Facing allegations that the company isn’t doing enough to address potentially racially driven rental decisions, Airbnb is adding former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to help the company develop its anti-discrimination policy.
The news of Holder’s addition to Airbnb’s “team” comes courtesy of Bloomberg, which cited a blog post posted Wednesday by Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky.
As Bloomberg reported earlier this year, Airbnb is already the subject of a civil-rights lawsuit, due to the company allegedly ignoring a black man’s complaints that he was denied a rental through Airbnb because of his race.
Airbnb is also facing scrutiny from U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, and Diane Feinstein, D-Calif, who recently asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the impact of Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms on communities’ housing markets.
In their letter, the Democrats also mention the “troubling reports” of racial discrimination on “some short-term rental platforms.”
Now, according to Chesky’s blog, Holder will help Airbnb craft a “world-class anti-discrimination policy.”
Chesky adds that Holder will be working with John Relman, a “leading civil rights attorney and national expert on fair housing and public accommodation issues,” on the policy.
“While we have a policy that prohibits discrimination, we want this policy to be stronger,” Chesky writes. “And we will require everyone who uses our platform to read and certify that they will follow this policy.”
Holder left the Obama administration in 2014 after serving as attorney general for nearly six years.
Holder’s departure left some wondering if the government would no longer seek to mete out punishment for the malfeasance that led to the housing crisis, but under Holder’s replacement, Loretta Lynch, the government secured a $5 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs, among others.
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