Airbnb Horror Story Highlights Need to Take Precautions
Mr Lopez ended up in Madrid in the first place because he had such a great experience with Brazilian hosts Airbnb in 2014. His Madrid host told him to meet her at a metro exit near his residence.
When they got to her apartment and she locked them up, he said, she tried to kiss him several times. He pushed her away, then she ordered him to take off his pants unless he wanted to sleep on the street without his things, he said. As these events unfolded he started texting his mother, but by the time his mother realized that Airbnb was not going to give him her address and that she had to get it. from him, he said, his host had cut off internet access.
Her host, meanwhile, began to struggle in the kitchen drawers, and Mr Lopez said he feared she had a gun and concluded the choice to leave was not real. After the sexual assault, it was not clear if she would let him go, he said, and he started looking for something he could use to hurt her so he could escape.
“I was thinking that I was going to have to kill her or that she was going to kill me,” he said. “Thoughts that should never cross anyone’s mind started to come into mine.” How are you going to live with yourself the rest of your life knowing that you have killed someone? But if you don’t, then you won’t have a life.
He chose not to try to fight his way and ultimately concocted a story about the plans he made to meet friends nearby. These friends knew where he was staying, he told his host, and they would come pick him up or call the police if he didn’t meet them. It scared her enough that she let him go with his things.
Mr. Lopez’s description of the episode, which he gave me in a three-hour interview at his family’s home, matches the one he gave in his police report. Madrid police declined to comment on the investigation, although her host said they had already visited her and she expected to be exonerated.
According to Airbnb, this was a unique situation on a weekend where 800,000 people around the world were staying with an Airbnb host. A number of the company’s security procedures conflicted. On the one hand, Airbnb wants victims of sexual assault to be able to decide for themselves when, how or if they should report a crime. On the other hand, the company wants to report on-going crimes when customers are in danger and will quickly communicate the information to them if requested by the police.