Following President Donald Trump’s implementation of travel restrictions to seven predominately Muslim countries in what he cites as a stand against terrori, Airbnb has spoken out strongly against the ban and offered free accommodation to refugees affected.
Brian Chesky, Co-founder and CEO of Airbnb went onto Twitter condemning the policy that was officially announced at the Pentagon ceremony on 27 January 2017. Chesky is one of the many voices that made up the backlash that Trump’s administration has received since the ban’s enforcement, which will see the temporary suspension of immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
“Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not righ and we must stand with those who are affected. Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US. Stay tuned for more, contact me if in urgent need for housing,” Chesky said.
Protests erupted at JFK Airport in New York amidst what has been described as chaos at American airports due to dozens of families and travellers being denied entry into the country. For an hour, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance also joined the protests by refusing to transport travellers. It is reported that during this time, Uber lowered it’s fares by eliminating surge prices, capitalising on the protest’s service halt. Uber subsequently faced the brunt of customers who began to delete the popular app from their phones, under a #DeleteUber campaign on social media.
“The decision to turn off surge pricing was made specifically to avoid profiting from increased demand during the protest. The company has previously made a similar commitment to limiting surge pricing during disasters, after being accused of taking advantage of riders in times of need,” responded a Uber spokesperson following negative public response.
Two days after Trump’s announcement, Chief Executive Officer of Starbucks Corp, Howard Schultz also announced the company’s plans to hire 10 000 refugees in 75 countries over a 5-year period. In a letter to employees, Schultz expressed the company’s commitment to do all it can to support affected employees, and has also confirmed its commitment to trade with Mexico.
In what appears to be the White House’s reverse course on the policy, where it subsequently indicated that immigrants in possession of green cards would not be affected by the ban – Trump shared a statement on Sunday insisting that the ban was not in relation to religion, but an effort to keep America safe.