Airbnb settled a lawsuit with three Black women who accused the company of facilitating racial bias toward them.
The three women, Carlotta Franklin, Ebony Price and Pat Harrington, accused Airbnb of allowing property owners to discriminate by display customers’ full names and photographs prior to booking a stay, according to The Oregonian.
The women settled for an undisclosed amount and released separate statements promising Airbnb would “review and update the way profile names are displayed to hosts as part of the booking process.”
It is unclear how the settlement will affect Airbnb’s policies in the future.
In 2018, the company changed its rules to allow hosts to forgo requiring photos from potential renters. If hosts opt for the photos, they are only shown after the booking request is accepted.
Racial discrimination has been an issue for Airbnb since Black travelers started voicing their displeasure on social media.
A 2016 study by Harvard Business School found Black people were 16% less likely to be accepted compared to their white counterparts. The Daily Beast reports the study’s results were constant regardless of the type of home, the diversity of the neighborhood or the affluence of the area.
The study prompted Airbnb to launch an internal investigation and their results showed Black people were the least accepted of all demographics. Airbnb co-founder and CEO, Brian Chesky, called racism “the greatest challenge we face as a company... It cuts to the core of who we are and the values that we stand for.”
The company hired civil rights attorney Laura Murphy, a Black woman, to help them navigate their race issues. Her influence led to the inclusion of an agreement hosts had to sign in order to list their properties.
“I agree to treat everyone in the Airbnb community—regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age—with respect, and without judgment or bias,” the agreement read. “Discrimination prevents hosts, guests, and their families from feeling included and welcomed, and we have no tolerance for it.”