Airbnb has banned a host in New York after a video of her berating guests and yelling racial slurs at them went viral over the weekend.
The video shows the host, who is identified as Kate on the platform — yelling at five guests and telling them to leave. The two sides argued and the back and forth ended when Kate explicitly said “Which monkey is gonna stay on the couch?”
All five of the guests were black.
One of the guests, Kenneth Simpson, shared the video of the incident on his Twitter account.
Simpson, a Virginia resident who hoped to have a fun getaway with his friends — who flew in from Chicago and Houston — told the Washington Post about the awful experience.
“I felt very dehumanized,” Simpson told The Post. “I thought, is this where we are today? We made a point that we’re educated, working professionals. And it doesn’t even matter if you’re an educated person, because no one deserves to be called a monkey and be dehumanized for no reason.”
-The Washington Post
Shortly after the video went viral, Airbnb announced that it had banned the host and attempted to help Simpson and his friends secure other housing for the weekend, but those bookings ultimately fell through, according to the Post..
The company called the host’s comments “unacceptable” and thanked Simpson and his friends for bringing the situation to their attention.
The language is unacceptable and has no place in the Airbnb community. We’ve removed the host from our platform and are supporting the guests with a new place to stay. We’re thankful to them for bringing this to our attention so we could take action.
— Airbnb (@Airbnb) June 2, 2019
According to the Washington Post, the host’s boyfriend took to Reddit to explain her side of the story. According to the now-removed post, issues with the guest started with loud noise and issues with pets. The boyfriend said that the four were making a lot of noise, despite being asked to keep it quiet in the house. When things got to be unbearable, Kate asked the group to leave between insults, according to the Reddit post
“We’ve removed the host from our platform and are supporting the guests with a new place to stay,” Airbnb said in response to the video. “We’re thankful to them for bringing this to our attention so we could take action.”
Airbnb has long had issues with racism from hosts. In 2016, a scathing report from NPR outlined the struggles that Black guests go through when using the platform.
Airbnb has taken steps to address these kinds of issues, but clearly it hasn’t been enough. While the behavior of hosts isn’t entirely the company’s fault, that doesn’t separate them from the discrimination people of color go through as paying customers of their service.