December 22, 2022

Airbnb Announces New Ban On Slave Cabin Rentals

It’s 2022. Why are people still renting out slave cabins? 

In a long overdue statement, Airbnb has announced they will no longer allow people to list or rent properties previously used to house enslaved people.

Airbnb’s “1830 Slave Cabin”

According to BuzzFeed News, Airbnb came under fire earlier in July for listing an “1830s slave cabin” on their website. Five months later, the company will finally remove all slavery-related listings from its website.

The slave cabin listed on Airbnb’s website

The vacation rental site has stated that any listing of a plantation residence that “existed during the time of slavery” will automatically be removed from the site. Additionally, any advertisers that list houses built to enslave people will be barred from future listings. 

The company also announced that renters would be prohibited from marketing properties that display “slave-related features” on the website, even if it is labeled as a tourist attraction. 

“Discrimination and bias, unfortunately, happen in our world so that they can play out on platforms like Airbnb – and that’s unacceptable to us. We want everyone to feel safe and welcome using our platform,” said Janaye Ingram, Airbnb Director of Community Partner Programs and Engagement. 

“We believe you can’t fix what you don’t measure, so we’re using Project Lighthouse [a custom server] to help us uncover disparities among perceived racial groups and inform our work to make Airbnb more equitable for people of color.”

The Internet’s Reaction

Although the move is a good step for the company, the issue had allegedly been bought to the company three years ago – so why the hold up? 

Many Twitter users have highlighted that this policy only shows that there is still a demand for slave cabin rentals which is a demoralizing thought. It also shows that many still view Black pain as comedy/entertainment. 

In a recent TikTok video, lawyer Wynton Yates said: “How is this OK in somebody’s mind to rent this out – a place where human beings were kept as slaves – rent this out as a bed and breakfast?” 

“These places really should be remembered for the hardships and horrific acts that happened here. They should not be a source of profit and entertainment.” 

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Kumba Kpakima

Kumba Kpakima is a reporter at POCIT. A documentary about the knife crime epidemic in the UK got her a nomination for the UK's #30toWatch Young Journalists of the Year.