An Airbnb in Dallas reportedly refused to host a gay couple

The Airbnb rental app has had its share of controversy. Sometimes it’s the hosts who rob tenants blindly. $600 cleaning fee for a $100 a night cabana? Is it a naked cleaning service?

This time, a Dallas landlord is drawing fire on Twitter over claims the landlord discriminated against a gay man seeking to stay at his Airbnb-listed property.

An Airbnb app user has posted a screenshot on social media of an alleged interaction he allegedly had with an unidentified owner in Dallas who appears to have canceled his reservation after learning the space would be occupied by a same-sex couple.

Curtis Kimberlin Jr. from Chicago posted the story on his Twitter along with a screenshot of the Airbnb message exchange between his boyfriend, identified as “Jonathan”, and the owner whose name has been redacted.

Jonathan messaged the Airbnb tenant that he and Kimberlin would be in town for a wedding weekend and now let him know their expected arrival time.

“This will be my first time in Texas and my partner is from Dallas so he will be showing me around,” the post read.

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

A follower on Kimberlin’s Twitter page posted a response suggesting canceling the reservation. They also tagged the official Airbnb Twitter account in the post.

“Luckily he turned us down before we could cancel,” Kimberlin replied, “but it still doesn’t feel right.”

The post became a trending topic on Twitter as replies of support for the couple and derision for the Airbnb owner and even the app itself poured in. As of Thursday afternoon, the post received more than 1.9 million viewers, according to Twitter analytics.

“AirBnB [sic] is an absolute trash fire,” @KonstantineinCA wrote. “Book a hotel/motel. It’s cheaper and they don’t discriminate.”

“Not to mention you don’t have to clean it yourself,” @agentcakes wrote in a reply.

The Hilton hotel chain’s official Twitter page posted a response to Kimberlin’s post offering accommodation at one of its hotels for their visit to Dallas.

“Curtis – if you and your partner still need help with a vacation, we’ve got you!” the post reads. “Please meet us in the DMs!”

Airbnb released a statement in response to the incident saying the company had removed the unidentified host from its listings and would investigate the matter thoroughly.

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

The statement also highlights the app’s community guidelines that hosts are subject to a “strict non-discrimination policy,” as well as corporate investigations and expulsion if they violate the policy. .

“Prejudice, prejudice, racism and hatred have no place on our platform or in our community,” according to Airbnb’s Community Policy listings.

Kimberlin did not respond to our request for comment.

This is far from the first controversy involving Airbnb in Dallas. In 2015, city officials confirmed that only two of 700 Airbnb listings in Dallas had paid their monthly hotel occupancy taxes, and the city hadn’t issued any fines for nonpayment during the year. previous.

Around New Year’s Eve, neighbors of Airbnb hosts frequently complain that large gatherings turn into noisy parties. So, towards the end of 2020, the app implemented new restrictions stating that Dallas locations with poor reviews must book guests for a minimum of two nights for bookings towards the end of the year. This was followed by a ban on “party houses” less than two years later.

The City of Dallas has also considered imposing tougher regulations on Airbnb-style short-term rentals, beginning with a recommendation from the City Plan Commission last month to ban short-term rentals in single-family residential neighborhoods. This latest news will certainly not help the city reconsider its plans.

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