Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Airbnb to cancel weekend Lansing reservations if guests are affiliated with violent hate groups

January 16, 2021
<p>Lansing Capitol building on Sept. 19, 2019. </p>
Photo by Connor Desilets | The State News

Earlier today Airbnb, an online rental marketplace announced in a press release Saturday that they plan to review recently booked reservations in Lansing due to the possibility of armed protests at the state Capitol this weekend.

“Due to increased law enforcement and safety concerns, we are reviewing recently booked reservations in Lansing set to take place during Inauguration week," a company spokesperson for Airbnb said in the release. "If we confirm that guests are associated with a violent hate group or otherwise not allowed on our platform for violating certain community policies prohibiting violence or engaging in criminal activity, we will cancel those reservations and ban them from Airbnb."

The company also said it is in contact with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office, Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and Lansing Police Chief Daryl Green.

“The Lansing Police Department is appreciative for the assistance Airbnb is offering to help with potential future criminal investigations related to hate crimes here in Lansing," Green said.

The Michigan National Guard was activated by Whitmer on Friday along with other security measures at the state Capitol by the Michigan State Police and local law enforcement.

"I want to commend Airbnb for taking this important step to help keep our Capitol safe in light of this coming week's activities," Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a press release Saturday. "I appreciate their concern with our public safety and I am grateful."

Nessel tweeted earlier this week regarding the safety of the Michigan Capitol.

“This is complementary to our ongoing efforts to keep our hosts, guests and communities safe by working to identify individuals who may present a risk of violence such as members of violent hate group members and others publicly confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity in the U.S. Capitol Building," an Airbnb spokesperson said.

Schor also asked residents and those who live in the Lansing area in a press release Saturday to stay out of the downtown area, away from the capitol and to not engage with demonstrators who come to Lansing with "ill intentions."

"Downtown is a vibrant neighborhood and residents and businesses there should feel confident knowing that the Lansing Police Department is working closely with the Michigan State Police, Ingham County  Sheriff’s Department and other police agencies to ensure these planned events remain peaceful," Schor said in the release Saturday. " ... While the next few days will be even more challenging for Lansing, please consider supporting our downtown businesses in the coming weeks by shopping or visiting your favorite restaurant. I know these small businesses would truly appreciate your support." 

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