Airbnb host refuses to let gay couple stay at their home: ‘I’ll be hosting two men?’

A graphic shows on the left a airbnb logo with a screenshot of a Twitter post positioned next to it. In the background is the faded out image of two men standing close to each other

Airbnb has begun an investigation following a complaint of discrimination after a host refused to accept a booking from a gay couple.

Curtis Kimberlin Jr and his partner, Jonathan, were in the process of booking accommodation in Dallas, Texas, for a wedding.

However, the use of the word “partner” in a message was apparently a red flag to the property owner.

A screenshot on Twitter shows Jonathan’s first message: “My partner and I will be flying into town for a weekend wedding and we’re really excited.”

“Let us know if you have any questions!”

The property owner, whose name was redacted by Kimberlin Jr, came back asking: “So I’ll be hosting two men sleeping together…right?” – despite no explicit mention from the pair they were gay.

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In a separate tweet, Kimberlin Jr said the pair didn’t have to cancel their booking because the property owner denied them first.

Airbnb confirmed to publication Travel Noire the listing and host were suspended from the platform while an investigation was underway.

“We have reached out to our impacted guests to offer our support,” a spokesperson said.

“Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has no place on Airbnb, and we take reports of violations of our non-discrimination policy incredibly seriously,” they added.

Airbnb has previously announced projects in the hopes of making the accommodation platform more inclusive.

Airbnb launched the Project Lighthouse Initiative in 2020 with the aim of improving experiences for people of colour.

Co-founder and chief executive Brian Chesky said in December 2022 the project would drive their work “to make Airbnb a place where everyone feels welcome”.

However, responses to Kimberlin Jr’s tweet made it clear that’s not yet the case.

Many people responded saying this was an example of why they prefer hotels and motels over rental accommodation like Airbnb because they don’t discriminate.

Another person also highlighted that “yes. [sic] s**t like this still goes on in 2023 America”.

The platform had already previously taken action, including forcing all users to sign an anti-discrimination pledge in 2016, following a string of homophobic and racist incidents.

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