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Durban Airbnb owner in ‘racist dog’ furore issued with warning, educated on anti-discrimination following investigation

Durban Airbnb owner in ‘racist dog’ furore issued with warning, educated on anti-discrimination following investigation

Durban – The owner of a Durban Airbnb who told her guest that the dog on the property was “racist” has been issued with a warning and educated about the short-term home stays and experiences platform’s anti-discrimination, pet behaviour, guest well-being, and safety policies.

This comes after businessman Wandile Mthiyane said he was told by the owner last month that the rule was that he had to advise her when he would be outside, as her “racist” dog, which bites black people, would also need to access the yard.

The businessman, who founded a diversity, equity and inclusion start-up called the Anti Racist Hotdog after a “discriminatory” encounter at a beachfront restaurant, feared for his safety and contacted Airbnb to be relocated. The owner was suspended pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident.

On October 12, correspondence from Airbnb to Mthiyane shared on his Twitter page said: “Based on the evidence provided, we were not able to conclude that there was a violation of our non-discrimination policy.”

“I just got an email from Airbnb saying they've found the owner not guilty of violating their discrimination policy. In other words, having an undisclosed vicious dog that magically only harasses Black people and still hosts guests in one’s @Airbnb is perfectly fine,” Mthiyane captioned the post.

I just got an email from AirBnB saying they've found the owner not guilty of violating their discrimination policy. In other words, having an undisclosed vicious dog that magically only harasses Black people and still hosts guests in one’s @Airbnb is perfectly fine. pic.twitter.com/5td1tflERa

— Wandile Mthiyane (@wandileubuntu) October 17, 2022

Speaking to The Mercury, an Airbnb spokesperson said the company had further liaised with Mthiyane to inform him what actions would be taken by the company with regard to the owner.

Airbnb said discrimination of any kind is not tolerated, and the safety of everyone on Airbnb is a priority.

“We suspended the host while we investigated and have taken action based on the information available to us. We also provided our full support to the guest. If we are made aware of any similar concerns in future, we will take further action, up to removal from the platform.”

The platform said it takes reports of discrimination seriously and investigates every incident brought to its attention.

In order for our teams to fully investigate, we contact both parties to gather evidence, said Airbnb.

“In this case, we followed up with the guest multiple times to gather additional information, but did not receive a response. Based on the evidence made available to us, we issued a warning to the host, meaning they face permanent removal if we receive another similar report. We also educated the host on our strict anti-discrimination policies, their pet’s behaviour, and our high standards on guest well-being and safety.”

According to Airbnb, the owner had not received any previous complaints.

Airbnb added that the company had provided full support to the guest at the time, including issuing a refund, reimbursement for alternative accommodation, and covering the costs of a different listing on Airbnb.

It said to use Airbnb, all hosts and guests must agree to our strict non-discrimination policy, community standards, and community commitment.

THE MERCURY

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