One of the largest vacation rental sites, Airbnb, is under major scrutiny and being hit with a class-action suit for discrimination against its African-American users. The class-action suit that was held in Washington D.C. federal court on Tuesday was due to the allegations that Airbnb violated the Fair Housing Act.
According to NBC Bay Area, in March 2015 25-year-old Gregory Seldon, an African-American male, used the site as an alternative to affordable lodging for the planning of his weekend vacation. Seldon claims he was denied because of his race.
Seldon alleges that while searching for housing on Airbnb, he used his Facebook login, which displayed his information; race, picture, age, and education. Seldon argues that he was denied due to the visibility of his profile. Following his denial, “Seldon re-applied using profiles imitating white men, one under the name “Jessie” and another under the name “Todd,” says NBC Bay Area. His applications as “Jessie” and “Todd” were approved, giving practical grounds for his discrimination suit.
At the earlier part of this year, many took to twitter with the hash tag #Airbnbwhileblack to give accounts of their dealings with the site and how they too were discriminated.
“This is hardly the first time Airbnb has been accused of not doing enough to combat discrimination on its platform,” states NBC Bay Area.
Airbnb denied all allegations. They claim that Airbnb disapproves any act of racism on their site and although acts of racism were alleged, their anti-discrimination policy discloses otherwise: “content that promotes discrimination, bigotry, racism, hatred, harassment or harm against any individual or group, and we require all users to comply with local laws and regulations.”