Airbnb Banned A Host For Racist Comments Sent To A Potential Guest, Thank God
Airbnb has become a great alternative to the typical hotel stay for travelers around the world. Users are able to list their properties, as well as find cool accommodations to crash in during their jet-setting adventures. In theory, there’s nothing to bummed about. But not all interactions people have on the website are positive. A racist Airbnb host was recently banned from the website after he sent a string of derogatory messages to a potential guest. Shani Taylor took to Twitter to share a screenshot of the n-word-laden remarks sent to her classmate (who wished to remain anonymous), reportedly by Charlotte, North Carolina host Todd Warner, in the hopes that it would catch the attention of the company’s customer service account.
Airbnb quickly took action on Twitter and responded to Shani’s tweets to let her know that action was being taken behind the scenes. However, the specifics of what happened were not immediately released for privacy reasons. As the post started going viral, there was a push to have the host permanently banned from the website. Airbnb’s spokesperson, Nick Papas, released a statement and confirmed the racist host would be banned from the website.
Once again, the internet worked like it’s supposed to and got some form of justice. A host like this is not only an internet harasser, but also a potential danger to guests. What would happen if a black guest showed? Would he have caused them physical harm? There isn’t a clear answer, but the possibility is scary.
WOW OK. Another friend of the victim, Alicia, posted more photos of the entire conversation. In the photos, it is clear that the reservation was accepted, and the host was being cordial to the guest until he discovered she was black. The guest calmly replied and told him to stop messaging her or she would report him, but he continued to lash out with racial slurs. Alicia also posted a short Q&A with the anonymous woman to shed light on how the incident affected her. The Airbnb user said:
“I thought it was a joke at first, a sick one at that. So I had to read through it a couple of times. Then I just cried. I guess I was overwhelmed with the thought of what could have happened if I moved in without him finding out I was black? Would he have assaulted me physically or verbally etc? I just didn’t feel safe anymore.”
Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky responded to the incident on Twitter, writing: “The incident in NC was disturbing and unacceptable. Racism and discrimination have no place on Airbnb. We have permanently banned this host.”
Black users have a history dealing with this sort of racist nonsense. The hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack was created by 23-year-old Quirtina Crittenden in response to her frustrating experience with Airbnb hosts. She would get a room and keep getting declined for suspicious reasons (“Oh, it’s already booked”) only to find out that the dates were still available. Crittenden began to think her race had something to do with the rejections and found out she wasn’t the only black person with this problem.
Airbnb, which requires users to have their names and photos displayed, became the subject of more than a few not-so-great stories from Twitter users about similar experiences. Other African-Americans suggested that Crittenden change her photo to not include her face and shorten her name to “Tina.” Unfortunately, that wouldn’t address the underlying problem.
Perhaps this incident will be yet another wake-up call for the people who believe #AirbnbWhileBlack isn’t real, as well as for the people at Airbnb to keep fighting against racial bias on their website.