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 Washington, D.C. claiming he was denied a room in Philadelphia on March 2015 due to his race. He claims the company violated the Fair Housing Act and the civil rights of people of color.
Seldon states he was looking for a room while planning a weekend trip with friends. At the time, his Airbnb account was linked to his Facebook account, which displayed a personal profile picture, his race, education, and 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 Seldon for speaking out” when he complained about what happened. Seldon is part of a larger class action suit suing for unspecified damages.
Seldon recently shared his story on Twitter during the #AirbnbWhileBlack hashtag that trended a few weeks ago. He was joined by many others:
This isn’t the first time the company has been accused of racial discrimination.
A few months ago, a Harvard study found that folks with “Black sounding” names were 16 percent less likely to rent a room from a White host compared to those with “White sounding” names.
Airbnb wouldn’t comment on the recent lawsuit but said, “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.”
SOURCE: Mashable | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter