So this guy fancied a holiday, and found a lovely property to rent. It was available for the dates he wanted, it was just the right size, and it was in a beautiful location.

What could possibly go wrong? 

Apart from trying to use AirBnB whilst being Black. His booking was rejected.

Just to check it wasn't a random rejection, he got a white friend to try booking the property for the same dates. Suddenly, it was available again.

This isn't just a one-off incident, either. There's an entire Twitter hashtag, #AirbnbWhileBlack, and  Vox has written about it, too.

Public versus private

The problem is similar to the story that happened in the UK, where a same-sex couple booked a room in a B&B, but were turned away for being gay. They took it to court, and won their case - because when you make rooms available for the public, you are providing a public service, and therefore cannot discriminate.

Surely the same principle applies here? Especially when you consider that a huge number of properties on Airbnb are not really private homes at all, but are surplus property let out by agencies. Both times that I have booked an apartment on Airbnb, I have been met by an agent on arrival.

There is absolutely no excuse for racism in this day and age, and Airbnb need to think long and hard about their business model if this kind of thing is slipping through the net.