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Former Attorney General Hired by Airbnb to Help Draft Anti-Discrimination Policy

Former United States Attorney General Eric Holder has been hired as an advisor by Airbnb to help devise the company's new anti-discrimination policy.

In December, a Harvard study (pdf) found that it was harder for people with African-American-sounding names than others to rent rooms through Airbnb's home-sharing service. Since then, the company has faced repeated accusations from African-American and transgender travelers, who say they were rejected by Airbnb hosts. 

Some hosts have since been removed from the service, but Airbnb has nevertheless been hit with a class-action lawsuit claiming the company has violated civil-rights laws relating to housing discrimination. Airbnb argues that the suit shouldn't go forward because the plaintiffs waived their rights to sue when they accepted the company's terms of use. 

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Adding Holder to the committee tasked with writing a new anti-discrimination policy gives it a higher profile and signals that the company is serious about getting past the controversy. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky wrote in a blog post that fighting bigotry is "the greatest challenge we face as a company." 

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