not daring to judge; about internalising the hate speech law; about fearing to hint at your own beliefs lest they make some hypersensitive PCer “uncomfortable”. It is not about actually accepting a booking, having the people turn up, and then abruptly withholding accommodation because of their mere appearance (the case you discuss).

    Secondly, Airbnb already has policies on that case, i.e. on what happens if someone arrives and the accommodation is unready, not as promised, or denied. So even if the “commitment” had been solely about refusing an accepted booking merely on the look of the people who turned up, this up-front additional promise would merely be to distinguish some conceivable causes of this as “hate unavailability” and therefore much worse than “fraudulent unavailability”, “incompetent unavailability”, etc., just as “hate crimes” are treated as much worse than the exact same deeds motivated by mere selfish viciousness.

    The great thing about standard policies – e.g. ordinary laws of contract – is that they are two-sided. They understand ideas of more and less, of finite, calmly-assessed penalties, and above all, of sane exceptions. If this “commitment” had paragraphs about how “They spoke arabic and were carrying a lot of bomb-making equipment” would be an admitted exception, I’d have more respect for both the writer’s sense of humour and the possibility of there being some sanity in its interpretation.

    Mere freedom, of course, is greater still.

  • Nemo

    Niall,

    I don’t have an AirBnB account, so could only go with the info here; I wouldn’t say I was defending them per se! I was approaching it as in an older, saner time, when what mattered was fulfillment of contract without regard to rightthink, and I fully acknowledge the crazy optimism of doing so.

    I also see the benefits of informing companies why you’ve taken your business elsewhere so that they may improve their service to others but, if you were seriously concerned about having your card marked, you might as well just let it wither on the vine. Twitter seem to have provoked a similar reaction and their stats should be enough for them to figure it out.

  • Thailover

    They tend to confirm Thailover’s Hypothesis, which is, every leftist position is contradictory and/or hypocritical. They discriminate in favor of non-discrimination, or rather, they discriminate against discrimination. And they WILL NOT, WILL NOT mind you, tolerate intolerance of any sort. LOL.

  • Laird

    Mr Ed, your “taqiya” defense only works for practitioners (or purported practitioners) of a specific pseudo-religion. I don’t see a need to be that limited. I argue that it’s simply a contract of adhesion and so unenforceable. And dare them to sue me.

  • the other rob

    There are people in this world, real people, who live their lives under a Sharia death sentence. Some of those people are aware of that fact – Ayaan Hirsi Ali, for example. But there are many others, brought up as Christians, Jews, Agnostics or Atheists who have no idea that there’s a death warrant on them.

    I look forward to airbnb being sued into a smoking hole in the ground when this policy leads directly to murder.

  • Fred the Fourth

    I killed my account and told them why.

  • bobby b

    Laird, if I were to claim to be a trans-black cis-male lesbian hispanic muslim philatelist, I believe that their own code requires them to accept me as such.

    So, taqiya might work.

  • Jacob

    Here is a true story. As a child I lived in a Communist country in East Europe, and my parents submitted a request for a visa to emigrate to Israel. Emigration from communist countries was usually strictly forbidden and considered a terrible crime, but the leaders of that country had been bribed to grant anyway a number of visas for migration of Jews.

    Now, even the mere submitting of a request for emigration was considered a crime. It was considered criminal to imply that you are not happy under the communist paradise, and prefer to live in a capitalist hell-hole. It was considered a crime to even think that the communist paradise was less than perfect. People who dared submit requests for emigration were immediately penalized, usually by being thrown out of their jobs or their flats, and other such penalties. And, when you submitted the request you never knew if, and when, it will be granted.

    When you submitted the request you were required to state formally, in the request form, the reason for wanting to emigrate. The standard formula adopted by all was “family reunification”. This is similar to the Airbnd check box. People who submitted the request for visa would also take great care to explain, and explicitly state, voluntarily, in conversations with friends, neighbors or anyone, that they are perfectly happy with life under communism, and only asked for a visa on account of family reunification (joining a parent of a sibling). Everyone knew that this was an absurd lie. Everyone knew, perfectly well, from his own experience of everyday life, that life under communism was hard, poor, and dangerous. Everyone dreamed of emigrating. Everyone knew that all these pretenses of happiness were a forced lie. Still everyone participated in the lie, knowing that otherwise you might be severely penalized by the regime. It was a regime of universal lies.

    Now, this feature of universal lying and false pretense has been adopted by Airbnb, in the fashion of our time.

  • […] at Samizdata, Perry de Havilland tells us why he’s cancelling his Airbnb account.  Understandably he objects to being told to sign some pledge stating, among […]

  • Now, this feature of universal lying and false pretense has been adopted by Airbnb, in the fashion of our time.

    That’s been the case for years: if you don’t want to hire somebody you have to be come up with one of a selection of “approved” reasons rather than the actual reason.

  • Tim Newman, October 30, 2016 at 1:55 pm: “… That’s been the case for years ….”

    For decades, in some areas. In the 1980s, I recall a detailed discussion with the daughter of a US academic who routinely got 100 applicants for a single post and had to write non-discriminatory “safe” reasons for rejecting 99 of them. These reasons went into a file, and anyone could trawl it later if they wanted to seek evidence that you were prejudiced. It was a task at once tedious and stressful.

  • Now, this feature of universal lying and false pretense has been adopted by Airbnb, in the fashion of our time.

    Quite so, but I for one will not shrug my shoulders and accept that is just the way it is, the new normal and there is no point in getting wound up about it. Fuck that.

  • Philippe Hermkens

    A genuine question: why Breitbart is racist ?

  • A genuine question: why Breitbart is racist ?

    Er, that was random. What does this question have to do with this topic? Nothing.

  • Edie Ochiltree

    Most people will accept this absurd, insulting, and unenforceable ‘community commitment’ – and go on using their skill and judgement to avoid a bad experience. I know I will. AirBnb is simply too useful to give up. I suspect that AirBnb don’t believe in it either; the real message is “if we pretend to require this commitment from you, will you pretend to agree to it?”. Would you stop travelling by train if you had to sign the same thing to be allowed to buy a ticket?

  • AirBnb is simply too useful to give up (…) Would you stop travelling by train if you had to sign the same thing to be allowed to buy a ticket?

    Unlike travelling by train, there are many competitors to Airbnb, so I would have to disagree.

  • bobby b

    The truth of it all is that, just as in any accommodations business, there will be lawsuits alleging that some owners refused accommodations to someone of some protected group, and ABnB is trying to proactively set up its own defense. They would be the targeted deep-pockets defendant in any such lawsuit – i.e., a more reliable source of funds to pay court awards than the possibly-cash-poor owners.

    “How could WE be guilty of what this deplorable homeowner did? We did our best to weed such people out, and to ensure that all owners would be fair!”

    Step 2 will be to loudly excommunicate all owners who refuse to sign the pledge.

    Once this is done, no jury will tag ABnB with damages. They’ll just hit the owner.

    Tacky and craven, to be sure, but if I were ABnB’s lawyer or insurer, I’d be encouraging this.

  • Philip Scott Thomas

    Perry –

    A genuine question: why Breitbart is racist?

    Er, that was random. What does this question have to do with this topic? Nothing.

    I think it was a follow-on question from something Paul Marks wrote above:

    …organisations that have lined up to support the take over the Republican Party (organisations that are openly allied with racialist groups – organisations such as Breitbart, whose present leadership would have disgusted the late Andrew Breitbart) that racialism and so on is now mainstream.

    I was left wondering about that as well. I don’t Breibart all that often, mostly to check out who Milo has been winding up lately, so it’s quite possible I’ve missed something.

  • Paul Marks

    Good to see Mr Ed’s sharp legal mind at work.

    Yes Lucklady – Fascism came from Marxism.

    Yes Nick – the forces of the Black Flag of the Jew haters (and the Green Flag of the Islamists) are growing among the “liberal left” not just the “Alt Right”.

    And yes – to all those people who have made the basic logical point that the word “discriminate” means to choose – that to be a “discriminating person” is not criminal behaviour whatever government statutes may say.

    People may base their choices on silly foundations – such as hair colour. But that is their affair – in a free society.

  • Paul Marks

    Not Lucklady – Lucklucky. More serious than my normal typos – I actually got the person confused with a comment person on “Counting Cats”, the site that keeps getting hacked whenever a certain post of mine goes up on it.

    Many thanks to Alisa for pointing out my mistake.

    I apologise for any offence called.

  • Alisa

    I apologise for any offence called

    Whaaaaat???!!! ( 😛 )

  • Perry de Havilland (London): October 30, 2016 at 9:26 pm: ” … ‘AirBnb is simply too useful to give up’ … there are many competitors to Airbnb, so I would have to disagree.”

    I emphatically agree with Perry. If we on this forum will not choose the free-er suppliers over the more slavish, who will?

  • staghounds

    Does it violate the policy to say that your Airbnb customers not cook or consume pork?

    Does it violate the policy to insist that your hosts not cook pork while you are there?

  • I received an updated AirBnB Terms Of Service notice in my email this morning, as I havent yet bothered to cancel my account. I took the time to read through the document, and there is nothing about the new issues pertaining to discrimination that werent there before. FYI

  • Dude that you be

    I went through a lot of work to cancel my account with airbnb, after the discriminatory “anti-discrimination” policy. Obviously, this new policy basically says that you have to leave any anti-liberal thinking at the door, and they will not tolerate our own lifestyle choices.

    For example, according to the religion of my family (and actually, the majority of the world’s major religions…), homosexuality is wrong. So if I am looking for a place to take my family (with 3 small boys) and an obviously gay couple is advertising a place (or a room in a place), then I’m not going to stay there. But according to their policy, I can’t do that.

    And if we are Christian, and rent out a room, then can we have any bible verses up on our walls that include words that say homosexuality is a sin? Or Jesus is the only way? Or how about a phrase that says “repent”, because that very word means that people need to turn away from something?

    But here comes their trick: You CAN’T cancel your account. Because when you login, you MUST agree to their policy, or it will kick you out. You can’t get to your settings to cancel your account! So you have to exchange emails with them to get them to cancel your account.

    So here is their purpose: They are going to get most people to agree to their pledge, even if you just want to cancel the account. And how many people actually will cancel?

    Please do the work to write to them to tell them to cancel your account. They will tell you to login and go to settings. Then you have to write to them to say that you can’t login to settings unless you agree to their discriminatory anti-discrimination clause, which you will not.

    Yes, this San Francisco based company would rather stick to their radical agenda than to make a profit and keep customers.