By Sarah Lafen
Impunity Watch Desk Reporter, North America
WASHINGTON D.C., United States — An Airbnb host in California was banned from the company after cancelling a guest’s reservation at the last minute based on the guest’s race. Dyne Suh, a 25-year old law student at the University of California, Los Angeles, recently posted pictures to her Facebook account earlier this week that showed a message conversation with an Airbnb host who refused to rent to her because of she was Asian.
Suh and her fiancé booked an Airbnb residence in Big Bear Lake, California for February 2017. After conversing with the host about adding two additional guests, Suh messaged the host to inform her that the group was close to the residence when the host started “spewing racism.”
One message from the host read “I wouldn’t rent to u if u were the last person on earth,” and another “One word says it all: Asian.” Suh told the host that she would report the comments to Airbnb, and the host responded “It’s why we have Trump.” The host also said that she would “not allow this country to be told what to do by foreigners.”
Suh has participated in anti-Trump events in the past, however asserts that this incident was unprovoked. She said that for her to “now have someone say something racist to [her] and say it’s because of Trump, it was [her] fears coming true.” Suh believes that people who previously held these beliefs now feel “emboldened” to speak them. She commented that “[n]o matter how well [she] treat[s] others, if you’re Asian you’re less than human, and people can treat you like trash.”
A spokesperson for Airbnb told reporters that the host has been permanently removed from the company. Airbnb also wrote in an email that “[that] behavior is abhorrent and unacceptable.” Last year, Airbnb conducted a comprehensive review of the company and found that “minorities struggle more than others to book a listing.” This finding caused the company to implement a new policy which requires all hosts to treat all guests “with respect.” The new policy explains that “no matter who you are, where you are from, or where you travel, you should be able to belong in the Airbnb community.”
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