The new controversial Airbnb logo — called a bélo — hovered behind CEO Brian Chesky and TechCrunch reporter Ryan Lawler during their Disrupt interview Tuesday.
“What body part does this look like to you?” Lawler asked Chesky Tuesday, drawing laughs from the crowd.
“I think it’s an ear,” Chesky responded. “I guess it’s whatever you’re thinking about.”
“A lot of people have very dirty minds then,” Lawler said.
The logo, released in July, incurred the spite of the Internet, which called it a sexual Rorschach Test, NSFW and obscene. People couldn’t believe Airbnb hadn’t realized its suggestive shape resembled a certain human body part before they released it to the public.
On stage at Disrupt, Chesky admitted that some Airbnb staff had pointed out the similarities between genitalia and the bélo. It didn’t wind up changing the decision to use the logo because ultimately the Airbnb team “fell in love” with it and were willing to overlook its potential problems. To them, it signified first and foremost feelings of belonging – with its similarities to an upside down heart.
Furthermore, Chesky said Airbnb’s main goal was to make people forget the old logo, which they did in the uproar over the new one. “We wanted to become part of this social conversation, a part of pop culture and, the week we launched this, we were,” Chesky said.