As fellow activists protested outside, Ariel Gold snuck into the event and took the stage, disrupting the interview as she held a sign that said "Airbnb hosts apartheid," protesting the company's decision to allow users to list properties in illegal Israeli settlements .
"Our goal was to ensure that conference goers were aware that Airbnb lists homes in illegal settlements built on Palestinian land, and that there is a constituency of human rights activists, including Jewish Americans, that are asking Airbnb to withdraw from the settlements," Naomi Dann, another protestor, told TechCrunch.
Gold was removed by security and arrested for trespassing although she was shortly released. She is a member of CODEPINK, a women-led organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism and supporting peace and human rights initiatives. CODEPINK was also joined by the Stolen Homes coalition as they protested Airbnb.
"According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch, Airbnb, along with other companies that operate in the illegal settlements, has a responsibility to end its complicity in the settlement economy. Failure to do so indicates a tacit endorsement of policies and practices that displace Palestinians, and enables Israel’s incremental annexation of the West Bank," Dann said.
As for its part, Airbnb has said that it follows the law when it comes to where it allows listings and investigates "specific concerns raised about listings and/or discrimination."
Continuing, the company said: "Airbnb is based on trust and we depend on hosts and guests to be transparent with one another. Hosts determine how their listing is described and we urge all hosts to provide accurate information about where their listing is located so guests know what to expect. We also encourage guests to communicate with their host about their listing long before a trip begins."