HomeTravelAirbnb hosts trashed for banning guests over 220 pounds
Airbnb hosts trashed for banning guests over 220 pounds
September 4, 2020
Here’s one way to sidestep much-needed home renovations.
A pair of Airbnb hosts in the UK are being slammed on social media for imposing weight limits on their two-floor medieval cottage, dubbed “Bobbit’s Lair,” in Sandwich, Kent.
According to the listing on the travel site, guests weighing over 220 pounds (100 kilograms) are not permitted to stay in their two-bedroom townhome. The 15th-century beams, they claim, cannot support the poundage, adding that prospective guests with “eating disorders” need not apply.
At £199 ($265) per night, Bobbit’s Lair currently boasts a four-star rating (out of five) based on three reviews so far. The roughly 600-year-old home also has a “modern” kitchen and hot tub.
Self-proclaimed fat activist Lindsay McGlone was among the first to spot the egregious mandate and shared it with her 16,900 Instagram followers.
“I shared the listing because the people who wrote it need to be held accountable because it’s extremely damaging and I wanted it removed,” McGlone, 22, told Kennedy News.
“Specifying a certain weight is fat-phobic, as it’s discriminating against people who have a larger body,” she continued. “They’re saying they don’t want fat people in their vicinity, and they don’t want to take fat people’s money.”
The listing was reportedly edited to remove any mention of an “eating disorder,” although it kept the weight restriction. Later, the listing was removed from Airbnb’s site altogether.
Today, the listing has returned, but without any indication of weight preference.
Hosts Marcus and Zsu gave Kennedy News a statement via email, which attempted to elaborate on their controversial demand: “We had someone ask about the bath size then how wide was he [sic] doors were. We said ‘not suitable for disabled guests.’ Then the penny dropped once they booked we had to cancel as the cottage could of [sic] got seriously damaged during ‘their’ stay. Understand the pictures are wide angle, bigger than average people are NOT ALLOWED TO STAY!”
McGlone added that she believed the hosts may have been acting on some “internalized fat phobia” and were “trying to justify it” by using the old home as a scapegoat.
“That doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re still being discriminatory. It’s trying to find a way to justify what they’ve said. It’s absolutely appalling,” said McGlone.
When Insider reached out to Airbnb for comment, they responded, “Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where everyone can belong anywhere. Discrimination and bias have no place in our community, and we suspended the listing while we addressed the matter raised. We enforce a strict non-discrimination policy and under our Open Doors initiative, if a guest feels they have been discriminated against, we will provide personalized support to ensure they find a place to stay.”