A British tourist has reportedly been on the receiving end of a racist tirade from a rental host, who called her a “monkey” among other racial slurs.
The Miami New Times reported last week that Monifah Brown, a 24-year-old event planner from London who was visiting Miami with friends, had been verbally abused by an Airbnb/Booking.com condo host.
After reportedly taking too long to respond to a WhatsApp message, Brown, who is black, was sent several disturbing racist messages Giulia Ozyesilpinar, host of the 3-star Ocean Five Condo Hotel.
The conversation was later released on social media, with screenshots of it shared by Miami New Times. In them, Ozyesilpinar repeatedly calls Brown a “monkey” and a “n*****”. Ozyesilpinar also reportedly sent voice recordings saying, “You’re a n*****” and making monkey noises before asking, “You want banana?”
A friend of Brown posted screenshots of the conversation.
— princess👑 (@eshatianna) June 23, 2019
Booking.com later removed the listing from its database, prompted by the release of the conversation on social media, and responded with the following statement:
“At Booking.com, we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, and if we find that an accommodation listed on our site engages in discriminatory behaviour, we cease our working relationship and remove them from our site, just as we have done in this case. We are also in direct contact with the customer to see how we can best support them further with their trip.”
Airbnb later removed the listing from its database as well, and said: “Discrimination has no place on the Airbnb platform”.
In a phone conversation with Miami New Times, Ozyesilpinar claimed that Brown insulted her first – although the screenshots and Brown’s denial do not reflect that statement.
The social community responded to the news of the dispute by leaving Google reviews calling Ozyesilpinar a racist. A person listed as the owner of Ocean Five Condo Hotel responded with the word “n*****.”
The comments vanished by Monday afternoon, after Miami New Times spoke with Ozyesilpinar. In an earlier comment that remained online, the owner responded to a person who accused her of racial profiling by saying, “We don’t like Monkeys like you with stupid questions.”
Ozyesilpinar told Miami New Times that she didn’t regret using the word “monkey” and added that “being racist is not illegal”.
“We live in a free world,” she says. “We have freedom of speech. If I want to call somebody a monkey, I should be able to say that.”
Following the report by Miami New Times, Ozyesilpinar took to social media, where she posted a picture of Brown’s driver’s license.
In the post, Ozyesilpinar compared Brown to Jussie Smollet, an actor who handed himself over to police for staging a hate crime, and continued by saying that Brown had “started insulting me threatening me”. The conversation between the pair does not back up these claims.