Russian Airbnb rival launches tool to warn customers about high numbers of gay people

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A Russian site built to rival Airbnb is warning its users about high numbers of gay people in cities across the country.

My Linker, which claims to offer hundreds of rooms available to rent, set up the tool in protest at Airbnb’s anti-discrimination pledge.

In a statement the site’s owners said Airbnb’s “western model of doing business” was not suitable for Russia because of “differences in mentality”.

“So,” they added, “we decided to do everything possible for owners and guests to have all the necessary information about each other, which allows you to decided whether to take a particular guest or accommodation or not.”

Users visiting the site are able to search for any Russian city, where they will be presented with figures on how many people live in the area.

Speaking to the Russian tabloid Life, creator Rodion Kadyrov said the statistics were a result of a ‘large scale research’.

This allegedly involved comparing internet searches for ‘porn’ and ‘gay porn’ in any given city, and applying the percentages to total population.

“Denying gay people is fine, if we’re talking about the freedom of choice,” he added.

While PinkNews was unable to get past the search page on the site, several users posted pictures to social media showing ‘warnings’ about the high numbers of gay people in different cities.

The news comes after Airbnb forced all users to sign up to an anti-discrimination pledge, after a string of homophobic and racist incidents.

These included a man from Texas who had tried to book a room in Austin, however, was told his booking was cancelled after revealing he was going to pride.

He was told: “No LGBT please, we don’t support people who are against humanity, sorry.”

While the popular online rental service has long banned users who actively discriminate, it recently vowed to implement new tougher policies.

All users must now sign a ‘Community Commitment’, promising to treat everyone “regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age—with respect, and without judgement or bias”.
Those unwilling to sign up will be booted off the service, their bookings cancelled and their rentals de-listed.

Russia, however, has a long history of attacking gay rights, with Moscow Pride banned for a century in 2012 and a gay propaganda law signed up President Putin the year after.

The bill makes it illegal to view straight and gay relationships as equal, as well as forbidding gay rights material.

Just last week the country banned ‘Polar Pride’ due to the law.