This post is a bit of a follow-on to @O_Apartments ’ post regarding racist guests.
I host in San Francisco. My listing describes the “urban, multicultural neighborhood” and specifically mentions its present/history as a predominantly African American residential neighborhood.
Still, I get a number of racist guests every year. My worst story this year is that of the threatening doorbell.
The guest checked in without incident, but later in the evening sent a message stating that he was taking his family out of the Airbnb and leaving San Francisco.
His reason? he claimed that a black man “kept ringing the doorbell and wouldn’t stop”, as well as that this black man was gesturing for him to come downstairs. He claimed that he felt the need to “protect his family”.
This guest called the police and (not kidding) asked for an escort out of the city. I have no idea how many times he had to call, how afraid he had to sound, or how much spare time the police had, but my cameras showed the police arriving about 6 hours later and him leaving with them. He messaged that the police had escorted him out of the city.
I checked my security cameras afterwards. The cameras showed that a black man rang the doorbell once, then waited, rang the doorbell a second time, looked at his phone and walked away. I can only guess that he had the wrong address. The guy did look up at some point. Maybe he said “Hello”? I have no audio on my cameras.
The guest later demanded a refund and was refused. The guest left a 2-star revenge review which Airbnb accepted.
What can I do about this? Not much. I’ve concluded that the racists don’t really read the description. I could ask guests if they are afraid of brown people after booking, but this would probably create tension and put them off. Maybe I could put photos of African-Americans in the listing to ward the racists away?