A couple trying to rent an Airbnb in Texas were turned away after the host learned they were gay. It's the short-term-rental giant's latest problem with discrimination.
Curtis Kimberlin Jr. and his boyfriend booked an Airbnb in Dallas to travel to a wedding.
He said the host canceled after saying, "So I'll be hosting two men sleeping together...right?"
It's the short-term-rental giant's latest issue with bias.
A couple traveling to a wedding in Texas had their Airbnb booking canceled after the host expressed discomfort with their sexuality, the Dallas outlet NBC 5 reported on January 19.
Curtis Kimberlin Jr. and his boyfriend, Jonathan, sent a booking request to the host, whom NBC 5 identified only as Pete. Jonathan followed up to explain when the couple would be arriving and departing.
A screenshot Kimberlin tweeted on January 7 indicated the host responded, "So I'll be hosting two men sleeping together…right?" Kimberlin told NBC 5 that the host then canceled the couple's booking.
—Curtis Kimberlin Jr (@ckimberlinjr) January 7, 2023
Kimberlin's tweet, which has over 19,000 likes, attracted outrage and support from other Dallas hosts.
Airbnb told Insider the host was no longer on the short-term-rental site. "Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has no place on Airbnb," a representative said. "We can confirm this Host and listing were removed from our community."
Pete told NBC 5 that he couldn't access the couple's reviews from other hosts and perceived them as a safety risk.
Airbnb's community policies bar hosts from discriminating against guests based on race, gender, sexuality, and other identities.
But hosts' actions don't always align with Airbnb's policy. Research published in 2017 by economists at Trinity College in Ireland found that Airbnb hosts were less likely to accept gay couples than other couples. The American nonprofit Color of Change has found that guests perceived to be Black were less likely to be accepted than guests perceived to be white.
In December, Airbnb released a 22-page report on discrimination on its platform. It outlined new initiatives including expanding the "instant book" feature, which bypasses the need for hosts to approve booking requests.
Kimberlin told NBC 5 that he and his boyfriend accepted accommodations for the wedding weekend from Hilton after the hotel chain's account responded to Kimberlin's tweet.
Kimberlin said he was shocked by the host's actions but not entirely surprised. "I am also somewhat used to having to hide certain parts of myself to calm conservative folks' reactions to my identities," Kimberlin said.
Read the original article on Business Insider