AirBnB Threatens Ken Kurson

Journalist Ken Kurson bought Airbnbisracist.com – and now Airbnb.com is threatening to sue him.  Kurson bought the site after the company’s racist decision to remove listings for homes in “Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank.”

Seems like an activist response to big business – and his right to do so.

Kurson wrote about his rationale here, noting “Since its founding a decade ago, Airbnb has frequently been accused of racism. A 2015 Harvard Business School study concluded that “guests with distinctively African-American names are 16% less likely to be accepted relative to identical guests with distinctively White names.” The persistent problem actually seemed to worsen after that attention with story after story of guests being turned away because they were black or black (again) or black (again) or Jewish or Muslim or Asian or Asian(again) or just for no reason at all. The hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack became a thing and summer of 2016, the company fielded so many complaints that it hired former Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder to create a more effective anti-discrimination policy.

 

On November 19, Airbnb announced that it would no longer allow listings in the West Bank. A petition by StandWithUs Israel pointed out that Airbnb’s “decision applies only to Jewish communities and not Palestinian ones, despite the fact that the final status of the territory remains under dispute and must be decided in peace negotiations. Furthermore, Airbnb continues to operate in Kashmir, Tibet, Northern Cyprus, Western Sahara, South Osetia, and other conflict zones.”

Kurson – a confidant of Jared Kushner – isn’t one to back down easily and wrote back to the company. “I intend to defend my First Amendment right to develop airbnbisracist.com. And now I can only wonder ifairbnbisracistandabigfatbully.com is available.”

Kurson told me today he won’t back down. He’s right – any business which discriminates against Israel is racist.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.

Filed Under: BusinessJewish business News

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