Airbnb announces ban on slave cabin rentals

APRIL 27, 2019 – LOUISIANA, USA – Old slave cabins on St. Joseph Plantation, Vacherie, Louisiana

In a long-awaited announcement, Airbnb says they will no longer allow people to list properties that were previously used to house slaves, for example. News. During the summer, a TikTok exposing a list of slave cabins in Mississippi has gone viral. From now on, all listings related to slavery will be removed from the rental site.

The new policy states that all announcement of a residence on a plantation “if structures that existed during the time of slavery are still present on the property” will be demolished, according to the report. In addition, any structure constructed for the purpose of to house enslaved persons will be excluded from future listings and renters will not have the right to use the “slave-related featuresas a marketing tool. This means more “comfortable cabin with charming historical”. Ben Breit, a spokesperson for Airbnb, told BuzzFeed they were being actively removed.

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The site-wide ban follows news anti-discrimination initiative called Project Lighthouse.

“Discrimination and bias unfortunately happens in our world, so it can play out on platforms like Airbnb – and that’s unacceptable to us. We want everyone to feel safe and welcome using our platform. We believe you can’t fix what you don’t measure, so we’re using Project Lighthouse to help us uncover disparities between perceived racial groups and inform our work to make Airbnb fairer for people of color,” said Janaye Ingram, Airbnb Director of Programs and Community Partner Engagement.

Learn more about the Buzzfeed News policy:

Evan Feeney, deputy senior campaign manager for Color of Change, said Airbnb’s new policy is an “industry-leading ban on the glorification and commercialization of slavery” that they hope other vacation rental platforms will follow suit. Color of Change first contacted Airbnb in 2019 about plantations where people were enslaved and rented out on its website, according to Feeney.

The company came under fire in July this year over a listing of “slave cabins” on its platform after a TikTok about renting went viral.

Called the Panther Burn Cottage on Belmont Plantation in Greenville, Mississippi, the listing described it as “an 1830s slave cabin” that “was also used as a tenant sharecroppers cabin”, and boasted the “wide planks of cypress”. of the building. [that] are original from the first construction in the 1830s.”

Airbnb began exploring a policy on slavery-related properties and experiences after [the] TikTok, Breit said.

While this initiative is a step in the right direction, Airbnb had the opportunity to solve this slave cabin problem when it was presented to them three years ago. What was the heist? Prior to this announcement, there were no restrictions on Airbnb hosts who would omit slave cabins to be praised. On the other hand, it’s not like plantation owners care who rents the accommodations anyway, as they often reuse mansions and fields as wedding venues.

This is why organizations like the Slave housing project fought to ensure these structures are remembered for their historical significance and not whitewashed like the rest of American history from the 1800s.

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