Airbnb hosts suspended for “fatphobic” weight ban
UK: Owners of a Kent cottage have had their Airbnb listing suspended after users criticised “fatphobic” and discriminatory rules.
The listing had prevented anyone with a weight of over 100 kilograms [220 pounds] from renting the property.
Hosts Zsu and Marcus, owners of the cottage Bobbit’s Lair, initially forbade anyone above the weight limit from booking, as well as forbidding guests with eating disorders. In a post clarifying their original position, the hosts claimed that due to the cottage’s “very old oak beams” the weight limit was necessary to avoid damage.
Their advertisement specified other particular rules, including bans on red wine and moving furniture. It was initially taken down before being reposted without the eating disorder rule while keeping the weight limit.
Fat-positive activist Lindsey McGlone discovered the listing, making a post on Instagram highlighting the objectionable rules. The post described the hosts as discriminatory and fatphobic, demanding that the listing be taken down and the hosts banned from the site.
McGlone said to Metro: “I shared the listing because the people who wrote it need to be held accountable because it’s extremely damaging, and I wanted it removed. Specifying a certain weight is fatphobic as it’s discriminating against people who have a larger body.”
Airbnb has currently removed over 1.3 million users worldwide as a part of its anti-discrimination policy. It added to this policy in June, partnering with Colour of Change to improve the racial discrimination aspect of the programme.
The company has committed to examining the matter at hand, suspending the listing until a decision is made.
An Airbnb spokesperson said: “Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where everyone can belong anywhere. Discrimination and bias have no place in our community, and we have suspended the listing while we address the matter raised.
“We enforce a strict non-discrimination policy and under our Open Doors initiative, if a guest feels they have been discriminated against, we will provide personalised support to ensure they find a place to stay.”