Racist AirBnB Host Hit with Large Fine, Mandatory Coursework

Airbnb host fined $5,000 for canceling a reservation with a racist comment

A racist Airbnb host has been ordered to pay a US$5,000 (S$6,900) fine and take a college-level course in Asian-American studies after she cancelled a reservation because the guest is Asian, The Guardian reported. Suh, a UCLA law student, was driving with friends to the Big Bear ski cabin Barker owns at 3 a.m.in a snowstorm in February when she received the messages.

After driving several hours through inclement weather conditions, Suh texted Baker to let her know they were almost there and to confirm the cost.

California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing announced the resolution Thursday.

In an interview with the BBC past year, AirBnB co-founder Brian Chesky said: "We started this company with the belief people are fundamentally good".

"I just feel so hurt".

Suh, stranded amid a snowstorm with her friends still in the auto, tearfully recalled the interaction in a video posted to YouTube that proceeded to go viral.

"We have worked to provide the guest with our full support and in line with our non-discrimination policy, this host has been permanently removed from the Airbnb platform", company spokesman Christopher Nulty said.

In addition to the fine, Barker has agreed to personally apologize to Suh, participate in a community education panel, volunteer with a civil rights organization and report rental data to DFEH for four years.

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In April, Airbnb made an agreement with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) that allowed the regulatory state body to conduct "fair housing testing" on hosts in California who have been subject to discrimination complaints. Alim noted this is the first time the state agency, which enforces California's civil rights laws, has penalized an Airbnb host.

Airbnb allowed DFEH to regulate the apartment-renting, "sharing economy" app after a 10-month investigation that uncovering regular reports on hosts regularly refusing to rent to guests on a race-based basis. People thought: "'Oh, with the election of President Obama racism is over in this country.' No, it's very much alive, it exists and it could happen to anyone". "People can treat you like trash".

The DFEH director, Kevin Kish, was a little kinder on Barker, highlighting her "willingness to embrace corrective measures that are forward-looking and restorative".

"We want there to be strong anti-discrimination protections and preventions of harm, but we recognize that the world isn't divided into good guys and bad guys".

DFEH's chief counsel, Jon Ichinaga, made it plain that while racism may be endemic in many parts of the U.S., in California it is against the law. "Humans have biases and we also need to recognize that humans change".

"That opened the door to a lot of creative thinking".

"It's why we have Trump".

Barker's lawyer Edward Lee said his client was "regretful for her impetuous actions".

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