May 10, 2021

Uber, Lyft, DC restaurants to ban ‘Unite the Right’ rally participants; Twitter suspends numerous far-Right accounts.

White supremacists and white nationalists heading to Washington, D.C., for Sunday’s second Unite the Right rally may have trouble finding a way to get there or a place to eat, according to reports.

In preparation for the rally near the White House, Uber and Lyft told drivers they have a right to kick a passenger out of car if they are harassed or threatened, The Washington Post reported.

At the same time, the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington sent out a toolkit informing restaurateurs of their legal rights to refuse service to white nationalists and other political fringe groups, The Washingtonian reported.

Meantime, Twitter suspended numerous accounts associated with the Proud Boys, a controversial group of right-wing chauvinists on Friday on the eve of the anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, the Guardian reported.

Previously, Airbnb threatened to ban users who participate in the rally, Fox News reported.

“When we identify and determine that there are those who would be pursuing behavior on the Airbnb platform that would be antithetical to the Airbnb Community Commitment, we seek to take appropriate action, which may include removing them from the platform,” the company confirmed in a statement shared with Fox News.

Rally organizer, Jason Kessler, obtained a permit for Lafayette Park across from the White House. He expects 400 supporters to show up.

The first “Unite The Right” rally was held in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12, 2017, and resulted in violent clashes between white supremacists and counter protesters. One person was killed when a white supremacist drove into a crowd of counter protesters.

Uber recently sent a message to its drivers in the Washington region, reminding them of community guidelines — and eject a fare who is harassing or threatening, The Post reported.

“Regardless of event, drivers are advised to follow all local laws but have the right to refuse service to riders who are disrespectful or who make them feel unsafe,” the message from Uber said.

Lyft drivers received similar instructions, the paper reported

The Washingtonian interviewed several restaurant owners who said they are threatening to refuse service to those participating in the rally–or planning to close altogether.

“Our mentality is we’re going to protect each other. This is our city. Our house. Our people,” Founding Farmers owner Dan Simons told the magazine.

“There are times when a guest can be rude to an employee and you swap out the server. We’ve told our team: this isn’t what that is. You don’t have to be in a room with someone who’s advocating for your death and enslavement,” he added. 

Ellen Kassoff Gray, owner of Equinox restaurant near the White House, also said she would refuse to serve those who espouse hate.

“I’ll proudly stay open and serve those who’re respectful and kind. But being a Jewish restaurant owner and having a pro-Nazi group come to town, would I refuse service? Yes, I would,” Kassoff Gray told The Washingtonian.

Alan Popovsky, owner of Lincoln restaurant, said the restaurant will be open for Sunday brunch then close for dinner altogether, according to the magazine.

As far as the Proud Boys, verified accounts belonging to the group and its founder, Gavin McInnes, were suspended for violating Twitter’s policy against “violent extremist groups,” according to the Guardian.

A number of non-verified accounts for various Proud Boys chapters were also suspended, the paper reported.