Airbnb suspends host who refused to rent to gay couple

An Airbnb office in Toronto, Canada – Photo: Open Grid Scheduler / Scalable Grid Engine

Airbnb has temporarily suspended a host from its platform following a message allegedly sent to a same-sex couple that some interpret as disparaging.

Curtis Kimberlin, Jr. and his partner, Jonathan, were looking to book a room in Dallas, Texas. According to a screenshot From an exchange between Jonathan and the host, which Kimberlin shared on Twitter, Jonathan noted that the couple was going to be in Dallas for a wedding weekend and needed a room.

“My partner and I will be heading into town for a weekend wedding and we are so excited,” Jonathan wrote, detailing their travel plans. “It will be my first time in Texas and my partner is from Dallas, so he will show me around.”

The host replied, “So I’m going to host two men who sleep together… right?”

After Kimberlin shared the screenshot of the exchange, a user asked if he could cancel the reservation, to which Kimberlin replied, “Fortunately he turned us down before we could cancel, but that still not feeling well.”

After learning of the situation, Airbnb said it was investigating the host for violating its non-discrimination policy, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to the travel website. Black Journey.

“Discrimination based on sexual orientation has no place on Airbnb, and we take reports of violations of our non-discrimination policy very seriously,” an Airbnb spokesperson said in a statement. “We have suspended this listing and this host from the platform while we investigate further, and have reached out to our affected customers to offer our support.”

According to Travel Noire, Airbnb has come under intense scrutiny over the past few years, particularly from users from historically marginalized communities who say the platform hasn’t done enough to crack down on cases of abuse. discrimination. In 2020, the company launched the Project Lighthouse initiative, which specifically aims to make Airbnb’s platform more inclusive for communities of color.

Airbnb requires hosts offering short-term rental places to follow the company’s non-discrimination policy and has reportedly removed more than 2.5 million people from the platform for refusing to accept its Community Pledge, which requires everyone to treat each other with respect and without judgment or bias.

Despite these policies in place, some users responded to Kimberlin’s tweet that they had been discriminated against when looking for accommodation.

“I once pulled an Airbnb listing because they said they wouldn’t allow same-sex couples in the description…crazy they even posted that in the first place, but I’m glad Airbnb did the right thing by removing it.” tweeted an user.

“I avoid AirBnB as much as possible these days. Especially to avoid situations like these”, tweeted another user. “Travelling as a queer couple is tricky. That’s why I prefer hotels, they can’t treat you like that.

“My friend and their wife, both queer of color, were refused entry when they knocked on their Airbnb door a few years ago down south,” a third Twitter user noted. “The host saw two non-white gay people and immediately canceled their reservation. I will never use Airbnb.

Still others suggested the couple check out Misterb&b, which bills itself as an LGBTQ-friendly platform, or even book a room at a hotel to avoid potentially uncomfortable situations like this.

Even hotel giant Hilton responded to Kimberlin’s tweet, touting its LGBTQ-friendly reputation and writing, “Curtis – if you and your partner still need help with a staycation, we’ve got you!” Please meet us in DMs!”

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