Pro Airbnb event in the Capitol turns ugly

Legislative Gazette photo by David Tregaskis
Actor Danny Glover was in the state Capitol Tuesday to support home sharing services such as Airbnb. A rally he attended turned hostile when protesters disrupted Glover, state legislators and other speakers.

An event intended to raise support for home sharing services in New York City descended into chaos on Tuesday as actor and Airbnb spokesman Danny Glover stepped up to the podium.

After being introduced by Assemblyman Joe Lentol, D-North Brooklyn, a protester began shouting questions towards Glover, sparking an argument. The protesters are thought to be hotel union workers.

Shouting continued to build as additional protesters joined in, drowning out attempts by Glover to speak. Glover then turned his attention towards the protesters, yelling back and pointing at them.

Minister Kirsten John Foy, northeast regional director of the National Action Network and Airbnb supporter, got into his own shouting match with a protester.

“You’re being pimped! You’re being pimped!” Foy said.

The 71-year-old Lethal Weapon star left the podium soon after. On his way out, Glover and a protester found themselves in a tense altercation, pointing fingers and yelling at each other from only inches away.

Protesters accused Glover of undermining blue collar hotel workers by supporting Airbnb, saying that and similar home sharing providers take profits, and jobs, away from traditional hotels.

“How much are you payed, Glover?” one protester yelled from behind the press. 

The event was intended to raise support for bill S.7182/A.7520 which would legalize unhosted, short-term rentals in Class A multiple dwellings in New York City and provide mechanisms for tax collection on short term rentals throughout the state.