An Australian teenager was refused an Airbnb booking because she is Black.
18-year-old Sadia Mohamed had paid for half of her stay before receiving a racist message from her prospective host. It read:
If you are black, please forgive us for not receiving you.
Okay give me my money back right now cause I am black.
I do not appreciate this at all! This is pure RACISM. In a time like today especially, I'll be sure to report you immediately. For someone to be hosting on a major platform such as this, such discrimination is not acceptable.
In a rambling message, the host responded:
I'm not discriminating against anyone, we don't really have the ability to deal with this, because it's happened more than once. And I'm sorry, because the whole building is like this, and the building management gave us an ultimatum!
Respect is not hard, it comes from everyone's upbringing, and I don't want to do that.
Mohamed shared screenshots of the conversation to Twitter.
Others also reported receiving racist messages from 'Helen', the property's host.
And expressed their disgust with the incident.
In a statement to Indy100, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Australia Derek Nolan outlined the action they have taken against the host. He told us:
Anyone who does not comply with our strict non-discrimination policies faces removal from our platform. We were shocked and saddened to hear about this incident and we immediately actioned the payment of a full refund and offered personalised rebooking assistance. We have also removed a host and the listing in question and will continue to investigate the matter. Additionally, we have contacted all other Hosts on Airbnb with listings in the same building to communicate our ongoing commitment to our non-discrimination policy and reiterate that anyone who fails to adhere to this policy faces removal from Airbnb.
Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where everyone can belong anywhere. This is something we care deeply about and are absolutely committed to. Discrimination is unacceptable and has no place in our community. We enforce a strict non-discrimination policy and under our Open Doors initiative, if a guest feels they have been discriminated against, we will provide personalised support to ensure they find a place to stay.
But according to The Feed, Mohamed is considering taking some form of legal action anyway. She told them:
[I'm] really hurt that someone would not allow me to do something just based on the colour of my skin. And I'm currently talking to my uncle and I've been advised by legal aid to press charges.
After trying to use the app to book a trip to celebrate her 19th birthday at the end of Australia's four month lockdown, Mohamed said she won't use Airbnb again.
I'm really trying to avoid booking an Airbnb for my birthday. It just makes you feel uncomfortable just knowing that there are racist people on the app. I wouldn't wanna go doing it again.
Indy100 have contacted Mohamed to try to establish what form of legal action she is considering taking and against who.