Airbnb came under fire this week when a TikTok video went viral that showed a listing of what the owner described as an “1830s slave cabin.” The company has since apologized and vowed to make changes to other listings of “former slave quarters”.
TikTok, titled “This Isn’t OK,” shows screenshots of a housing rental that was listed as “The Panther Burnt Cottage @ Belmont Plantation” in Greenville, Mississippi.
“This particular structure, the Panther Burn Cabin, is an 1830s slave cabin from the existing Panther Burn Plantation south of Belmont. It is also used as a tenant shareholder cabin and a medical office for local farmers and their families. Plantation Doctor,” reads a screenshot of the listing.
According to its website, Belmont Plantation is “the last antebellum mansion by the river in the Mississippi Delta.” A cached page listing of the website shows that it was “a sharecropper’s cottage at the back of the property; the most private space on the property and the only place with a TV.”
TikTok post Wynn Yates continues to show pictures of the cabin, saying, “In someone’s mind how is it okay to rent it? A place where humans were kept as slaves, rent it as a bed.” But give me breakfast?”
The listing had 4.97 out of 5 stars and 68 reviews, which TikToker called particularly noteworthy. Photos of the cottage show a clawfoot tub, and tile and light fixtures. The listing also describes it as having “exquisite antique furnishing” and “turn down service”. It also says that the cabin is the “last surviving structure” from the Panther Burn Plantation.
Screenshots from reviews on TikTok showed people saying it was a “memorable” stay. Another person said they “enjoyed everything about our stay” and it “made a perfect stop on our cross-country trek.” Last March, one person said it was “a pleasant place to step into history, Southern hospitality, and stay a night or two.”
“The history of slavery in this country is constantly being denied and now being ridiculed by turning it into a luxurious vacation spot,” Tiktoker said, pointing to photos of the listing, which included a clawfoot tub and other amenities. Between the nice tile and light fixtures are visible. ,
Airbnb told CBS News that “properties that previously held slaves have no place on Airbnb.”
“We apologize for any trauma or grief from the appearance of this listing and the likes of it, and we did not take action soon enough to address this issue.”
The company said it has removed the listing and is removing other listings in the US that are known to include former slave quarters. The company also said it is “working with experts” to create new policies that address assets that might otherwise be associated with slavery.
It was unclear how long the listing was live on Airbnb. Tiktok shows review for August 2021.
Following Airbnb’s apology, Yates posted another video with an apology from the property’s owner, Brad Hauser, who said he only owned the property for three weeks.
“I apologize to our guests for their decision to stay in the ‘Slave Quarter’ behind the 1857 Antebellum home, which is now a bed and breakfast. I also apologize for insulting African Americans whose ancestors were slaves, Hauser wrote.
He continued to say that he had “strongly opposed” the previous owner where the slaves lived and that the building was “never part of any plantation”.
“I’m not interested in making money out of slavery,” he said. “The plan is to no longer advertise the slave quarters. … I will provide guests with a historically accurate depiction of life when Belmont was occupied by both the family homeowners as well as the slaves. 80 or so slaves They bought those who had no control over their lives.”
According to Hauser, the original owner of the building told its previous owner, Josh Cain, who listed the property on Airbnb, that it was not used as a slave quarter and was not old enough to house slaves. Rather, the building was used as a doctor’s office. State property records show that Joshua B. Cain was listed as the first property owner.
“They also asked Cain to stop advertising it as a slave quarter when the building was acquired,” he said. “Cain refused.”
He also said he would find experts to provide more information about the property and that he was looking forward to “correcting a terrible wrong.”