Airbnb apologizes for listing ‘slave cabin’ in Mississippi
The company took action after a ICT Tac video of Panther Burn Cottage at the Belmont Plantation in Greenville, Mississippi, has gone viral.
“Properties that once housed slaves have no place on Airbnb,” the company said in a statement.
“We apologize for any trauma or grief created by the presence of this listing, and others like it, and that we did not act sooner to resolve this issue.”
The issue was raised by Wynton Yates, who is a black lawyer from New Orleans, and the listing has now been taken down.
“How is it acceptable in someone’s mind to rent that?” A place where human beings were kept as slaves, renting it out as a bed and breakfast? he said in his TikTok video.
Mr Yates also posted photos of the property, which is a small wooden cabin with one bedroom and one bathroom.
In his video, it was described as “an 1830s slave shack on the existing Panther Burn plantation south of Belmont. It was also used as a cabin for tenant sharecroppers and as a doctor’s office for local farmers and their families to consult the plantation doctor.
Mr Yates explained in his video that the painful history of slavery was not sufficiently acknowledged in the property, which was found on Airbnb by his brother while looking for a place to live in Mississippi.
“Maybe you’re thinking, ‘Okay, maybe this will give people some insight into how slaves must have lived, their living conditions.’ No not at all. Clawfoot tub, running water, tile, nice light fixtures, water, towels, chest of drawers,” he said.
“The history of slavery in this country is constantly denied and now it is being mocked by turning it into a luxurious resort.”
Brad Hauser, who only became the owner of the Belmont last month, said it was advertised as a slave cabin under the previous owner.
“I apologize for the decision to offer our guests a stay in the ‘slave quarters’ behind the 1857 pre-war house that is now a bed and breakfast. I also apologize for having insulted African Americans whose ancestors were slaves,” he said in a statement to NBC News.
He told the news agency he would provide guests with a “historically accurate depiction of life” on the property and of the 80 slaves purchased by the plantation’s original owners “who had no control over their own life”.
He also said that the small wooden cabin was not original to the plantation and that its original owner had said that it was used as a doctor’s office and that it was not old enough for slaves live there.
“I intend to do everything I can to right a terrible wrong and hopefully get the publicity back on AirBnB so The Belmont can contribute to the most urgent demand for truth in history not only of the South but of the whole nation,” Mr. Hauser said.