Home NewsU.S. News Airbnb apologizes for Mississippi ‘slave cabin’ listed as luxury getaway after viral TikTok video

Airbnb apologizes for Mississippi ‘slave cabin’ listed as luxury getaway after viral TikTok video

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Airbnb apologizes for Mississippi ‘slave cabin’ listed as luxury getaway after viral TikTok video

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Airbnb listings in Mississippi seem to have everything a traveler asks for in a bed and breakfast: suites with sophisticated antique furniture, soft linens, brand new bathrooms and Netflix on smart TVs.

But the Panther Burn Cottage, which the mansion proudly advertises, is something else: The property is an “1830s slave cottage” that housed enslaved people on a plantation in Greenville, Mississippi.

Airbnb has faced a backlash since a TikTok video of New Orleans-based entertainment and civil rights lawyer Wynton Yates about the listing went viral.

“The history of slavery in this country has always been denied,” Yates said in Friday’s video, “and now it’s been turned into a luxury resort and ridiculed.” Yates, who is Black, added, “This Not at all.”

Now, Airbnb has apologized and noted on Monday that it was “removing listings known to include the residences of former slaves in the United States.”

“Property previously housing slaves has no place on Airbnb,” Airbnb spokesman Ben Breit said in a statement. “We apologise for any trauma or sadness caused by the existence of this listing and others like it, and we did not act sooner than later. Take action to address this issue.”

Brad Hauser, who took over ownership of the Greenville property last month, said in a statement to The Washington Post that while the building is a doctor’s office, not a home for enslaved people, it is “a former owner’s.” Decided to market where slaves once slept.” Hauser, who is White, said he “strongly disagreed” with the previous owner’s decision and vowed to provide guests with a “historically accurate picture” of life on the Belmont Plantation.

“I’m not interested in making money from slavery,” said Hauser, 52, who apologized for the list of “insulting African-Americans whose ancestors were slaves.”

It is unclear how many Airbnb listings in the United States feature properties that have once housed some of the millions of enslaved black people. Several properties known as slave quarters in Georgia and Louisiana have been removed from Airbnb’s website, according to Mic.

‘These are our ancestors’: Descendants of enslaved people are diverting plantation tourism

Yates, 34, told The Washington Post on Tuesday that he first learned of Greenville’s listing in a mass text message. Yates said his brother’s friend was looking for rental properties in Greenville, about 100 miles northwest of Columbia, South Carolina, and found that Panther Burn Cottage was the only available listing.

So when Yates’ brother shared the list in a family group text message Friday, New Orleans lawyers were shocked and thought the same: “This is crazy.”

“Watching plantation weddings and events in plantations and suburbs and subdivisions named after plantation and plantation owners is something I feel sick about every day of my life. But it’s a new kind of disrespect to slavery ,” Yates said. “It blows my mind to see enslaved spaces being refurbished into luxury spaces and rented out.”

Screenshots of the listing show the cottage adjoining a 9,000-square-foot mansion with nine bedrooms and eight bathrooms. The lavish building, built in 1857, is the “last surviving antebellum mansion” in the Mississippi Delta, according to the listing.

The listing then references the history surrounding the much smaller cottage.

“This particular structure, the Panther Burn Cabin, is an 1830s slave cabin from the existing Panther Burn Plantation to the south of Belmont,” the listing reads. “It was also used as a tenant tenant cottage and a medical office for local farmers and their families to see the plantation doctor.”

The previous owner noted in the listing that the cottage was moved to Belmont Plantation in 2017 and “beautifully restored” while retaining some of the cypress planks used in the original built in the 1830s. Panther Burn Cottage is being advertised on Airbnb as “the last surviving building on the legendary Panther Burn Plantation”.

Despite the history of enslaved people living in the cottage, Yates noted in his TikTok video that that hasn’t stopped guests who live there from leaving rave reviews about “memorable” listings. Through a representative, Hauser said the comments were for an unrelated Arkansas property, not a Greenville listing.

“Enjoyed everything about our stay,” commented one woman in July 2021.

“We live in the cottage, it’s both historic and elegant,” another wrote last October.

“Going into the history, the hospitality of the South, what a delightful place to stay for a night or two!” said one guest in March.

Yates said the contrast between Panther Burn Cottage, which was inhabited by around 80 enslaved blacks in the 1800s, and whites now using it as a lovely, luxurious getaway is “exciting”.

“It was built by enslaved people and lived there by enslaved people who died of overwork, infectious diseases, starvation and heartbreak. They died in those places,” Yates told the Post. “It’s not a comfortable situation.”

After Yates’ TikTok video of “slave shacks” was viewed more than 2.6 million times, Airbnb said it not only removed all listings that were advertised as former residences of enslaved people, but was “working with experts to develop new policies to address issues related to enslaved people’s former residences.” Other Property Issues Related to Slaves”. slavery. “

Hauser told The Washington Post that when he initially asked about the building behind Belmont, the previous owner told him it was not a hut for slaves and was not advertised. He said he was “misleading” about the lodge, noting how Airbnb and Booking.com had suspended advertising contracts with Belmont Hotels “pending further investigation”.

“I intend to do my best to right a terrible mistake and want to re-advertise on Airbnb so that Belmont can meet the most pressing need to tell the history of not just the South, but the country as a whole,” Hauser said in a statement.

Yates said he didn’t know if Airbnb’s apology would lead to avoiding situations like Panther Burn Cottage in the future. When asked what he would say to owners of buildings that once housed enslaved black people, Yates had a clear message: “Stop romanticizing the experience of slavery.”

“Because that’s what it is,” he said. “It was profiting from slavery.”

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