Publicity campaign claiming Manchester bomber stayed at Airbnb causes outrage

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A New York based hotel lobbying group has released an advert wrongly implying that the Manchester bomber stayed at an Airbnb before the attack.

Tensions are escalating

Tensions are escalating
kzenon/123RF

The Hotel Association of New York City (HANY) along with workers unions have long been in competition with Airbnb, regularly criticizing and attempting to discredit the company. However, with their new ad campaign they have managed to reach a new low.

HANY, along with a workers union, has funded an advert blaming the rental service for indirectly enabling terrorist attacks because they do not run sufficient background checks.

In May this year, Salman Ramadan Abedi detonated a shrapnel-laden homemade bomb in Manchester Arena where popstar Ariana Grande was performing. The attack killed 22 people, 10 of whom were under 20 years old and over 100 people were injured.

While he did reportedly stay in a rental home, it was not booked through Airbnb.

The advert also states that Airbnb refuses to release the addresses of the 40,000 apartments it features on its website to law enforcement. This too is not true because Airbnb does comply with authorities in big cities like Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans.

Airbnb have angrily denied the claims. The public policy director Josh Meltzer responded with a letter addressed to several members of HANY including the CEOs. He wrote:

"First and foremost, Airbnb had nothing to do with this tragedy, and using these attacks in a cynical corporate PR campaign is despicable. Your company and the front groups you fund may oppose Airbnb and middle class people who share their homes, but using a global terrorist attack to protect your bottom line is beyond the pale and should have no place in any civil discourse."

The spokesman Peter Schottenfels has also made a statement, speaking to the press he said the ad is "an outrageous scare tactic by big hotels who themselves have a long history of lodging people who engage in acts of terror."

He added: "The fact is Airbnb had nothing to do with the tragic events in Manchester and we are one of the only hospitality companies that runs background checks on all US residents, both hosts and guests."

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Xenia Evans
Posted on 04/08/2017 1 share
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