An Airbnb host who canceled the reservation of a guest due to her race has been ordered to pay $5,000 in damages, make a personal apology and take a course in Asian-American studies, authorities said Thursday.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing announced the agreement with the former Airbnb host who canceled the reservation of Dyne Suh in Running Springs, near the Big Mountain Ski Resort, on Feb. 17 at the last minute during a snowstorm despite confirming in text messages that she could add two people to the original reservation.
The host, identified by The Guardian as Tami Barker, then denied that she agreed to allow additional guests before spewing a series of nasty messages to the UCLA law student, prompting Suh to tell Barker she would report her to Airbnb officials.
“Go ahead. I wouldn’t rent to u if u were the last person on earth,” the host replied. “One word says it all. Asian.”
When Suh reiterated that she planned to report the message and discriminatory cancellation, the host replied: “Go ahead … it’s why we have trump.”
The spokesman for Airbnb told KTLA in April that the woman had been permanently banned from the hospitality service. As part of Thursday’s announcement, she will also have to make a personal apology to Suh, take a college-level course in Asian-American studies and participate in a community education panel. The former host will also need to volunteer at a civil rights organization, officials in California said.
“There is a monetary cost to discriminating in California: a $4,000 minimum penalty for discrimination in places of public accommodation, which the Department will seek in all appropriate cases,” DFEH chief counsel Jon Ichinaga said in a statement.
Reached Thursday by The Post, a spokesperson for Airbnb referred to the company’s statement released in April.
“This behavior is abhorrent and unacceptable,” the statement read. “We have worked to provide the guest with our full support and in line with our non-discrimination policy, this host has been permanently removed from the Airbnb platform.”
Dyne, for her part, said she was pleased with Thursday’s outcome.
“I believe that the more people learn about and understand our history and our struggles, the more they can feel empathy towards us and treat us as equals,” Suh posted on Facebook. “I hope that more victims of discrimination will feel encouraged to come forward with their own stories, empowered now with the knowledge that government entities such as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and other civil rights organizations will take our cases seriously and fight vigorously for us in order to protect our civil rights. Your pain is not insignificant and you are not alone.”
Suh also encouraged others who experience discrimination to speak out, specifically Asian-Americans, who she said are often “left out” of conversations on such topics.
“The more we speak out, the harder it becomes for people to ignore, deny, or trivialize our lived experiences of being discriminated against like this day-to-day,” Suh’s post continued. “If we want racism and discrimination to end, we cannot keep suffering in silence, and we cannot stand idly by when it is happening to other people of color and other oppressed minority groups. We are in this together.”