This guy.With revelations that the multi-billion dollar company Airbnb has removed at least 25% of available units from housing markets, Portlanders have decided to redirect at least 25% of their antipathy for Californians to one particular Californian: Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky.
“I don’t want to be harsh, but the guy’s singe-handedly evicted thousand of people and put unbearable financial pressure on families. Does that make him a douchebag? Well, yeah,” said Dan Caruthers, a long-time Portland resident who was recently “Airbnb’d” from his apartment by an absentee landlord.
Former Alberta Arts District resident Rob Weaver addressed “the cruel ironic dichotomy” between what Airbnb does to people, and the values that Brian Chesky claims to believe.
“Here’s what that sonofabitch Brian Chesky said, ‘Belonging is the idea that defines Airbnb.’ Like we don’t all know that belonging is a basic human need in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs. What does Brian Chesky belong to? The NYSE and the billionaire’s club? I’m glad he feels like he belongs because I just had to move to Beaverton. Belonging. Can you believe it? It’s so Orwellian.”
Many Portlanders expressed relief at having a specific Californian at which to aim their antipathy.
“Being anti-Californian felt so nebulous before,” said Melody Bridges of the Laurelhurst neighborhood. “For example, some jogger might startle me on the sidewalk while I was walking my dog, and I’d scream, ‘Go back to California, bitch!’ I didn’t even know for sure they were from California. But now I know that I should be screaming at Brian Chesky—at least 25 percent of the time.”
“I think we should direct more than 25% of our antipathy toward Brian Chesky and Airbnb,” said George Couch, chef at McMenamins. “Think about it. Taking such a huge chunk of housing off the market affects 100% of the people here in direct and indirect ways. Tens of thousands of people are getting displaced from all these cities all over the country. People are coming to Oregon from everywhere—Washington, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, you name it. So I think our antipathy for California is overstated. But the damage done to people by Airbnb is actually difficult to overstate.”