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Woman allegedly raped at New York Airbnb obtained secret $7m settlement – report | Airbnb


An Australian woman who was allegedly raped at knifepoint in an Airbnb residence in New York obtained a secret settlement of $7m which included restrictions on what she could say regarding the incident, in accordance with a media investigation into the vacation listings massive’s “visitor security” insurance coverage insurance policies .

The 29-year-old was attacked in a property near the vacationer magnet and central Manhattan crossroads of Instances Sq. early on New 12 months’s Day in 2016, Bloomberg Businessweek reported, prompting the swift intervention of a faithful Airbnb catastrophe administration “taskforce”.

The group, in accordance with Bloomberg, “cleans up solely after catastrophe strikes” and on this case relocated the woman to a resort, paid for her mother to fly from Australia, then returned the pair once more dwelling with journey, properly being and counselling costs lined.

The following settlement, the article claims, was among the many many largest ever paid by the $90bn agency, which it talked about routinely spends tens of 1000’s and 1000’s of {{dollars}} yearly legally to resolve with prospects such incidents with doubtlessly hostile public relations penalties. It moreover provides with points resembling the need to compensate Airbnb property hosts for hurt introduced on by renters.

Underneath the phrases of an settlement negotiated with Airbnb by the woman’s New York authorized skilled, and paid out two years after the incident, she was prohibited from discussing it, suing the company or implying that Airbnb held “duty or legal responsibility” for the assault.

In an e mail to the Guardian, Airbnb denied it had tried to muzzle the woman. “In sexual assault instances, within the settlements we’ve reached, survivors can converse freely about their experiences,” spokesperson Benjamin Brait talked about.

He didn’t dispute completely different particulars of the Bloomberg report, nevertheless added that Airbnb’s “trust and safety” group was an open and integral part of its complete purchaser assist operation.

“The precedence for our firm and our executives was supporting the survivor and doing proper by somebody who had endured trauma,” he talked about.

“Our security staff labored exhausting to assist the survivor following the horrific assault. We proactively reached out to NYPD [the New York police department] after the assault to supply our help for his or her investigation.”

Jim Kirk, the woman’s lawyer, declined comment, telling the Guardian in an e mail that “we don’t have something so as to add to the Bloomberg piece”. He talked about his shopper wished to remain anonymous and was turning down all media interview requests.

The sufferer and numerous different mates had rented the residence, actually one among 4 throughout the 12-apartment midtown Manhattan property that was listed on the Airbnb web page, for a model new yr’s celebration. In accordance with police data seen by Bloomberg, she returned to the property alone and was attacked by an individual with a knife who was hiding inside the remainder room.

The alleged rapist, who’s in custody awaiting trial, was caught by police an hour later. He had allegedly returned to the establishing with a knife, one among many woman’s earrings and duplicate keys to the residence.

It’s unclear how he had the set of keys, the report talked about, nevertheless the ladies knowledgeable police that they’d picked up their very personal set, with out being requested to supply identification, from a neighborhood consolation retailer, per the check-in instructions from the reserving’s host.

On the time of the incident, Airbnb was embroiled in a dispute with New York Metropolis authorities over the regulation of short-term leases of non-public homes. Firm officers, Bloomberg talked about, had been concerned that hostile publicity over the alleged rape had the potential to affect the success of its operations.

A doc seen by Bloomberg purports to level out that Airbnb pays about $50m yearly to hosts and guests, which contains hurt to property and licensed settlements.

The investigation by the knowledge group appeared into numerous incidents, along with the murder of a Miami woman in Costa Rica by the protection guard of the Airbnb property at which she was staying, a case the company settled, with out admitting obligation.

In a single different incident, reported by the Guardian in 2017, a New Mexico woman claimed to have been sexually assaulted by a “super-host” whose property she had rented.

That woman’s lawyer, Teresa Li, settled the case for an undisclosed amount sooner than it went to trial. She knowledgeable Bloomberg that such settlements make it robust for courts to find out the extent to which net itemizing firms are accountable for crimes devoted at their properties.

“Every thing is getting despatched to arbitration so no one actually is aware of,” she talked about. “The one factor that actually motivates [Airbnb] is the specter of dangerous PR or a nightmare within the press.”

Shares in Airbnb, which launched as a public agency on the Nasdaq stock alternate in New York in December, fell by better than 3% on Wednesday after the Bloomberg report was printed, sooner than rising as soon as extra throughout the afternoon.

The agency, primarily based in 2008 by entrepreneurs Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, grew to dominate the net holidays listings market, nevertheless lost almost 80% of its business in eight weeks last yr as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic worn out journey in and between many countries, ensuing within the laying-off of 1 / 4 of its employees.

Final August it launched it was banning dwelling occasions and limiting customer numbers at its properties worldwide in response to criticism over rowdy lockdown gatherings.

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