Guest accuses me of having racist drawing, tosses it, and leaves one star for cleanliness!

I had a recent guest who went through my personal belongings and found a signed portrait I had commissioned to give to a friend, who is an African American man. I paid quite a bit of money to have this drawing made by a local artist. Iggy Pop, Conan O’Brien, and President Obama, to name a few, have works by this artist in their collections. I was planning to have the drawing framed and matted. The guest found the drawing among my personal belongings, and in the review claimed that it was racist. In the private part of the review, he explained that he threw the artwork in the trash! He then left a one star for cleanliness. My house has never been more clean, as the day prior, we had an Airbnb photographer come in so I had my crew make the house sparkle as it never has. I am shocked that Airbnb is refusing to remove the review and they can claim that I am a racist, when my best friend, who the picture was drawn for, is a black man!

Since that is on the platform you should charge him for it and/or make airbnb reimburse you for it.

The 1 star for cleanliness isn’t related to the artwork, it’s related to something else, right?

A lot of what you post here is irrelevant. Unfortunately “I’m not a racist, I have black friends” is from the racist playbook. Anyway, luckily they didn’t suspend your listing. I suggest getting paid for the art and moving on.


I do hope you left an honest review for the guest and made a claim for the cost of the ‘artwork’. As he admitted throwing it away it should hopefully be fairly straightforward. @Nearthesea

Who’s the artist by the way?

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The only part of this problem that seems to have any sort of relevance is that the guest threw away an item belonging to the host. Guests will give weird stars for places sometimes - accepting it and moving on is just part of the job.

Just photograph the receipt for the artwork, make sure that you still have his comment that he threw it away (both items as evidence) and then claim for the amount. Job done.

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It’s not just that “I have black friends”, it’s that this was a commissioned portrait of him. To claim that it was racist was utterly ridiculous.

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The artist is Ron Winnick. Thanks for your feedback.

I’m not in a position to comment on that as I wasn’t there. I’m simply saying your choice of words in defending yourself here was unfortunate.

As for the parts of your story that we are all interested in, please do update us on Airbnb’s action pursuant to this case including reimbursement or removal of the review. If they haven’t suspended your account then they aren’t taking any claims that you are a racist seriously.


Is it even legal to do that? I agree with claiming damages & honest review without the racist part. I recently had a guest who installed a new shower head in my shared bathroom late at night while I was asleep!! I was stunned. She threw mine in the trash. When I told her to take the new one off, she got mad at me, said mine was shit (It’s like a fire hydrant) & she was sick of trying to help ungrateful people like me. I left a factual review.

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I call BS on this. Really - the guest went through your personal items, found an original painting, threw it in the trash? And then privately said you were a racist? And you are looking for airbnb to somehow make this all ‘right’ for you?


That is appalling.

@KKC this is one of the few times I have to disagree with you. He had to burrow through her private things, and without context, toss a portrait of one of her friends in the trash.

Nope, nope, nope. YEs, he has to pay for the cost of the artwork, and yes guest should be banned.

I would want to know in public host feedback that guest went through a host’s personal belongings.


I’m looking for Airbnb to remove the review as it is based on their feeling about a portrait and not on anything factual.

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If this guest was actually stupid enough to put in writing that they tossed out personal property as the OP claims … ban away!

And … not that air would do so (cause lazy), but also setup an alert for the associated client cookie and ip address, in case they try to setup a new account.

@Nearthesea. You may wish to consider better security and restricting all access to your personal spaces.

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Do you have a photo of the artwork? Why would he say a portrait is "racist’? You should send a copy of the picture along with the text from the message, and ask not only for compensation, but have the review removed because it’s a revenge review, and his private message proves it. After you send the message, THEN you call Customer Service to followup and ask that the review be removed, and also ask that he be banned from Air. Unfortunately removing the review probably means that you won’t be able to review him so that other hosts can be warned.

As others have said, any personal items in your rental should be in locked storage, because guests who are renting a space will always assume the entire space is theirs.


Ah never heard of him, but I am not from the US,

What did Airbnb say when you lodged the claim for compensation?

What was it about the photo that could have made the guest think it was racist?

Personally if a guest had gone through my personal belongings I would have thrown them out. No ifs. No buts.

Just want to throw in to be really careful about being accused of being a Racist. In the other Airbnb host group I’m in, I’ve read that Airbnb is quick to shut down a STR when the R word is used while they research the issue. They will then cancel all of your reservations and if you are “Fortunate” they may contact you randomly at 2 in the morning to discuss 3 weeks later. Too bad if you miss the call. Seriously, I have read some real horror stories about what Airbnb has done to some hosts without proof or documentation.

I’m a bit shocked by some of the above comments. It sounds as if people think it’s perfectly ok for a guest to accuse a host of racism (about the most serious accusation you can make in today’s US) in a public review and the host should simply put up with it and “move on”?

False accusations can be very damaging both personally and to a business, as shown in the post by @Lynick4442.

My guess is that, like many portraits now, it is a caricature rather than a realistic representation? These often exaggerate the subject’s appearance, but are surely completely acceptable as a present for a friend.


I would be LIVID. That’s inexcusable and you should clearly be reimbursed. Beyond that, the emotional stress this has caused is not as easily “fixable”. I’m sorry and feel terrible for you!


You are exactly correct. It is indeed a caricature of my friend. I don’t have the original anymore so I but will most likely hire the artist to make another and I can then post it here if that’s allowed.

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It wasn’t until I saw the private review that I learned he had thrown the artwork in the trash. I would have definitely thrown him out has I known!!

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I missed where we are at the moment - have you claimed from his deposit for the value of the artwork?