Airbnb takes down controversial ads after offending San Francisco residents


Airbnb campaign

Martha Kenney

Airbnb is removing controversial ads that offered alternate suggestions as to what the city could do with the money Airbnb pays in hotel tax. 

Some of the ads offered funny San Francisco-centric suggestions, like having public works build escalators on the city's steepest hills.

But other ads offended San Francisco residents. One letter to the public library system said it should be spending Airbnb's tax money on staying open later. 

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"Had you donated that $8 million you spent fighting Proposition F directly to the public libraries you love so much, that could have made a bigger difference. Oh well. Hindsight is 20/20!" said San Francisco State University professor Martha Kenney in her Facebook post.

Another ad, posted on a city bus stop, suggested that the city should be feeding expired parking meters. (We're not sure why.)


Airbnb confirmed to Business Insider that it was taking down the ads after they were posted this morning, and the campaign was not run using the $8 million it had given to political groups to fight proposed legislation. 

 "The intent was to show the hotel tax contribution from our hosts and guests, which is roughly $1 million per month. It was the wrong tone and we apologize to anyone who was offended. These ads are being taken down immediately," said Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty. 

Among the ads' suggestions for what to do with the money Airbnb pays in hotel taxes:

 Here's another pic:

Airbnb ad