We asked 3 Airbnb hosts how they felt about the company banning white supremacists.

Airbnb's decision to issue lifetime bans to users planning to attend a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday is winning the company plenty of fans locally.

The move, which drew immediate scorn from the rally's organizers and "alt-right" sympathizers — earned praise from residents who share their homes on the service.

In conversations with half-a-dozen Airbnb hosts in the Charlottesville area, none said they'd been contacted by members of the rally group, though most said they were relieved that the company was taking steps to ban them. A rally in May, led by writer Richard Spencer, drew over 100 torch-bearing white nationalist activists to the community. A July Ku Klux Klan rally to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue ended when local police intervened to break up clashes between rally-goers and counter-protesters.


"Most of us are on edge because the potential for violence is so great," says Aly B. Snider, who operates two Airbnb listings, including a tiny house and a cottage close to downtown. "Many don't understand why a hate group was given a permit."

City officials expect 400 people at the demonstration, according to the document, though local police have indicated they're preparing for up to 4,000, including counter-protesters.

Snider says that she's grateful the company supports her in refusing to rent to those who want to "come into [the] community and cause problems," though she and others were careful to note they support the group's right to free speech.

Attendees at a July KKK rally in Charlottesville. Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images.

Airbnb host Marybeth, who hadn't heard about the ban, agrees that while AirBnB has the right to ban whoever it wants, the protesters "have the right to peacefully assemble and say things that might offend others." She dismisses the group as a "vocal minority" and feels most of the coverage of the upcoming rally is overblown.

Airbnb recently faced criticism from users for failing to adequately respond to the discriminatory booking practices of some hosts.

A study conducted by three Harvard Business School researchers, published in April, found that potential renters with "black-sounding" names were 16% less likely to be approved for a reservation than identical guests whose names appeared white.

The company hired a director of diversity in 2016 to oversee efforts to review hiring — the room-sharing service's staff, like many in tech, is predominately white — and to help develop measures to prevent booking bias.

Photo by Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images.

Last month, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing fined a host who dismissed an Asian guest with a racially-tinged comment, under a recent agreement with Airbnb that permits the agency to pursue such complaints.

Jason Lappa, a Charlottesville photographer who rents out his upstairs apartment on Airbnb, "fully [supports] the ban," which he attributes to the company's commitment to "community and inclusiveness."

In his view, the white supremacist protesters are simply desperate for attention. "This is their 15 minutes," he says.

Lappa attended and photographed the counter-protest of the July KKK rally — and left with a face full of tear gas after police intervened.

Nevertheless, he says, the brief scuffle failed to rattle the tight-knit community of Charlottesville, which bounced back to normal the following day.

"Nothing was different, people of all backgrounds and colors were doing what they always do, getting coffee, laughing with friends, eating great food, and ultimately, the Klan's presence had a zero sum effect," he says.

He believes Saturday's rally will be "more of the same."

Regardless of how the alt-rightists choose to send their message, they for sure won't be crashing at Lappa's place — soon or ever.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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