Airbnb host shocks with racist text to renter: 'Don't take blacks'

Marni Dixit
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

A Melbourne Airbnb host has been removed from the platform after telling potential renters: "We don't take blacks," and, "If you are black, please forgive us for not receiving you."

The woman, named Helen, had her messages exposed by her potential guests after rejecting them over the colour of their skin.

An Airbnb host has been booted from the marketplace after telling a potential renter, "We don't take blacks." Photo: Getty
An Airbnb host has been booted from the marketplace after telling a potential renter, "We don't take blacks." Photo: Getty

In the exchange, the renters, who are two sisters, asked if the room was available.

“Hi, just wanted to book this for two nights for my sister and I’s getaway,” one of the girls wrote.

The response from Helen read: “Hi, thank you so much! If you are black, please forgive us for not receiving you!”

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The 19-year-old responded, asking for a refund of the $190 deposit. “Okay, give me my money back right now cause I am black.”

Helen said: “You can apply to the platform to return it. Thank you!”

To which the girl responded: “I do not appreciate this at all! This is pure RACISM. In a time like today especially, I’ll be sure to report you immediately. For someone to be hosting on a major platform such as this, such discrimination is not acceptable.”

The host then responded saying she's "not discriminating against anyone" and "we really don't have the ability to deal with this".

She then went on to blame "building management", saying they "gave us an ultimatum".

The 19-year-old, whose family moved to Australia from Somalia before she was born and has lived in Melbourne her whole life, told news.com.au she was "shocked" by the messages.

She shared that she had paid half of the money owing on the booking before receiving the message from the host.

“Then she replied two days later and said if I was a black she couldn’t offer the house to me anymore. Which is so disgusting.

“We then messaged her back and explained she can’t say that and think she can get away with that. She then started to talk about our upbringing and how we don’t know how to act.

“To be honest I’m just so shocked that she was so racist I’ve never ever experienced anything like this.”

Derek Nolan, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Australia, told Yahoo Lifestyle: "Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where everyone can belong anywhere. This is something we care deeply about and are absolutely committed to. Discrimination is unacceptable and has no place in our community.

“We have removed a host and the listing in question and will continue to investigate the matter. We enforce a strict non-discrimination policy and under our Open Doors initiative, if a guest feels they have been discriminated against, we will provide personalised support to ensure they find a place to stay.”

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