Airbnb just aired a Super Bowl ad promoting a message of diversity and acceptance, ending with the statement that “the world is more beautiful the more you accept.” CEO Brian Chesky also tweeted a reference to the commercial, as well as an announcement that the company is aiming to provide short-term housing for 100,000 refugees, disaster survivors, and other displaced people over the next five years. Additionally, Airbnb will donate $4 million to the International Rescue Committee over the next four years.
The ad’s message is of course politically charged in the context of Silicon Valley’s response to President Trump’s immigration ban, but Airbnb itself also has its reasons for wanting to portray an image of diversity — research has suggested that some Airbnb hosts discriminate by not accepting black guests based on their names, and that non-black hosts are able to charge more on average.
“We couldn’t talk about the lack of acceptance in the world without pointing out the challenges in our own community at Airbnb,” the company acknowledges in its announcement. “The painful truth is that guests on Airbnb have experienced discrimination, something that is the very opposite of our values. We know we have work to do and are dedicated to achieving greater acceptance in our community."