Home-sharing company Airbnb announced yesterday (June 1) that it removed a North Carolina-based host from its platform after discovering he used racist language to address a Black prospective guest.
A woman who says she attends Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management with the guest tweeted a screenshot of the guest and host’s interaction via Airbnb’s chat service, which shows that the host used the n-word and other racist language:
My friend and classmate here at Kellogg had a hateful and racist encounter with an @Airbnb host. pic.twitter.com/rFHlwqy5sQ
— Shani C. Taylor (@shanictaylor) May 31, 2016
Airbnb told Buzzfeed News that the host was removed, and the company’s CEO confirmed the move via Twitter:
The incident in NC was disturbing and unacceptable. Racism and discrimination have no place on Airbnb. We have permanently banned this host.
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) June 1, 2016
"The language and conduct are unacceptable and violate both our policies and everything we believe in," a company spokesperson told Buzzfeed. "This host has been removed from Airbnb and we’ve reached out to the guest to offer our full and complete support, including ensuring the guest has a safe place to stay."
The incident surfaced at a time when many have criticized the company for not doing enough to protect guests from racial discrimination. As Buzzfeed News reported in May, a Black man sued the company for not protecting its guests under the Civil Rights and Fair Housing Act. The man’s story was featured in a popular hashtag, #AirbnbWhileBlack, when he successfully booked a room in Philadelphia with two fake profiles (both of which represented him as White) after the same host rejected his original request. Another Black man replicated that experiment with similar results, as he wrote about in a Medium post.