by Caroline O'Donovan
Originally published: July 26, 2016
Airbnb will co-host a civil rights event with BET at the Democratic National Convention, less than a week after hiring former US Attorney General Eric Holder to help fix the site’s racial discrimination problem.
Airbnb — a company in the throes of a public crisis over racial discrimination — will co-host a press event and panel on civil rights with BET at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday morning, as it seeks to address an onslaught of criticism (and a lawsuit) charging that it has done too little to address housing discrimination on its platform.
The event is intended to honor the efforts of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party during the 1964 Democratic National Convention, when it opposed the all-white Democratic delegation from Mississippi. It features Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, who recently portrayed civil rights era L.B.J. for HBO. It follows a presentation of new polling data “regarding the 2016 Presidential race and the sharing economy” from Uber strategy adviser (and former Obama administration campaign boss) David Plouffe, and Airbnb policy head (and former Clinton aide) Chris Lehane.
Airbnb told BuzzFeed News the idea of co-hosting an event with BET has been in the works for seven months. A spokesperson for BET said “there is a lot of synergy between both companies” and said they’ve been discussing the idea since 2012. It’s opportune timing.