An African-American man has sued the travel housing website Airbnb for racial discrimination.
According to Mashable, 25-year-old Gregory Seldon filed a federal lawsuit in D.C. claiming he was denied a room in Philadelphia on March 2015 due to his race. His claims that the company violated the Fair Housing Act and the civil rights of people of color.
Seldon states that he was looking for a room when he was planning a weekend trip with friends. At the time, his Airbnb account was linked to Facebook account, which displayed his person profile picture, his race, education and his age. While he was denied housing with his initial profile, when he resubmitted to the same place with a new picture and a new name pretending he was white, he was accepted.
Lawsuit documents also state that the person renting the room “shamed Selden for speaking out” when he complained about what happened. Selden is part of a larger class action suit suing for unspecified damages.
Seldon recently shared his story on Twitter during the #AirbnbWhileBlack hastag that trended a few weeks ago. He was joined by many others who shared their stories about the difficulties of booking a room.
We all know that this isn’t the first time the company has been accused of racial discrimination.
A few months ago, HELLO BEAUTIFUL previously reported that a Harvard study found that folks with “Black sounding” names were 16 percent less likely to get rented a room by a white host compared to those with “white sounding” names.
Airbnb wouldn’t comment in the recent lawsuit but said that “We strongly believe that racial discrimination is unacceptable and it flies in the face of our mission to bring people together. We are taking aggressive action to fight discrimination and eliminate unconscious bias in our community.”