Racist Airbnb Host Invokes Trump in Hateful Tirade

“It’s why we have Trump,” the former host, who was ordered to take a course on Asian American studies as part of her punishment, told a prospective renter.


A former Airbnb host has been dealt a creative punishment following racist behavior against a potential renter: a $5,000 fine and a mandatory college-level course in Asian American studies.

Tami Barker is no longer allowed to rent out homes using Airbnb after the incident, at which time she told potential renter Dyne Suh, “I wouldn’t rent it to u if u were the last person on earth” and “One word says it all. Asian.”

“It’s why we have Trump,” Barker said, according to screenshots of the conversation.

The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in California announced the decision regarding Barker’s punishment last week.

The incident took place in February, at which time Suh, a UCLA law student, had booked a stay at Barker’s cabin for herself and her fiancé over President’s Day weekend. According to Suh, she later asked Barker if it was okay to add two additional people and two puppies to the reservation, which Barker reportedly said was fine.

Suh and her friends were on their way to the cabin during a dangerous winter storm, during which times travel conditions were hazardous and there were flash flood warnings in the area. When the group was close to the cabin — three minutes away, according to Suh — Suh contacted Barker to ask how they could go about paying for the extra two guests.

At this time, Barker told Suh she was not welcome to the cabin.

A YouTube video posted in April shows a crying Suh standing in the storm as she recounted the incident. Suh said in a Facebook comment, “By the grace of God we parked 3 mins away from the airbnb when the host cancelled and there was a news crew KTLA 5 parked next to us. They interviewed me just now.” The Washington Post also identified the video as being that of the KTLA 5 interview.

Barker reportedly told Suh she was “insanely high” if she thought she would be able to stay at the cabin with so many people on a holiday weekend.

According to screenshots of the exchange, Barker said, “And I will not allow this country to be told what to do by foreigners.”

“I’m an American citizen you bigot,” Suh responded.

“Then act like one with respect and dignity instead of a bogo buffet,” Barker said.

Airbnb refunded Suh for the trip and offered to reimburse the group for a hotel.

“We finally found shelter at a cute cabin after two hours of roaming around the snowy mountain,” Suh said on Facebook.

In the video posted to YouTube a visibly upset Suh said, “I’m an American citizen. This is my home. I’ve been here since I was three years old. America is my home. I consider myself an American. But this woman discriminates against me for being Asian.”

“People thought, ‘Oh, with the election of President Obama, racism is over in this country,’” Suh continued. “No, it’s very much alive. It exists. And it can happen to anyone. There’s no bounds to racism. No matter what class you are, no matter what your education level, no matter if you’re an American citizen. What they see is that I’m Asian, what they see is my race. And this is how we get treated. It stings. It stings that, after living in the U.S. for over 23 years, this is what happens. No matter if I follow the law, if I’m kind to people, no matter how well I treat others, it doesn’t matter. If you’re Asian, you’re less than human, and people can treat you like trash.”

In addition to the fine and course on Asian American studies, Barker was also ordered to issue a personal apology to Suh, to take part in a community education panel, to volunteer with a civil rights group and to report rental data to DFEH for four years.

“We commend Ms. Suh, who was motivated to file a complaint by a desire to encourage other victims of discrimination to step forward and stand against injustice,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish.

Also on Facebook, Suh identified Barker as an ESL professor at Mt. San Jacinto College. The school posted on its own Facebook page on July 15: “Mt. San Jacinto College is aware of a recent follow-up news story about an incident involving a former Airbnb host. We can confirm that this individual is no longer with our District, however state employment laws prohibit us from discussing personnel matters.”

In a new post following DFEH’s announcement Suh wrote, “Asian Americans are often left out of conversations about race relations, even though we are also targets of racism and discrimination. The more we speak out, the harder it becomes for people to ignore, deny, or trivialize our lived experiences of being discriminated against like this day-to-day.”
Suh also said that she is “very glad” that Barker’s punishment includes the Asian American studies course.

“I believe that the more people learn about and understand our history and our struggles, the more they can feel empathy towards (sic) us and treat us as equals,” Suh said.

Related Story

No Room at the Inn for Airbnb Guests with Disabilities, Study Shows

No Room at the Inn for Airbnb Guests with Disabilities, Study Shows

Airbnb hosts more likely to discriminate against travelers with disabilities even when advertised as “wheelchair accessible.”

Airbnb has received criticism for incidents involving racist hosts. And a recent Rutgers University study found that prospective renters who identified themselves as having disabilities were more likely to be rejected by hosts using the popular Airbnb website.

The researchers found that 75 percent of their requests were approved for potential guests that cited having no disabilities, while the approval rate plummeted to 61 percent for guests saying they had dwarfism, 50 percent for blind guests, 43 percent for those with cerebral palsy and 25 percent for spinal cord injuries.

Airbnb requires its users to agree to abide by a policy that forbids discrimination based upon race, religion, nation of origin, or disability. The study found little difference in how hosts responded to requests from guests with disabilities before and after Airbnb adopted its nondiscrimination policy on September 8, 2016.

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

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  • I guess the punishment fits the crime but, in my experience, everything Suh said is true. Asian Americans should remember that when interacting with black people. They (Asian Americans) discriminate in the exact same manner without the faux patriotic speech. DI should look into it. And, when I say exact same manner, I mean in renting and services like ride sharing. Then when whites turn on them and discriminate, suddenly they understand civil rights and are activists.
    This story sounds like a privileged whine.

    • I TOTALLY agree with Eric. First of all before I rant. I am an educated (B.S. Electrical Engineering, MBA, and a Certified B-747 Pilot). I am tall, somewhat good looking, well groomed “Marine Look”, and impeccably well dressed at ALL times when leaving my house. My net worth is in the 7-figure category, and my income is 6-figures plus. I am also a 100% Black American male. That being said, from my personal experiences, Asian women are the most racist folks on the planet, when it comes to Black American men. I have lived and traveled the world to various Asian Countries, and find that when it comes to racism towards Black American Men, Asian women are the worst offenders. ESPECIALLY Asian women in America. I have many white American Male friends who are dating or married to Asian women. On various occasions they suggested that I do on double dates with them. When the potential Asian woman find out that I am a Black American, the dates are cancelled without even seeing or talking to me. I also go to various public gatherings where I see Asian’s. When they see me walking towards them in the opposite direction like at the mall, or exclusive stores, they turn there heads and pretend that I am invisible 99% of the time. And don’t forget, Im impeccably well dressed at ALL times. So I have little sympathy for this woman. Maybe, as Ms. Barker signs up for her Asian American studies class, Ms. Suh should sign up for African American studies as well. What a wake up call for Asian women. How ironic.

      • I am sorry that you had/have to experience these things. As a lady, these similar experiences are mostly restricted to me being followed while shopping and comments about my supposed lack of attractiveness (by Asians and whites).

        Anti-blackness is global and white worship is real. Both are very disgusting.

  • Welcome to my world, Ms. Suh. Discrimination know no boundaries, has no date or time. It can happen anywhere, any place, anytime. This is what African-Americans and other people of color have to deal with 365 days/year. At least LEO’s aren’t committing rampant and unchecked genocide against in the Asian community. So, quit your crying, put on your big girl panties and pull out your social road map, cause you have a long road in front of you on this issue.

  • Wow! All three previous posts are insensitive to this woman who faced discrimination. Is it like discrimination faced by others in this country – yes; but why the insensitivity of this Asian woman?

    • Not insensitive. Real. Empathy not sympathy. If it sounds insensitive from your perspective, understand that it’s decades and decades of dealing with (and trying to survive) the ramifications of racism / discrimination and the destruction and oppression of the African-American people and culture. The consequences of discrimination runs deep and impacts people in profound ways.

      • Not only decades of dealing with discrimination, but also being told at every turn WHY you are the problem, WHY everything about you is wrong and HOW you should be more like other groups.

        • And listening to majority people, who aren’t all that successful in their own lives, pontificate on other peoples’/groups’ perceived problems.

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