Thursday, July 28, 2016

When discrimination comes in shades of gray - USA TODAY

by Christopher Elliott 
Originally published: July 26, 2016

Do you suspect that your vacation rental owner may be discriminating against you? Travel Expert Christopher Elliott shares ways to hold them accountable for their behavior.

The sharing economy discriminates. Don't believe me? Try renting a vacation home with young kids or a service animal.

Or if you're black.

Greg Selden knows what that's like. A talent agent from Richmond, Va., he says he recently asked about the availability of an Airbnb rental in Philadelphia, but the host told him it was already booked. Selden, who is African American, then created two fake accounts that featured photos of white people, and the accommodations became available.

Selden is suing Airbnb for violating the Fair Housing Act and his civil rights. Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas says racial discrimination is "unacceptable and it flies in the face of our mission to bring people together." Last week, Airbnb hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to help it create an anti-discrimination policy.