A location listed on Airbnb as a “slave cabin” was removed from the platform after a TikTok user spoke out against the company profiting from a former slave location.
Wynton Yates, a black lawyer from New Orleans, blasted Airbnb over the listing labeled “The Panther Burn Cottage at Belmont Plantation” in Greenville, Mississippi.
“If you were to see just the pictures of the inside of it, you’d have no idea [of] the history of that building, and I think for me, that is a mockery of the experience,” Yates told USA Today. “It is the continuation of erasing what the experience of slavery was.”
Yates’ posted a video to TikTok speaking out against the rental listing used as “a tenant sharecroppers cabin” and “a medical office for local farmers and their families.” The property was also listed as an “1830s slave cabin.” The post has garnered more than 2.6 million views.
In an interview with Mic, Yates added that the listing felt like a mockery of the history of American slavery.
“Growing up, [my family] would take my siblings and my cousins and I and put slave shackles in our hands so that we could feel the weight of the steel that was put on our ancestors’ bodies to contain them,” Yates shared with the outlet. “To see someone just blatantly make a mockery out of it just didn’t sit right with me.”
Viewer comments expressed widespread shock over the property’s purported historical usage, including the mention that more than 60 reviews had been left by people who had stayed at the cabin.
“How do you sleep there and not feel the pain in that room?” one user asked.
“This is soooo not ok!!!” another responded.
“I wouldn’t be able to sleep in there knowing the pain and suffering slaves went through. Who does this?” one commenter asked.
“I am not even sure where to start with this one. Can’t believe people actually stayed there and reviewed it,” still another person commented.
A follow-up video by the lawyer claimed that the cabin had been moved from its original location to its current spot.
According to a report by TMZ, an Airbnb spokesperson says they’re removing listings that are known to have included former slave quarters on site in the U.S.
The company also apologized for “any trauma or grief created by the presence of this listing, and others like it, and that we did not act sooner to address this issue.”
According to USA Today, the property changed ownership last month. The new owner, Brad Hauser, said he opposed the previous owner’s decision to market the building as a place where enslaved people once slept. He said that the cabin had actually not been slave quarters, but just a doctor’s office.
“I intend to do all I can to right a terrible wrong and, hopefully, regain advertising on Airbnb, so The Belmont can contribute to the most urgent demand for truth-telling about the history of not only the South but the entire nation,” Hauser said.