AirBnB is sorry for listing ‘former slave quarters’ for rent

Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Last week, an Airbnb listing advertised by its host as a “guest room” formatted from an “1830s slave shack” received a lot of reactions online. New Orleans-based entertainment and civil rights attorney Wynton Yates made a TikTok criticizes the choice to rent the slave quarters of a former Mississippi plantation. “How is it acceptable in someone’s mind to rent that?” A place where human beings were kept as slaves,” Yates, who is black, explains in the video. Speaking on screenshots of the space as well as guest reviews – in which people call it ‘elegant’, say they enjoyed eating ‘in the main house’ and praise the cabin as “a delightful place to go down in history” – Yates drew attention to the grotesque erasure of historical trauma. “Maybe you think this will give people a glimpse of how slaves must have lived, of their living conditions. No, not at all,” Yates said, showing viewers the bathtub, the large bed and other property amenities (including basic necessities, like running water and light fixtures) that former slaves did not have access to.”The history of slavery in this country is constantly denied” , Yates said, “And now it’s being made fun of by turning it into a luxurious vacation spot.”

After days of criticism, Airbnb apologized and removed the listing from its platform. “Properties that once housed slaves have no place on AirBnB,” an Airbnb spokesperson said Monday. “We apologize for any trauma or grief caused by the presence of this listing, and others like it, and that we did not act sooner to resolve this issue.” By the washington Job, the company has pledged to rid its rig of any other U.S. property “known to include former slave quarters.”

Former cabin host Brad Hauser took over ownership of the cabin last month and said the washington Job that it was “the previous owner’s decision to market the building as the place where slaves once slept” and that he was “not interested in making money from slavery”. (Hauser, who is white, said he was “strongly opposed” to the previous owner’s marketing, but didn’t elaborate on why he apparently did nothing to change it.) It’s unclear how many d Airbnb listings feature spaces that once housed slaves; Mic reports that several such listings in Georgia and Louisiana have been removed. Although the Panther Burn Cottage is no longer on Airbnb, Hauser told the Washington Job he promises to provide guests with “a historically accurate depiction” of life on the plantation – which seems to be no problem at all.

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