Airbnb Host Fined $5,000 For Canceling Reservation with Racial Remark

An Airbnb host who used a racist remark while canceling a Riverside woman's reservation has been ordered to pay $5,000 in damages for racial discrimination and take a course in Asian American studies. 

Dyne Suh had booked a cabin in Big Bear, California on Airbnb for $250 per night for a skiing weekend she was going on with friends back in February. However, just minutes before she arrived, she was surprised to see a text from the host Tami Barker that canceled the reservation.

The text read, "I wouldn't rent it to u if u were the last person on earth" and "One word says it all. Asian". 

In a video filmed immediately following the exchange, Suh said: “I just feel so hurt. 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.”

“It stings that after living in the US for over 23 years this is what happens. No matter if I follow the law ... no matter how well I treat others, it doesn’t matter. If you’re Asian, you’re less than human and people can treat you like trash.”

Suh sued and won. It's the first time an Airbnb host has been penalized for racial discrimination under a new agreement between Airbnb and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The agreement allows the DFEH to test and penalize Airbnb hosts for denying housing based on race. 

In addition to paying monetary damages to Suh, Barker must take a college-level course in Asian American studies and agree to comply with anti-discrimination laws. Barker must also make a personal apology to Suh, participate in a community education panel and volunteer with a civil rights organization. 

Barker has since been banned from using Airbnb to rent her cabin in Big Bear. 

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