Home BLA Scotland Edinburgh airbnb landlord removed from website after posting ‘DON’T BOOK IF YOU’RE ASIAN’

Edinburgh airbnb landlord removed from website after posting ‘DON’T BOOK IF YOU’RE ASIAN’


A landlord in Edinburgh has had his Airbnb listing removed and been banned from the website after posting an advert with the caveat, “please don’t book if you are Asian”.

Landlord Stephen Sheppard justified the post by saying he had “bad experiences” with Asian guests. When asked about the discriminatory advert, Mr Sheppard told the Daily Record: “Yes aware of a complaint, nothing really to discuss, apart from having bad experiences in the past. No further comments to make!”

Sheppard’s listing was originally discovered by an Asian IT worker, who was looking for accommodation in Edinburgh.

“This act by the ‘host’ is the worst type of violation you can perform on this platform,” he said. “If you are deciding to make your property available on a platform such as this to generate an income then the rules do not allow you to discriminate in this fashion, period.

“If you have a personal resentment towards a specific group of people then do not use this platform.”

He also criticised Airbnb for allowing the listing on the website.

“Airbnb have chosen not to scan house rules or look for discriminatory listings when they quite easily can.

“They have given importance to their revenue stream over discrimination as possibly the process to implement is not cost effective and thus they rely on the users to see and report.”

Speaking to The Independent, Labour MSP Anar Sarwar said: “There can be no excuse for this shocking and shameful racism. It shows that we have a lot of work to do to call out and challenge everyday racism.

“I’m pleased Airbnb have permanently removed this racist listing but it shouldn’t take a complaint before this happens. I would hope Airbnb would learn from this and ensure no listings of this nature are possible in future.”

An Airbnb spokesperson told The Independent: “We have zero tolerance for discrimination and have permanently removed this host from Airbnb.”

The company established the Airbnb Community Commitment in 2016, which requires all hosts and guests to agree that by joining the Airbnb community they commit to treat all fellow members of the community, regardless of race, religion, national origin, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age, with respect, and without judgment or bias.

“When we are made aware that there are those who are pursuing behaviour on the platform that would be antithetical to the Airbnb Community Commitment, we seek to take appropriate action, including removing them from the platform,” said the spokesperson.

“Under the Open Doors policy, if a guest is not able to book a listing because they have been discriminated against, Airbnb will ensure the guest finds a place to stay.”

In 2017, the company launched a review of its entire platform, led by Laura Murphy, the former head of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington D.C. Legislative Office.

It also launched its Open Doors policy in October, stating that, “If 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 cancelled, 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.”

BLA Scotland

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