Incident in Rialto, California: a message from Janaye Ingram and Laura W. Murphy

As you might have seen, four Airbnb guests in Rialto were detained after a neighbor who we believe is not a part of the Airbnb community wrongly accused them of robbing a home. While Airbnb and our host and guests had no part in contacting law enforcement or the police response, we believe it is important to address this matter.

We are deeply disturbed by the public reports suggesting that the police department’s response was dictated by the guests’ race. As African-American women who have seen the inequitable treatment of people of color we know that these kinds of incidents can be rooted in implicit and explicit bias. They are are hurtful, discriminatory, traumatic and must end. We also believe that everyone has important role to play to make sure that these kinds of events do not happen again.

To that end, earlier today, we sent a letter to the Mayor and Chief of Police in Rialto, offering to meet with them to discuss how we can all work together to fight discrimination. We take these matters incredibly seriously, and want to work together with anyone who shares our commitment to fighting bias and promoting inclusion.

Our outreach is part of our ongoing effort to fulfill Airbnb’s mission: creating a world where anyone can belong anywhere. Over the last two years, we have been engaged in a series of activities and initiatives to fight discrimination and bias. Some of our work includes:

  • Launching the Airbnb Community Commitment that reads: “I agree 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.” Everyone who uses Airbnb must agree to this commitment.
  • Instituting an Open Doors Policy so that users can now report a case of perceived or actual discrimination and receive immediate assistance through our Open Doors policy, which ensures victims of discrimination will be given a place to stay and assistance when booking accommodations.
  • Creating a full time Anti-discrimination Product Team dedicated to combating bias in any Airbnb rentals that works on a range of projects to fight bias.
  • Convening a series of in-depth meetings with civil rights organizations and leaders, in partnership with The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, on the changes Airbnb has been making to the platform in its effort to combat discrimination. This coalition of groups includes human rights, racial justice, LGBTQ, religious, labor, disability and women’s organizations.

This is part of the work we’ve done and it’s just a start. No one organization is going to end racism and discrimination, but we are committed to doing everything we can to promote inclusion and fight discrimination at Airbnb and the broader community. More importantly, we hope you’ll join us. Our work has been aided by members of the Airbnb community who have shared their thoughts and expertise with us and we hope you will continue to send your thoughts and feedback in the future.