Imagine if you’re a white supremacist who is trying to get to the nation’s capital for this weekend’s “Unite the Right” rally, which is on the one-year anniversary of last year’s disaster in Charlottesville, Va. The second you get there, you can’t get to the event because neither Uber nor Lyft will pick you up and AirBnB won’t host you.
Welp…that’s likely the case this weekend as ride share drivers – many of who are Black and brown – are planning to let anyone in town with their MAGA hats, Confederate flags, and TIKI torches figure out how to get around on their own.
The Washington Post is reporting that a number of Uber message boards show drivers musing about how they will sit out the rally. Uber People, a primary message board for Uber and Lyft drivers, has been home to a number of messages from drivers discussing how they plan to avoid the rally and any one who wants a ride to get there.
“Stay away from Foggy Bottom this Sunday,” one poster said.
“The surge will be wild,” another person on the message board says. “I’m gonna sit this one out though.”
Uber and Lyft have acknowledged the concerns of the drivers and have each stood behind their policies that it’s the driver’s discretion whether to pick anyone up.
“Regardless of event, drivers are advised to follow all local laws but have the right to refuse service to riders who are disrespectful or who make them feel unsafe,” Uber said in a message to its drivers. Lyft spokeswoman, Darcy Yee, had a similar statement for their drivers.
“Safety comes first. If they ever feel uncomfortable or disrespected by a passenger, they can cancel that ride,” Yee said.
Also, even if some of the racists can find a ride, they might have a tough time finding a place to stay as AirBnB will likely cancel the reservations of those attending the rally.
“We seek to take appropriate action, which may include removing them from the platform,” AirBnB spokesperson, Nick Papas told the Washingtonian. “We acted in advance of last year’s horrific event in Charlottesville and if we become aware of similar information we won’t hesitate to do so again.”
Last year, the company quietly ejected an undisclosed number of users associated with the white supremacist march. The District also considered separate Metro trains for those attending the rally, but chose against it, as transit union members said it would amount to giving special treatment to the white supremacists.