Two weeks ago, #AirbnbWhileBlack was a trending topic because black travelers aired their grievances with hosts who refused to rent to them because of their race.
One man in particular, Gregory Seldon, told his story of how he was refused a Philly rental last year using his real name and photo. But as soon as he made a fake profile using a white man’s photo and a new name, the same renter offered him the place.
On Tuesday, Seldon slapped the company with a proposed class action in a Washington D.C. federal court saying that the company has routinely violated the Fair Housing Act and the civil rights of people of color.
The complaint alleges that 25-year-old Gregory Seldon was denied accommodation in Philadelphia in March 2015 due to his race.
According to Mashable, the lawsuit also claims that Airbnb “shamed Selden for speaking out” when he complained about the discriminatory practices.
The host renting out his place said it was “people like [him] were simply victimizing [himself],” according to court documents.
Seldon is seeking injunctive relief and unspecified damages as part of the class action.
Airbnb’s director of public affairs responded to the lawsuit.
“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,” wrote Nick Papas. “…We are taking aggressive action to fight discrimination and eliminate unconscious bias in our community.”