On Friday, April 7, 2017, the Korean American Coalition (KAC) contacted both parties embroiled in the Airbnb host and guest exchange that has since been at the center of a media firestorm highlighting the discriminatory language used by the host.
On April 10, KAC held a press conference with Airbnb user Dyne Suh to acknowledge and applaud her courage in speaking out against the discrimination she experienced from an Airbnb host, Tami Barker. The screenshots of the exchange, in which Ms. Barker made racial and discriminatory remarks and denied Ms. Suh access to an Airbnb residency, went viral, and KAC offered Ms. Suh a platform to speak through this press conference. The Executive Director of KAC Joon Bang said, "We don't want to use this opportunity to vilify someone for his/her actions, rather we want to highlight the courage of Ms. Suh for sharing her story and encouraging others to speak up against discrimination."
KAC also brought attention to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Center (4.29 Center) as a resource for anyone in need of mediation and dispute resolution. The 4.29 Center places special focus on working with the diverse ethnic populations of Los Angeles County to resolve disputes outside of the courtroom.
KAC's Press Release (April 10, 2017) can be read here.
Media coverage: Korea Daily, Korea Times, Koreatown Daily, Radio Korea, LA18, SBS Evening News, MBC America, KBS America, RKTV
On April 18, KAC commended Airbnb host Tami Barker on her formal apology. After sending her apology to Ms. Suh, Ms. Barker contacted KAC and provided a copy of her apology. Ms. Barker stepped up and formally apologized to Ms. Suh, with her attorney saying "Ms. Barker is deeply sorry for the comments she made. She asks your forgiveness for grossly stereotyping in a racist way the Asian community, and, specifically, you. Overtired and stressed, Tami made the statements out of heated frustration - but that's merely a reason, not an excuse, as she explained to me she fully understands. She knows there was no basis for her ad hominem attack."
"It takes courage to admit wrong and seek forgiveness in the face of public scrutiny. Given the climate of race relations in the nation, it's up to us now to move forward and perhaps be willing to engage one another in tough conversations to bridge gaps between diverse people and communities," said Joon Bang, Executive Director of KAC.
KAC's Press Release (April 18, 2017) can be read here.
Media Coverage: Korea Daily, Korea Times