Discrimination major challenge for Airbnb

The biggest challenge facing Airbnb is not the regulatory crackdown from cities such as New York, but blatant discrimination occurring on the company’s platform, CEO Brian Chesky has said.

Airbnb was late to acknowledge and address discrimination, Chesky said, admitting it was not a problem that he and his fellow co-founders gave much thought to when designing the platform.

Harvard Business School study last year found persistent discrimination by Airbnb hosts, who were less likely to accept bookings from guests whose names sounded distinctly African-American.

Airbnb is in the process of a 90-day study on how it can address the racism and discrimination, Airbnb’s legal officer, Belinda Johnson, said.