South African woman pushed down stairs by Airbnb host

South African artist Zanele Muholi has shared a video to social media of a Dutch Airbnb host shoving her friend, Sibahle Nkumbi, down a flight of stairs.

According to Muholi, the guests were “a few minutes late” for checkout when the host turned aggressive. The suspect was arrested and detained by police, and could face a charge of attempted murder.

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The video was also posted to Facebook, where it has been viewed over 50 000 times.

The group was in Amsterdam for an art exhibition. When it came time to leave, they acknowledged that they were late to check out.

“We knew that we were late,” Nkumbi said in an interview. “He was already angry when he was banging the door.”

He then stormed in and physically intimidated Nkumbi, shouting “out”.

He pushed until she eventually lost her footing and fell head first down the stairs.

The group think his anger and violence were racially motivated. According to Nkumbi, he referred to them as “you people,” and said “this is not Africa.”

“Had this been a white person, it would have turned out differently.”

This isn’t the first time Airbnb has had to deal with accusations of racism. A 2015 Harvard study found that users faced “widespread discrimination” when looking for accommodation.

The researchers created multiple fake accounts and found that hosts were 16% less likely to accept distinctively African-American names.

The company has stated that it would work hard to circumvent this discrimination. This included implementing a feature that does not allow hosts to accept guests after they have turned others away due to availability.

In a statement on the violent incident, Airbnb official David King said that the hosts would be banned for life.

“Appalling and unconscionable behavior against members of our community runs counter to everything Airbnb stands for,” he said. “We will take the strongest actions we can against such abhorrent conduct, including banning people for life from our platform and assisting law enforcement with their investigation and potential prosecution. Nobody should ever be treated like this and it will not be tolerated.”

Support for the victims has poured in on social media.

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