Airbnb apologises for ‘slave cabin’ listing in Mississippi

Airbnb has apologised and removed a listing for a Mississippi property described as a “slave cabin”.

The company took action after a TikTok video of Panther Burn Cottage at the Belmont Plantation in Greenville, Mississippi, went viral.

“Properties that formerly housed the enslaved have no place on Airbnb,” the company said in a statement.

”We apologize 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.”

The issue was raised by Wynton Yates, who is a Black lawyer from New Orleans, and the listing has now been taken down.

“How is this okay in somebody’s mind to rent this out? A place where human beings were kept as slaves, rent this out as a bed and breakfast?” he said in his TikTok video.

Mr Yates also posted pictures of the property, which is a small wooden cabin with a bedroom and bathroom.

In his video, it was described as “an 1830s slave cabin from the extant Panther Burn Plantation to the south of Belmont. It has also been used as a tenant sharecroppers cabin and a medical office for local farmers and their families to visit the plantation doctor.”

Mr Yates explained in his video that the painful history of slavery was not sufficiently recognised at the property, which was found on Airbnb by his brother as he looked for a place to stay in Mississippi.

“Maybe you’re thinking, ‘Okay maybe this will give people insight into how enslaved people had to live, their living conditions.’ No, not at all. Clawfoot tub, running water, tile, nice lighting fixtures, water, towels, dresser,” he said.

“The history of slavery in this country is constantly denied and now it’s being mocked by being turned into a luxurious vacation spot.”

Brad Hauser, who only became the owner of The Belmont last month, said it had been advertised as a slave cabin under the previous owner.

“I apologize for the decision to provide our guests a stay at ‘the slave quarters’ behind the 1857 antebellum home that is now a bed and breakfast. I also apologize for insulting African Americans whose ancestors were slaves,” he said in a statement to NBC News.

He told the news organisation that he would provide guests with a “historically accurate portrayal of life” at the property and the 80 slaves that were purchased by the plantation’s original owners “who had no control over their own lives.”

He also said that the small wooden cottage was not original to the plantation and that its original owner had said it was used as a doctor’s office and not old enough for slaves to have lived in.

“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,” Mr Hauser said.