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LONDON: Peer-to-peer property rental platform Airbnb has come under fire for listing an ‘1830s slave hut’ in Mississippi, US, after a video of the property went viral on TikTok.
The US company quickly removed the listing from its platform and issued a statement on Monday apologizing for the incident.
“Properties that once housed slaves have no place on Airbnb. 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,” Airbnb said in the statement.
The platform added that it would introduce new policies to deal with slavery-related properties.
The “Panther Burn Cottage at the Belmont Plantation” in Greenville, Mississippi, went viral on TikTok last week when Wynton Yates, a black lawyer from New Orleans, posted a video of the listing, saying, “How is- what’s on anyone’s mind to praise that? A place where human beings were kept as slaves, renting it out as a bed and breakfast? »
Yates showed in his video a series of screenshots highlighting the listing’s 68 reviews and 4.97 rating.
He added that the listing failed to properly recognize the cabin’s historical significance.
“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 luxury resort,” he added.
Cabin owner Brad Hauser said he acquired the property only weeks ago and was advertised as a “slave quarters” on Airbnb by 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.
Hauser added that the cabin was not part of the original plantation and slaves did not live there.
He promised to give guests a “historically accurate depiction of life” during the Belmont’s history.
Hauser said: ‘I intend to do everything I can to right a terrible wrong and hopefully regain publicity on Airbnb so The Belmont can contribute to the most urgent demand for truth about life. history not only of the south, but of the whole nation. .”