Airbnb under fire for slave cabins advertised as rentals
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Airbnb has grown exponentially since its launch in the late 2000s as a literal air mattress in the founders’ living room, now operating as a global entity that has become preferred over hotel stays and traditional bed and breakfasts. . Well, mostly anyway.
The popular accommodation service has come under scrutiny recently after a handful of listings proudly boasted that they were built on the grounds of former slave shacks.
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“That’s not right,” exclaimed civil rights attorney Wynton Yates, who posted the original video on TikTok (seen above) that shed light on the listings in the first place. He called a rental advertised as “The Panther Burn Cabin at Belmont Plantation” in Greenville, Mississippi, which apart from the exterior actually looked like an outhouse where slaves were once forced to live, he also said of blatantly in the description. Yates also called out those who left reviews after staying a few nights – most, if not all, white people – and used words like “memorable”, “elegant” and “delightful” to describe the accommodation. As Yates said, “How is it acceptable in anyone’s mind to rent this place where human beings were kept as slaves?”
More below on what Yates told Mic about his startling discovery:
“‘We take this report seriously and have disabled all listings associated with this property while we investigate,’ an Airbnb spokesperson said in an email to Mic. Mic has also contacted Belmont Plantation for further information. comments, but did not receive an immediate response.
Yates tells me his brother saw the list for the first time and sent it to a family newsgroup. His first thought when he saw the photo was that it couldn’t be real; when he looked it up on Airbnb, he was flabbergasted that it was. ‘Growing up, [my family] would take my siblings and my cousins and me and put slave irons in our hands so we could feel the weight of the steel that was put on the bodies of our ancestors to contain them,” Yates says. . “Seeing someone blatantly mock him just didn’t sit well with me.”
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Similar adverts for other properties were also spotted, which would have acknowledged the sordid history of the location, but only very vaguely. Yates and others who commented on his original video think they should be advertised as historic brands instead of cool places to rent as “luxury accommodation”.
Let us know your thoughts on this: Can an old slave shack ever be repurposed into an Airbnb? Ring !
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