A Black TikToker is putting Airbnb on blast after a host was caught renting out what used to be former slave quarters as lodging.
Wynton Yates, who goes by @lawyerwynton on TikTok, went viral for calling out the Panther Burn Cabin in Greenville, Mississippi. In the listing shown in Yates' video, the accommodation is described as "an 1830s slave cabin from the extant Panther Burn Plantation to the south of Belmont."
“This is not ok, in the least bit and I know there’s gonna be somebody that says ‘oh you’re looking for controversy where it doesn’t exist.’ No this is an 1830s slave cabin that is up on Airbnb as a bed and breakfast," the TikToker says in the clip. "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."
Yates then directs his attention to the reviews of the cabin, which praise the Airbnb for its historic nature, amenities, and views.
"‘Memorable.’ ‘Highly recommend watching the sunset.’ ‘We stayed in the sharecropper cabin and ate in the main house.’ ‘Enjoyed everything about our stay the cottage, the history, the tour, the breakfast and all was great,'" he says. "'We stayed in the cabin and it was historic but elegant.’ A slave cabin is elegant."
He ends the TikTok, which has over 2.5 million views as of Monday morning (August 1), by saying this: "The history of slavery in this country is constantly denied and now it’s being mocked by being turned into a luxurious vacation spot."
Hours after the post, Yates posted another video claiming the Airbnb listing has been taken down.
"You guys act quick. Y'all are fast," he says.
In an interview with The Daily Dot, Yates says people commonly host weddings and other events at plantations in the South. He argues that these slave quarters should be preserved in a historical capacity rather than be used for people's entertainment.
"That’s the biggest thing about it, the mockery of slavery and the experiences of the people that were enslaved in that space. These people were enslaved in that place. They were forced into hard labor…raped…beaten," he tells reporters. "They didn’t have anything that was theirs. Not even these shacks were theirs. Within those spaces they made it their own to sleep and eat and be with each other in a place that wasn’t it. This is their one place of refuge [from] just atrocities. Now you’re modernizing it and acting as if those experiences didn’t occur in that space."
An Airbnb spokesperson also addressed the controversy in a statement to The Daily Dot: "We are taking this report seriously and have deactivated all listings associated with this property as we investigate."