Protester Storms Ashton Kutcher’s Panel At Airbnb Talk, Kutcher Defends The CEO Of Airbnb
Ashton Kutcher was interrupted by a demonstrator protesting Airbnb’s home-rental practices in West Bank, according to Page Six. The protester, a woman named Ariel Gold, climbed onto the stage and said Airbnb was responsible for illegal activity in allowing residents in West Bank settlements to list their homes through their rental website. Gold is a member of CODEPINK, a women-led grassroots organization that supports peace and human rights initiatives, according to the International Business Times.
— Schrödinger's Asian (@SDKe17) November 20, 2016
A panel boasting of Ashton Kutcher was shocked by the protestor who took over the stage during the high-profile Airbnb event, according to the International Business Times.
Kutcher, 38, was in the middle of a discussion with Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky when he told Gold, “You actually don’t have the stage.”
Dressed in a pink, many in the crowd booed as she held a poster bearing the slogan “Airbnb Out of Settlements.” The group’s hashtag was boldly written on the bottom of the protest poster, which referred to Airbnb’s activity in Israel.
— David Mercer (@DavidMercerSky) November 20, 2016
The Jobs actor defended the company and its CEO.
“And I know this man. I know his heart, I know his initiative, and I know that when a problem gets brought to his desk, that says that there is discrimination or this is a displacement, that he cares. And that the first thing that he does is try to look at the system holistically and change it to make it better.”
Kutcher ended his speech with by extending an invitation to Gold to sit with him and converse more. He then received many loud accolades from the crowd. Kutcher is also an investor in Airbnb, according to People.
“You’re welcome to a world where we all belong. And if you want to sit down and have a conversation about it, I’m happy to have that conversation with you.”
Gold was not convinced by Kutcher’s words and told Page Six, “People should come before profits.”
“So it’s time for Airbnb to stop profiting from Israel’s settlement enterprise and the human rights abuses Palestinians live under every day of their lives.”
Kutcher previously discussed his idea of a world without borders to People magazine.
“We all can belong in a world together without borders. I can appreciate that this doesn’t happen seamlessly… I can appreciate that it does not happen easily. I can appreciate that where there is change, there will be a fringe case that feels objectified. But this company is about bringing people together.”
In a statement released to Page Six later that day, an Airbnb spokesperson discussed the company’s business practices.
“We follow laws on where we can do business and we investigate specific concerns raised about listings and/or discrimination.”
The Airbnb spokesperson reaffirmed:
“Airbnb is based on trust and we depend on hosts and guests to be transparent with one another. Hosts determine how their listing is described and we urge all hosts to provide accurate information about where their listing is located so guests know what to expect. We also encourage guests to communicate with their host about their listing long before a trip begins.
Following a stay at an Airbnb listing, hosts and guests rate one another and hold each other accountable. Guests can leave detailed feedback that is available to the public, including information about where the listing is located and whether it was accurately described by the host.”
Ashton holds Airbnb close to his heart. During Ashton’s presentation, he told Brian Chesky that it was the kindness of a stranger that changed his perspective on human relationships, according to People.
— People (@people) November 20, 2016
“I went to Europe and I flew in and got in in the middle of the night… I arrived at the Airbnb at 2 a.m. The person had left me dinner and a glass of wine.”
The place to rest was just what Kutcher needed after ending a long-term relationship with Demi Moore and losing his home.
“It was… the magic and the love that I needed in that moment… I was shocked that someone would care that much about a total stranger.”
Kutcher’s wife, Mila Kunis, gave birth to their daughter, Wyatt Isabelle, in 2014. The couple married in July of 2015.
[Featured Image by Michael Kovac/Stringer/Getty Images]