An Airbnb host has been fined $5,000 and ordered to take an Asian American studies course because of racial discrimination.
Dyne Suh, a 26-year-old law student, rented a mountain cabin in Big Bear, Calif., for President’s Day weekend in February with her fiance, two friends and two dogs.
The group braved a drive up a mountain through what The Washington Post called “an intense winter storm” with hazardous roads and flash-flood warnings.
When they were minutes away from the cabin, the host, Tami Barker, texted them to say their reservation was canceled.
“I wouldn’t rent it to u if u were the last person on earth,” Barker texted. “One word says it all. Asian”.
Under the agreement Airbnb made with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the DFEH can punish hosts for racial discrimination.
“We were thinking pretty creatively with this agreement,” DFEH Director Kevin Kish told The Guardian. “We’re interested in remedies that repair harm and transform relationships.”
In addition to taking the college-level course, Barker must apologize to Suh and pledge to comply with anti-discrimination laws. Barker must also volunteer with a civil rights group and take part in a community education panel.
Suh reserved the cabin through Airbnb in February 2017 to take a break from law school and go skiing with her fiance and friends. According to screenshots Suh provided, she asked Barker if she could also bring two friends and two dogs. Barker agreed, but charged an extra $50 per night.
It was only on the day of the reservation, while they were almost at the cabin after driving through a winter storm, that Barker told them the reservation was canceled, according to Suh’s screenshots.
“It’s why we have Trump ... and I will not allow this country to be told what to do by foreigners,” Barker texted, according to the screen captures.
Suh recorded an emotional video that night, saying that racism still exists and can affect anyone.
“I’m an American citizen,” she said. “This is my home. It stings. It stings that after living in the U.S. for over 23 years, this is what happens.”
Barker has also been banned from Airbnb.