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Airbnb Hires Eric Holder To Help Combat Discrimination On Platform

FILE - In this March 4, 2015, file photo, then-Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the Justice Department in Washington. (
FILE - In this March 4, 2015, file photo, then-Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the Justice Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, July 20 (Reuters) - Airbnb said on Wednesday it hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to help craft its anti-discrimination policy to combat discrimination occurring on the home-sharing company’s platform.

Airbnb, which allows private homeowners, or “hosts,” on the site to rent apartments and houses on a short-term basis, has received complaints of discrimination based on race, gender and sexual orientation.

“While we have a policy that prohibits discrimination, we want this policy to be stronger,” Airbnb Chief Executive Brian Chesky said in a blog post announcing the hiring of Holder.

Holder, the first African American to hold the position of U.S. Attorney General, will be working with John Relman, a civil rights attorney and authority “on fair housing and public accommodation issues,” Chesky said.

In June, Holder wrote to lawmakers on behalf of ride-hailing service Uber to argue against the use of fingerprint-based background checks as they consider how to regulate ride-hailing service drivers.

Airbnb has said that discrimination occurring on its platform is the biggest challenge facing the company. Last month, the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack trended heavily on Twitter in the United States, serving as a forum for black travelers to share experiences of racial discrimination from white Airbnb hosts. (Additional reporting by Heather Sommerville in San Francisco)

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