Report: Airbnb reviewing D.C. reservations, plans to ban people linked with ‘hate groups’ ahead of Inauguration

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WASHINGTON, D.C.- On Monday, January 11th, Airbnb announced that it is reviewing reservations in the Washington, D.C. area ahead of the upcoming presidential Inauguration and plans to bar any guests it believes are associated with hate groups or violent activity.

According to reports, the decision comes shortly after city officials asked Airbnb, VRBO, and other rental hosts to remove listings until after the January 20th Inauguration. In a post on Twitter, Janeese Lewis George, a Washington, D.C. city council member said:

“There’s no way to guarantee that your guests are not coming to incite violence. Please protect your neighbors and the District from more attacks.”

Since 2017, Airbnb has had a policy of removing guests who are confirmed to be members of hate groups. This policy came after the company blocked guests who were headed to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Airbnb said it will warn all guests in the Washington, D.C. region that it may bring legal action against them if they are found to be members of hate groups or if they plan violent activities. The company is also telling hosts to call a specific hotline if they suspect guests are violating Airbnb’s policy.

Airbnb also announced that anyone who engaged in criminal activity in the January 6th’s protest at the U.S. Capitol will be banned from the platform. Airbnb is reportedly cross-referencing arrest records to determine who should be removed from the platform, but has not yet stated how many have been banned so far.

The San Francisco-based home-sharing company also said that it will not give political donations to the Republicans who voted against certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election on January 6th, joining Marriot, AT&T, and others in taking that stance.

According to Open Secrets, which monitors campaign finance donations, Airbnb’s action committee donated $866,519 to candidates and political parties in the 2020 election cycle. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was the biggest recipient of Airbnb donations.

WUSA9 reported that dozens of members of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) have fielded messages and calls from citizens worried about what safety might look like during the week of the upcoming presidential Inauguration. 

A group of ANC commissioners including Alison Horn and Alex Lopez helped draft a letter urging the city to take additional steps to prevent violent protests from invading the city before, during, and/or after Inauguration day.

The biggest push is for the mayor and city council to strongly encourage hotels and hosts of short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, to not rent rooms during all of Inauguration week and to offer financial assistance to offset losses from voluntary business closures.  Horn said:

“We want to limit access to lodging to make it harder for people to come and stay in our city. We’re asking for the mayor and the council to put as much pressure on hotels and short-term rentals to cancel reservations from these white nationalist hate groups or close temporarily during the Inauguration.”

The following recommendations from the letter read, in part:

Enforce restrictions on mass gatherings and mask wearing during Inauguration week to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect DC’s essential workers from exposure;

Limit access and exposure by violent insurrectionists, however possible, to known areas where individuals experiencing homelessness reside and historic Black churches;

Work to ensure additional hospital capacity in light of the limited number of ICU currently available, due in part to a surge in COVID-19 cases and;

Share timely, non-confidential information to Advisory Neighborhood Commissions about DC government plans and actions to allow Commissioners to inform residents.

There has also been a trending social media effort called #DontRentDC to urge short-term rental hosts to keep their homes vacant to mitigate potential violence. 

Horn said that while these efforts are better than nothing, it is still not enough. She said:

“It seems naïve to me to think people bold enough to bash in windows in the Capitol and take all of the horrifying actions we saw last week, that they would not also mislead an Airbnb host.”

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Black Lives Matter demanding DC hotels shut down during pro-Trump protests – and the hotels are starting to cave

December 30th, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C.- On Monday, December 28th, the Hotel Harrington, which is located just a few blocks from the White House, announced that it will been shut down between Monday, January 4th and Wednesday, January 6th.

Over the last few months, the far-right group, the Proud Boys, has frequented the hotel. Allegedly, there is a pro-Trump protest planned for Wednesday, December 30th, the same day Congress plans to certify the election results.

The hotel said that it will not host guests except for long-term residents and it will provide refunds to all pre-paid reservations made for during that time period. The statement read, in part:

“Washington, D.C. has been our home for 106 years and we join with all of our guests, visitors, staff, and neighbors in our concern and desire for everyone’s health and safety.”

The statement added:

“We greatly appreciate the trust our guests have placed in Hotel Harrington over the years and we wish to continue to earn that trust. While we cannot control what happens outside of the hotel, we are taking additional steps to protect the safety of our visitors, guests, and employees.”

According to reports, after Hotel Harrington announced its plans to close between January 4th and January 6th, the ‘Black Lives Matter D.C.’ group is calling on other D.C. hotels to do the same. The group wrote on Twitter:

“Boom. This is how you stop white supremacists from destroying our city and terrorizing dc residents.”

The tweet tagged several D.C. hotels in the area and added:

“Next up. what will you do to stop hate? #DefendDC”.

Marriott Metro Center, Holiday Inn Washington Capitol at the National Mall, JW Marriott Hotels, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Alexandria, and Grand Hyatt DC were all tagged in the BLM tweet. Another organization, known as “All Out DC,” retweeted BLM DC’s tweet, adding more hotels:

“Are you all going to follow suit and protect Black Lives or welcome white extremists violent gangs into your establishments on January 6?”

Reportedly, back on December 12th, several hundred Proud Boys members stayed at Hotel Harrington for the demonstrations contesting the election results. The hotel bar, knowns as Harry’s, has also seen an influx of Proud Boys members and its website said it also would not be operating on January 5th or 6th.

Several stabbings happened in the area of Harry’s on the evening of December 12th after mostly-peaceful pro-Trump rallies throughout the day. Authorities said that the clash was between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protestors. 

Enrique Tarrio, who heads the Proud Boys, told the Post that the group’s members had previously stayed at the hotel and went to the bar because of its proximity to the White House. However, he said that the group has “grown too large” for the bar.

Tarrio told the news outlet that the Proud Boys would not stay at the hotel or got to the bar if businesses requested the group to avoid them. He said in a statement:

“Of course not. I wouldn’t want to go somewhere, a private business where I’m unwelcome. There’s many other options.”

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1344359312878149634

The group behind both the ‘Million MAGA March’ and a pro-Trump demonstration earlier in the month of December announced plans to hold another event on January 6th. According to a flyer on the Trump March website, the organization plans to “demand transparency and protect the election integrity.”

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Officers attacked, supporters of President Trump stabbed at violent rallies in Washington D.C.

December 14th, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC- As has become routine, a pro-Trump rally during the daytime devolved into chaos under darkness as groups of pro-Trump supporters, including members of the Proud Boys clashed with Antifa and Black Lives Matter anarchists who went to the nation’s capital with the intention of creating chaos.

At least one officer was reportedly injured, which video captured the female officer limping away from the area where counter demonstrators – a.k.a, Antifa-inspired individuals – were positioned. 

ABC7 News captioned the footage with the following: 

“[DC Police] assisted an injured female officer as she limped her way outside of the counter-protest zone as civil unrest broke out in DC Saturday following a day of pro-[Trump] rallies. The officer appeared to have tears in her eyes.”

Breitbart and numerous other outlets reported on the mayhem that ensued after a day of peaceful rallies in support of the president devolved into chaos under the cover of darkness.

Breitbart reported that at least four supporters of the president were stabbed during altercations in Washington, DC.

Numerous tweets showed the violence that took place on Saturday night.

People who had been surrounding that man can be heard yelling out, “Knife, knife, knife!”

WJLA said they were told by first responders they had transported four critical stabbing victims from the area of 11th and F Street NW to DC area hospitals.

Police then moved in to arrest the stabbing suspect:

Apparently earlier, Antifa and Black Lives Matter anarchists attempted to blind a man with a high-powered laser, then knock his iPad out of his hand:

Another tweet shows members of The Proud Boys fending off an Antifa anarchist with a knife:

Here is yet another tweet with video showing one of the stabbings from a different angle:

Yet another video, this time showing a stabbing victim being tended to by DC Metro Police:

And another:

The clashes between Proud Boys and Antifa/Black Lives Matter spread to other areas of the city as well, as shown in the below tweet:

NBC News, citing Doug Buchanan, a spokesman for the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, seemed to confirm that the four stabbing victims had sustained critical injuries.

Witnesses told WJLA’s reporter that the stabbings occurred during a clash between supporters of President Trump and anarchists, likely affiliated with Antifa. A restaurant in that area, Harry’s had served as a gathering spot of sorts for Trump supporters on Saturday.

DC Metro Police reported at least 23 arrests, including six for assaults on police officers, 10 for simple assaults, and four for “riotous acts,” possession of a Taser and crossing police lines, The Hill reported.  

Police said earlier in the night, groups affiliated with Proud Boys and Black Lives Matter were broken up by police at around 7 p.m.

The rally in the nation’s capital was held once again in support of President Trump amidst what has been termed a fraudulent election where numerous states reported questionable results.

On Friday, the United States Supreme Court dismissed a case brought by Texas and numerous other states challenging the results of the election, with the high court apparently disregarding Article II of the Constitution.

At the rally, speakers railed against various entities, including that [kangaroo] court, and also Fox News and Joe Biden.

The event organizers had demonstrations planned in front of the Supreme Court, the US Capitol building, as well as the Department of Justice. Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was railroaded by the Obama administration and forced to resign, was one of the speakers at the event. 

Flynn recently received a presidential pardon from President Trump after the judge in Flynn’s case refused to dismiss the charges despite a request from the Justice Department that he do so. 

President Trump, on his way to the annual Army-Navy football game overflew the rally in Marine One, the presidential helicopter. 

“Wow! Thousands of people forming in Washington (D.C.) for Stop the Steal. Didn’t know about this, but I’ll be seeing them. #MAGA,” Trump tweeted in acknowledgment of the event. 

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1337774011376340992

In probably one of the most amusing anecdotes reported in the news regarding the violent clashes between pro-Trump groups, anarchist groups and the police, The Hill, in reporting on the arrests noted that “six people were arrested Saturday,  but none of those stemmed from COVID-19 regulations. D.C. police have not been enforcing mask rules or issuing fines to social distancing violators, according to the [Washington] Post.” 

So, in the midst of a virtual riot, the Washington Post and The Hill appeared to be more concerned not with people being stabbed, but with the fact that nobody was arrested for violating “COVID-19 regulations.” 

We are truly living in strange times. 

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