“It’s why we have trump"

An Airbnb host who cancelled a guest’s reservation citing her race, has been fined $5000.

The host had agreed to take Dyne Suh’s reservation but cancelled at the last minute, texting her, “I wouldn’t rent to u if u were the last person on earth. One word says it all. Asian.” Suh, who is a college-level Asian American, had driven in a snowstorm to the Airbnb rental near Big Bear California.

Suh told the host that she would report them to Airbnb for being racist.

“It’s why we have trump,” the host wrote back. “And I will not allow this country to be told what to do by foreigners.”

A spokesperson from Airbnb called the incident “abhorrent and unacceptable”.

The student, who also volunteers at a civil rights organisation filed a complaint to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The department, which enforces the state’s civil rights laws, said the host had agreed to the following:

  • apologize to Suh
  • comply with anti-discrimination laws
  • attend training
  • take a college level course in Asian American studies
  • participate in a community education panel
  • perform volunteer service at a civil rights organization
  • report rental data to the department for four years
  • pay $5,000 in damages

“The real story is how a charged and painful encounter led to an opportunity for reconciliation between the people involved, and to an opportunity for them to enhance the public’s understanding of discrimination and civil rights in California,” said Kevin Kish, the department’s director in a statement.

Speaking to CNN, Suh said the educational component was necessary.

“Taking a terrible incident and then turning it into a good thing, an educational opportunity is a much better remedy than just paying a fine or having sanctions,” she said.

“This is a development in restorative justice, which means that people can make mistakes, people can do bad things, but they’re not irredeemable,” Jon Ichinaga, chief counsel of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing told KCAL/KCBS.