‘Which Monkey Is Staying on the Couch?’: Black Airbnb Guests ‘Traumatized’ After Racist Incident with Host Caught on Video

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Lodging platform Airbnb has removed a host from its database following viral video of a racist encounter between the woman and a group of Black guests at her New York City residence.

The clip, posted to Twitter on Saturday, shows an unnamed Asian woman refer to the men as “monkeys” during an argument sparked by the group allegedly bringing an extra friend to the Airbnb, upping the expected number of guests from four to five. 

“So which monkey is staying on the couch?” the woman says amid the squabble.

Airbnb
An Airbnb host is banned from listing her residence on the platform’s database after she was caught on video using a racial slur against a group of Black travelers. (@_MrMAC / Twitter video screenshot)

Meshach Ciscero, who shared video of the incident, said he was “livid” after he and his friends were called racial slurs and subsequently kicked out of their accommodations.

“Airbnb needs to fix this!” Ciscero wrote on Twitter. “We deserve better!”

In a statement, a representative for the company confirmed the host in question has been nixed from its platform.

“The language used in this video is unacceptable and has no place in the Airbnb community,” public affairs rep Ben Breit told Atlanta Black Star. “We have a strict non-discrimination policy, which we are enforcing to remove the host from our platform.”

“We are supporting Mr. Cisero and his friends in getting them a new place to stay through our Open Doors policy,” he continued. “We are thankful to them for bringing this to our attention so we could take action.”

The shocking video made its rounds on social media over the weekend, garnering more than 32,000 retweets and 54,000 like by Monday. 

As outrage built over the incident, Twitter user @Kartoon_1911 posted a thread detailing what led to the racially-charged encounter. He explained that he and a group of friends had paid to reserve an Airbnb in New York City only to be booted by a “racist and rude”  host.

“When we arrived to our @Airbnb, we were harassed several times before being thrown out at 2 am,” he wrote. “Her reasonings were because she felt unsafe, she assumed we were going to steal and destroy her property.”

He continued: “After being harassed by her nonstop, she then told us to ‘Get the fuck out of her house immediately!’ We cooperated and began to pack our things to leave.”

That’s when he said the woman burst into their room with a camera as they gathered their belongings; one of them had just gotten out of the shower. Ignoring their pleas for privacy, @Kartoon_1911 said the woman again demanded they “get the f–k out of my house.”

He described the incident as “traumatic” and said the woman became so enraged that his friends grew fearful and called police.

“We are a group of 4 educated and working professionals and were classified as criminals and animals over and over again,” he wrote, later adding: “I felt like she’d attack us if we hadn’t called the police. I felt like she’d possibly accuse us of sexual assault if we hadn’t pulled out our cameras.”

In the end, @Kartoon_1911 said he was just glad he and his friends made it out of the situation safely. The quintet, he said, was eventually able to find lodging at a hotel, where they crashed for the night.

The June 1 incident isn’t the first time Airbnb has dealt with incidents of racism. In 2016, the company brought on former Attorney General Eric Holder to help roll out a new anti-discrimination policy following a string of instances involving hosts discriminating against Black travelers.

According to the policy, Airbnb hosts cannot “decline a guest based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status,” nor can they impose different terms or conditions based on the aforementioned factors.

Moreover, the company’s Open Doors policy states that “[I]f a Guest anywhere in the world feels like they have been discriminated against in violation of our policy — in trying to book a listing, having a booking canceled, or in any other interaction with a host — we will find that Guest a similar place to stay if one is available on Airbnb, or if not, we will find them an alternative accommodation elsewhere.”

Watch more in the video below.

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