An Airbnb host in Washington DC outed his guests for storming the US Capitol.
Thousands of pro-Trump extremists descended upon the federal building on January 6 – however, not all of them were local to the nation’s capital city. Many had travelled to participate in the riot, and ergo, needed a place to stay after a long day of taking part in an insurrection.
One man, named Paul, thought he had an innocent, everyday guest in his Columbia Heights home, about an hour away from the Washington Monument. Soon, he realised he was hosting a rioter.
As told to the New York Magazine’s Intelligencer, the South Carolina woman, named only as Melissa, told Paul she was coming through for a ‘history sight-seeing trip’. At this point, despite reports of a protest happening that same week, Paul didn’t think she’d be part of it.
Also, as a ‘a die-hard Democrat and a supporter of American democracy generally’, he didn’t think it was his place to criticise if she was. Melissa eventually arrived on January 5 with seven others, giving Paul no immediate cause for alarm.
Then, on the morning of January 6, he saw them head towards the Capitol armed with MAGA flags. ‘Oh f*ck, I’ve got a problem,’ he thought. As the day’s chaotic events ensued, leading to the deaths of five people, he was worried about his guests coming back. Airbnb’s customer service was of no use at this point either.
As he kept an eye on his home’s cameras, he watched as one guest returned and said on the phone: ‘We stormed the Capitol, we got inside of it… Trump said we’re gonna march over to the Capitol Building… and we’re going to tell them what’s been happening. To be honest, they deserved it.’
Paul soon went to a friend’s house to stay for the night, but having no luck getting in touch with Airbnb, he sent his footage to the FBI in the hope of getting his guests arrested. Fortunately, the company has since confirmed it’s ‘suspended the guest pending a thorough investigation’.
He also left a strongly-worded review of his guests, which read:
When Melissa booked my Airbnb, she claimed it was for a ‘history sight seeing trip’ but instead she and her guests made history by participating in the most horrific attack on our democracy at the Capitol building on January 6, 2021.
She and her guests returned after the riot and bragged in front of my house, captured on my Ring doorbell, ‘I was there … I didn’t want to get involved as much as I did but to be honest they deserved it.’ A Capitol Police officer was murdered and four of the rioters lost their lives. I wouldn’t recommend renting to Melissa.
Later, Airbnb inexplicably granted Melissa’s request that the review be rescinded. He phoned the company, exclaiming: ‘How the f*ck are you gonna let her rescind her review when I have evidence of this person participating in an attack on the Capitol?’
Following the siege, Airbnb released a statement which read: ‘As we’ve learned through media or law enforcement sources the names of individuals confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity at the United States Capitol on January 6, we’ve investigated whether the named individuals have an account on Airbnb.’
It added: ‘Through this work, we have identified numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building, and they have been banned from Airbnb’s platform.’
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