Airbnb Is Being Sued For Discrimination Against Black Users

One user made fake profiles pretending to be white and had a completely different experience.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Affordable, flexible lodging? Airbnb sounds like a dream for anyone who likes to travel on a budget, but that isn't the case for black users of the site, who commonly face discrimination when trying to book a place to stay.

Earlier this week, 25 year-old Gregory Selden filed a complaint against the company, CNN Money reports.

While trying to arrange accommodations in Philadelphia last year, one potential host told Selden that the space was unavailable. Suspecting something was fishy, Selden then created two fake profiles - both using photos of white males - and his booking was accepted both times.

Selden shared screenshots of the incident on social media.

When Selden tried to talk to the company about the issue, he says he was ignored. And when he confronted the host, the man only had this to say for himself: "It's a disappointment people like you always victimize yourselves solely on the basis of skin color."

Selden is seeking a class action lawsuit, which means others may join him in the fight against discriminatory practices. Selden's actions quickly sparked something of a movement among black travelers, and now Twitter users are sharing their own stories of discrimination using the #AirbnbWhileBlack tag.


Airbnb has commented briefly on the situation, with spokesman Nick Papas saying in a statement, "While we do not comment on pending litigation, we strongly believe that racial discrimination is unacceptable and it flies in the face of our mission to bring people together."

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