Same Difference

Airbnb hosts routinely reject guests with disabilities, sometimes when they have even advertised their homes as wheelchair accessible, according to a new study that adds to growing concerns about discrimination in the sharing economy.

A Rutgers University study of nearly 4,000 requests for lodging on the home-sharing platform found that guests with blindness, cerebral palsy, dwarfism and spinal cord injury were refused at rates higher than people without disabilities. In some instances, hosts who claimed that their homes were accessible were also more likely to approve guests without disabilities, according to the research published Friday.

The report raises new questions about the ethics of Airbnb’s business model, following the #AirbnbWhileBlack scandal that dogged the company last year, centered on revelations that African American guests were denied access at disproportionately high rates. While traditional hotels must abide by anti-discrimination laws, startups such as Airbnb have been able to skirt longstanding…

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