Airbnb removes “slave cabin” from its platform

(CNN) — An Airbnb listing for “an 1830s slave cabin” was removed from the rental site after a TikTok video about the property went viral.

The Panther Burn Cottage, located on the Belmont Plantation in Greenville, Mississippi, was removed by Airbnb, and the company apologized for the listing on Monday. The owner also apologized, stating that the cabin rental ad was a holdover from the previous owner, who had blocked it from social media and property rental accounts until the TikTok post went viral.

“Properties that formerly housed the enslaved have no place on Airbnb. We apologize for any trauma or pain created by the presence of this property, and others like it, and for not having acted sooner to address this matter,” Airbnb said in a statement. a statement provided to CNN.

The company said it is removing other rental sites including former slave quarters in the United States and developing new policies.

Belmont Plantation’s new owner, Brad Hauser, also apologized for the announcement.

“As the new owner for three weeks of The Belmont in Greenville, Mississippi, I apologize for the decision to offer our guests a stay in ‘the slave quarters’ which is located in the back of the 1857 antebellum house now operating like a ‘bed and breakfast’. I also apologize for having insulted black people whose ancestors were slaves,” Hauser said in a statement to CNN.

He also said that when he bought the farmhouse he was told that it was not a slave quarters because the building was not old enough to have housed enslaved people.

airbnb cabin slaves

The Airbnb listing, which the company has since removed, says the property is “an 1830s slave cabin.” Courtesy of Wynton Yachts

In a now-private promotional video posted on YouTube by the previous owner, the cabin is said to have been moved to the plantation several years ago from Panther Burn, Mississippi, and was initially a two-bedroom sharecropper’s cabin that became a a doctor’s office.

Hauser said in his statement that he “strongly opposed the previous owner’s decision to advertise the property as the place where slaves once slept after working the cotton fields in human slavery.”

Hauser told CNN that he has no plans to rent the cabin again.

Joshua B. Cain is listed as the previous owner in 2021 property records reviewed by CNN.

Hauser says that Cain did not transfer ownership of the online advertising assets associated with the plantation until after the controversy began.

CNN has contacted the previous owner, Joshua Cain, for comment.

“This is not right in the slightest,” Wynton Yates said late last week in his TikTok video. Yates found out about the Airbnb post when his brother shared it in his family group chat. His original post had 2.6 million views as of noon Tuesday.

“How is it okay in someone’s mind to rent this, a place where human beings were kept as slaves, to rent this as a lodging place?” Yates, an entertainment attorney in New Orleans, asked in his viral post.

airbnb slaves

Wynton Yates captured these images of the cabin before the ad was pulled. Courtesy of Wynton Yachts

Yates, who is black, told CNN that renting the renovated cabin is “an outrageous level of this outrage of just disrespecting and making a mockery of what the slave experience is because we’re in a country where we’re still experiencing the repercussions of slavery.

In his initial TikTok video about the property, Yates said he was especially upset about the criticism from guests.

“We stayed in the cabin and it was historic yet elegant,” one guest wrote in a review shown on a screenshot in the video and read aloud by Yates. “A slave cabin is elegant,” he repeats incredulously.

“The history of slavery in this country is constantly denied, and now it’s mocked by turning it into a luxurious vacation spot,” he said on TikTok.

While some people who saw his post have called for these buildings to be destroyed, Yates said in a subsequent post that he believes these buildings should remain.

Yates told CNN that it is up to the plantation owners or those who want to buy them to research the enslaved people who lived and worked on the land in order to give an accurate account of the story.

Yates said attacks on the teaching of an accurate history of slavery and attempts to erase history will make future generations think slavery was a myth.

Hauser, the new owner, told CNN that he is working to find experts to help him identify the people who lived and were enslaved on the Belmont Plantation to provide an accurate account of history.

— CNN’s Marnie Hunter contributed to this report.

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