Protester assails Ashton Kutcher over West Bank rentals
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Protester assails Ashton Kutcher over West Bank rentals

At Airbnb event, actor defends settlement listings, says ‘this company is about bringing people together’

A protester against Airbnb's listing of West Bank settlement rentals during an interview with Ashton Kutcher at Airbnb Open in Los Angeles. November 19, 2016 (Screen capture: YouTube)
A protester against Airbnb's listing of West Bank settlement rentals during an interview with Ashton Kutcher at Airbnb Open in Los Angeles. November 19, 2016 (Screen capture: YouTube)

American actor Ashton Kutcher was assailed by a protester during an Airbnb event who complained that the company lets West Bank settlers list their homes for rent through its website.

Kutcher, an adherent of the Kabbalah movement who is married to Jewish actress Mila Kunis, was an early investor in Airbnb, the short-term rental website. He spoke Saturday along with company CEO Brian Chesky at the Airbnb Open conference in Los Angeles.

During the presentation, Code Pink activist Ariel Gold stormed the stage and demanded to know why Airbnb allows residents in West Bank settlements to list their homes through the site, saying it is supporting illegal activity, New York Post’s Page Six reported.

“People should come before profits,” Gold told Page Six. “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,” she said.

With Gold on stage, Kutcher said, according to Page Six: “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,” he said.

An Airbnb spokesperson told Page Six that “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.” The spokesman pointed out that guests can leave detailed feedback on the Airbnb website.

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