Cape Town - The global online accommodation sharing platform Airbnb has banned a host for life after refusing to allow an Asian guest accommodation, because of her race.
A video of the distraught Airbnb guest, Dyne Suh, went viral after the travelling party was literally locked out of their paid-for accommodation, all while a blizzard was raging.
The host's response to their agony? "One word says it all,” the host wrote in an Airbnb message to the would-be guest, minutes before their arrival. “Asian.”
The group of friends were on their way to a ski breakaway in Big Bear, California when the host turned hostile and refused their entry into the accommodation.
She wrote, "You must be high if you think that that would be OK in the busiest weekend in Big Bear. No, we’re done," she said and cancelled the trip.
"I wouldn’t rent to u if u were the last person on earth,” the host continued. “One word says it all. Asian.”
The Big Bear host also references the new US President Donald Trump in her racist rant against Suh. After refusing to let Suh and her friends stay in her Airbnb rental allegedly because of race, the host continues saying "It's why we have Trump".
As a South African traveller, have you ever experienced blatant racism while using the Airbnb platform? Let us know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Facebook or Twitter.
Take a look at the travellers' ordeal below -
Call for discrimination to end
An Airbnb spokesperson told Traveller24 that the host's behavior is "abhorrent and unacceptable," and counter-productive to what the brand stands for.
"We have worked to provide the guest with our full support and in line with our non-discrimination policy, this host has been permanently removed from the Airbnb platform," the spokesperson says.
In a follow-up Facebook post on 9 April, Suh too urged her friends and followers to consider the discrimination others face on a regular basis.
"I want nothing but for discrimination to come to an end," she wrote, "through more people coming forward, through more people listening, and most importantly, for all of us to come together, and DO SOMETHING."
You can read the full post here -
Fighting recurring racism
This is not the first time Airbnb has come under the spotlight for racism.
In September last year, Airbnb apologised for its slow response to accusations of racism and outlined new policies to combat the problem, including reducing the prominence of photos in the booking process.
The accommodation giants' apology came after other, alternative booking sites like Innclusive.com and Noirbnb.com had already sprouted up in defiance against Airbnb's lacklustre approach to the infringement of human rights.
SEE: #AirbnbWhileBlack: See Airbnb's new anti-racism policies as Noirbnb takes off
Shortly after, the group launched a new discrimination rule for all guests and hosts, stating that hosts must "commit 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."
READ: Airbnb issues NEW discrimination rule for all guests and hosts
As part of Airbnb's September announcement, they also shared their new Open Doors policy. Under this policy, if a guest is not able to book a listing because they have been discriminated against, Airbnb will ensure the guest finds a place to stay.
The Airbnb team does this by providing timely, 24/7, personalized, hands-on support from a specially trained Airbnb employee who will help the guest find a place to stay on Airbnb.
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