Airbnb host who denied renter because of race has to pay $5,000 fine, take Asian-American studies course

A host used race to justify cancelling a reservation — and said it was OK, because Trump

Published July 14, 2017 2:54PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

It hurts to be racist.

Airbnb host Tami Barker will have to pay a fine of $5,000, take an Asian-American studies course, participate in a community education panel, issue a personal apology and volunteer with a civil rights organization after discriminating against one prospective renter.

In February, Barker cancelled the reservation of Dyne Suh, a 26 year old law clerk, and her fiance.

“I wouldn’t rent it to u if u were the last person on earth” Barker said, according to the Guardian. “One word says it all. Asian.”

A month before the date of the reservation, the two agreed that Suh could bring two more friends to stay, for an extra fee. However, Barker changed her mind about bringing more people along the day of the reservation.

Suh took screenshots from the previous messages and told Barker she would make a complaint to Airbnb, but Barker said, “It’s why we have Trump . . . and I will not allow this country to be told what to do by foreigners.”

Barker's lawyer issued a statement that his client was “regretful for her impetuous actions and comments” but was pleased to have resolved the matter with Suh and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing “in a manner that can hopefully bring a positive outcome out of an unfortunate incident.”

Barker is the first Airbnb host to be penalized for discrimination, based on an agreement in April between Airbnb and the DFEH.

The digital platform — that allows owners to rent housing spaces to anonymous users — has been in hot water over widespread racial discriminatory practices by owners.

By Michael Glassman

Michael Glassman is on Salon’s Breaking News team. You can find him on Twitter at @warnkemg

MORE FROM Michael Glassman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Airbnb Asian Americans Racial Discrimination Suh Tami Barker The Guardian