Airbnb is facing criticism after a transgender guest was denied a stay by a host who felt “uncomfortable” about her gender identity. Shadi Petosky – TV writer and producer of the children’s show ‘Yo Gabba Gabba’ – was reportedly denied a housing in Minneapolis after she informed her would-be host that she is trans.
The incident happened in 2015 and even though Petosky complained privately to Airbnb at the time, she never heard back from them. In the meantime, the company promoted the host in question to “super host” status, which rewards more experienced hosts with multiple five-star reviews from their guests.
On Sunday, Petosky tweeted a screenshot of the host denying her a stay because of her gender identity. The creator of the new Amazon show ‘Danger & Eggs’ said that she “posted about it now because they’ve been getting more scrutiny recently”, though she “had no idea it was going to blow up as much as it did.”
Airbnb responded quickly by banning the host, and Nick Papas, a spokesperson for the company, said: “Discrimination has no place in the Airbnb community. We are removing this host from Airbnb.” He added: “We are conducting a comprehensive review and examining what can be done to ensure we resolve these kinds of issues quickly and help make sure everyone is treated fairly.”
Even though Airbnb does have a general discrimination policy that mentions sexual orientation, the company is yet to implement a specific policy that protects LGBT guests from discrimination. Petosky said: “They should definitely have a universal nondiscrimination policy as part of their platform. It could be stricter than local laws, and make it so the people who are running these businesses have to comply with these policies so that the customer feels like they have recourse.”