This ski trip went downhill and took a racist turn fast.
Airbnb says it has permanently banned a host from the platform after she canceled a guest’s reservation minutes before her arrival because the guest was Asian. And we know that was the host’s reason, because she said so.
“One word says it all,” the host wrote in a text message to the would-be guest. “Asian.”
Airbnb told The Huffington Post the incident happened in February near Big Bear, California. The story gained traction after a video of the tearful guest went viral.
“The four of us made a reservation on Airbnb about a month ago,” Suh says in the video as snow falls around her, “and I asked the woman who is the host if two more friends would be OK ... she said that’s fine, we just have to pay more money.”
“So we’re driving up, we think everything is fine, we’re ready for this ski trip in Big Bear ... there were flash flood warnings all day, [and] I asked the woman again, is it OK if my two friends come, like, should we give you cash, or how much did you say it was again?” Suh continues.
“And she says, ‘Absolutely not.... You must be high if you think that that would be OK in the busiest weekend in Big Bear.’ Then she said, ‘No, we’re done,’ and she canceled the trip.”
Taken aback, Suh responded by informing the woman her actions would be reported to Airbnb, to which she replied in a text: “Go ahead. I wouldn’t rent to u if u were the last person on earth.” Then she texted, “One word says it all. Asian.”
“And I will not allow this country to be told what to do by foreigners. It’s why we have trump,” the host wrote, according to screenshots of the conversation that Suh posted online.
In the video, the distraught guest says she’s an American citizen. But that didn’t matter to the host, who apparently deemed Suh a foreigner based only on her profile picture.
“What they see is that I’m Asian. What they see is my race,” she said, sobbing, “and this is how we get treated. It stings.”
In a statement to HuffPost, Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty called the host’s behavior “abhorrent and unacceptable.” Nulty added the company reached out to the guest as soon as it learned of the incident and offered to rebook her somewhere else, but she’d already made other plans.
“We have worked to provide the guest with our full support” Nulty said, “and in line with our non-discrimination policy, this host has been permanently removed from the Airbnb platform.”
Suh addressed the incident this week in a follow-up Facebook post, asking readers to consider the discrimination others face on a regular basis.
“I beg for people to think about if such discrimination can happen to a light-skinned cis East Asian woman who is in law school, middle class, in a heterosexual relationship, able-bodied, is a U.S. citizen, and Christian, how much harder it must be for people who are less-advantaged and please stand with them,” she wrote. “I only got discriminated against for lodging on a ski trip - other people have gotten murdered, or otherwise far more seriously harmed for their identities.
“Sending love, solidarity, and strength to all those who have been discriminated against, gratitude to all those who have come out with open hearts and expressed sympathy, and a prayer for everyone else that someday you will see the evils of prejudice and intolerance and learn to love thy neighbor,” she added.
This article has been updated throughout with Dyne Suh’s name, screenshots of her conversation with the host, and additional commentary from Suh.