Despite Airbnb releasing a set of guidelines last October that require hosts not to exhibit discriminatory behavior toward renters, the problem still persists. However, that doesn’t mean that discrimination is going unpunished by the company.
After canceling on a renter because she was Asian, one host in Big Bear, California has been fined $5,000 in damages and must take a college-level course in Asian American studies, according to the Guardian. Tami Barker also must make a personal apology to renter Dyne Suh and volunteer with a civil rights organization.
Barker’s lawyer said, via the Guardian, that Barker was “regretful for her impetuous actions and comments” and glad the dispute could be resolved “in a manner that can hopefully bring a positive outcome out of an unfortunate incident.”
Airbnb has partnered with the California department of fair employment and housing to snuff out discrimination of all the kinds, and the agreement allows the state to penalize hosts if they’re found to be in violation of the community guidelines.
In February, Suh booked Barker’s house for $250 per night. Suh asked if she could bring two additional friends and a dog and Barker initially agreed. But when Suh and her party were only a few minutes away from the cabin, Barker abruptly canceled the reservation.
“I wouldn’t rent it to u if u were the last person on earth,” Barker wrote to Suh. “One word says it all. Asian.”
Suh said she would report Barker to Airbnb for discrimination, and Barker responded by writing, “Go ahead. It’s why we have Trump. And I will not allow this country to be told what to do by foreigners.”
As Fusion notes, Suh is an American citizen and has lived in the U.S. for 23 of her 26 years. Here was her response that night after she got word the reservation had been canceled and the reason why.
As the Guardian wrote, this is the first time Airbnb has punished hosts for discrimination.