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Gregory Seldon has filed a lawsuit im federal court against the start-up claiming that the company has routinely violated the Fair Housing Act and the civil rights of people of color.

Toni Akindele
May, 19, 2016

Traveling while Black. Yes, it’s a thing – or rather – an experience that Airbnb has failed to acknowledge according to the lawsuit filed by 25 year-old Gregory Seldon.

Seldon filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Washington D.C. federal court against the start-up claiming that the company has routinely violated the Fair Housing Act and the civil rights of people of color. He claims that an Airbnb host denied him accommodations when he requested to book a room under his personal profile, which included his photo, but was accepted when he requested to book the room using fake profiles posed as white men.

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When Seldon confronted the host online, the host replied, “It’s a disappointment people like you always victimize yourselves solely on the basis of skin,” Seldon told NBC12.

And Seldon is not the only one who understands the experience of being discriminated against while using #AirbnbWhileBlack:

 

I've also had hosts who were "omg so surprised!" at how clean and responsible we were. Yay for low expectations! #AirbnbWhileBlack

— [ahh!ree] (@aripiphany) May 19, 2016

 

When you got to throw three to four Valenica filters on your profile picture before booking with AirBnB! #AirbnbWhileBlack

— WNA (@wordsbywanna) May 17, 2016

 

Tried to book a place in Cape Town, and all of a sudden, they remembered that they'd be 'having friends over.' #AirbnbWhileBlack

— Free (@TheFridaM) May 8, 2016

 

@Airbnb is great app.. but then the humans of this world found a way to turn it into a mess. #AirbnbWhileBlack

— Ndafapawa (@LizNailenge) May 8, 2016

 

Reading the #AirbnbWhileBlack thread....this is why I'm always so anxious to travel. Ppl keep saying the world is different. But we know...

— Marissa Mosley (@MarissaMosley9) May 7, 2016

 

When a host responds and says their spot is actually unavailable those dates, but you check later and it's still for rent #AirbnbWhileBlack

— chantal fae (@chantalspeaks) May 6, 2016

 

Yeah right! Now you got a party? #AirBnBWhileBlack pic.twitter.com/st3Ppwfr9s

— ǝlǝǝʇs ˙ɔ ǝlʎʞ (@kylecsteele) May 6, 2016

 

The inherent problem with Airbnb is that hosts can see renters before agreeing to book them – unlike hotel sites. Since Harvard’s study, conducted two years ago, which found that “requests from guests with distinctively African-American names are roughly 16% less likely to be accepted that identical guests with distinctively white names,” the startup has yet to make changes in their design that combat the possibility for discrimination.

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"While we do not comment on pending litigation, we strongly believe that racial discrimination is unacceptable and it flies in the face of our mission to bring people together," Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas said in a statement to Mashable.