ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Danny Glover was shouted down at a rally for Airbnb hosts Tuesday in the New York state Capitol when activists working on behalf of a union for hotel workers infiltrated the event and began heckling the 71-year-old actor.
Glover had just began speaking at the rally when the protesters began yelling over him, accusing the longtime liberal activist of betraying minorities and the poor by working as a paid adviser to Airbnb. One heckler noted the effort was organized by the Hotel Trades Council, a leading opponent of Airbnb.
“You used to be on the right side!” one heckler yelled.
Glover, the star of the “Lethal Weapon” series, tried to continue his remarks but left the rally as the shouting continued.
Tuesday’s pro-Airbnb rally, which featured several dozen Airbnb hosts, was called to support legislation that would ease state regulations on the popular home rental website.
The company’s critics say Airbnb is reducing housing options and driving up costs as landlords chose short-term Airbnb users over long-term tenants. The Hotel Trades Council also is opposed to what it sees as unfair competition.
Two years ago, under pressure from the union, the Legislature and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed some of the toughest rules for short-term rentals in the nation, making it illegal to rent out an entire apartment in a multi-unit building for less than 30 days. Officials in New York City were given the power to impose hefty fines on violators.
The legislation now pending before lawmakers — and supported by Airbnb — would roll back many of those rules and impose new regulations, including a ban prohibiting anyone from listing more than one property on the website.
“Airbnb is everywhere in the world,” said state Sen. John Bonacic, R-Orange County and the sponsor of the bill in the Senate. “Why can’t it be successful in New York?”