Airbnb banned a North Carolina host on Wednesday after he sent racist messages to a black woman who booked a room with him.
Shani Taylor tweeted a screenshot of the messages the host sent her friend while she was trying to book on the home-sharing app on Tuesday. The photo shows the host, Todd Warner, threatening to cancel the friend's reservation, saying "Find another place to rest your n****r head."
Another one of the victim's friends posted the full conversation on her blog, showing where Warner referred to her as "blacky" and used other obscene language.
A representative from Airbnb responded to Taylor shortly after she sent her tweet saying that "Airbnb does not condone discrimination in any way. We take this seriously." They continued, "We have located the reservation and have emailed the account holder." They advised her to read their anti-discrimination policy and to direct message them additional info.
"We were horrified when we read these messages," Airbnb spokesperson Nick Papas told USA Today. "The language and conduct are unacceptable and violate both our policies and everything we believe in. This host has been removed from Airbnb and we've reached out to the guest to offer our full and complete support, including ensuring the guest has a safe place to stay."
CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky also tweeted about the incident:
This ban comes in the midst of allegations that Airbnb has an issue with race and discrimination. In May, Airbnb was hit with a lawsuit for allegedly violating the Fair Housing Act when a black customer said he was denied housing when using his real Airbnb profile, but accepted when he tried to find housing on two profiles imitating white men.
More and more people are finding that #AirbnbWhileBlack is, unfortunately, a very real and widespread occurrence. Black users have used this viral hashtag, created by Quirtina Crittenden, to share their experiences of discrimination while attempting to book on the app.
In 2014, a Harvard study found that Airbnb users with distinctly African-American names were 16 percent "less likely to be accepted than identical guests with distinctively white names." While Airbnb acknowledges these issues persist, their policies aren't strong enough to protect guests of color from facing discrimination.
"We strongly believe that racial discrimination is unacceptable and it flies in the face of our mission to bring people together," Papas told Mashable in May. "...We are taking aggressive action to fight discrimination and eliminate unconscious bias in our community."