Airbnb Apologizes And Removes Mississippi Listing That Housed Enslaved People
"We apologize for any trauma or grief created by the presence of this listing, and others like it and that we did not act sooner to address this issue," the company said in a statement.
by Danteé Ramos
August 03, 2022 at 5:25 pm
After Wynton Yates, a Black attorney from New Orleans, shared a popular TikTok video depicting a slave cabin that was up for booking on Airbnb’s website, the company cut all ties to homes where enslaved people had resided, the Atlanta Black Star reports.
“Properties that formerly housed the enslaved have no place on Airbnb,” the company said in a statement to NBC News. “We apologize for any trauma or grief created by the presence of this listing, and others like it and that we did not act sooner to address this issue.”
The cabin Yates refers to is located at the Panther Burn Cottage at the Belmont Plantation in Greenville, Mississippi.
In his video, Yates said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he received a text from his brother, who shared the listing in their family’s group chat. At first, Yates said he couldn’t imagine it to be accurate, but after researching the cabin, he was offended to see that it was an authentic cabin that housed enslaved people.
“How is this OK in somebody’s mind to rent this out? A place where human beings were kept as slaves, rent this out as a bed and breakfast?,” Yates asked while talking to the camera.
His TikTok video features pictures of the cabin, displaying the newly renovated and redecorated wood wall bedroom and tiny bathroom near a main house on the shared property.
According to the screenshot of the listing describing the estate, Yates shared, The Panther Burn Cabin was a sharecropper cabin and once stationed a plantation doctor for enslaved people.
“An 1830s slave cabin from the extant Panther Burn Plantation to the south of Belmont. It has also been used as a tenant sharecroppers cabin and a medical office for local farmers and their families to visit the plantation doctor,” the listing read.
The cabin listing has over 60 positive reviews along with a 4.97 rating.
“Memorable. Highly recommend watching the sunset!” Another person named Peter wrote, “We stayed in the sharecropper cabin and ate in the main house. The house tour was great and so was the breakfast,” one review read.
Yates explained the Airbnb listing failed to recognize and respect the history of slavery.
“Maybe you’re thinking, ‘OK, maybe this will give people insight into how enslaved people had to live, their living conditions.’ No, not at all. Clawfoot tub, running water, tile, nice lighting fixtures, water, towels, dresser,” he said. “The history of slavery in this country is constantly denied and now it’s being mocked by being turned into a luxurious vacation spot,” he said.
“They don’t care about the true history of that space,” Yates added. “They care about the plantation in its visual beauty. They have the privilege of mentally removing themselves from that history because they are not affected by it in the present day.”
Taking his research a step further, Yates shared in a second video that the cabin was not located initially on its current grounds, noting the cabin was moved to Mississippi from a different plantation before being renovated.
@lawyerwynton Replying to @Shelby Taylor they actually moved it from the original plantation to where it is now #civilrights #blackhistory #americanhistory #history ♬ Blade Runner 2049 – Synthwave Goose
Airbnb is working on developing new policies for rentals associated with the history of slavery, USA Today reports.
The Panther Burn Cottage has been removed from the site.