Porn Stars Say Airbnb Booted Them Off Service

Aug 5, 2016 3:49 PM PST

LOS ANGELES — Banks and financial service companies for years have put barriers in front of adult entertainment performers, covertly declining services to them because of their occupation as sex workers.

Now, it appears there is one more service — Airbnb — that has put a foot in the door to those in the business of adult entertainment.

Two porn stars have come forward, claiming that they’ve been booted from the giant online marketplace that enables people to list, find, then rent vacation homes for a processing fee.

Porn stars Julie Simone and Andre Shakti both recently came forward telling their stories about being kicked off Airbnb’s online site.

"I didn't even get a chance to use their service,” Simone told XBIZ on Friday. “They flagged me right away and banned me.”

Shakti, who moonlights as an occasional Cosmopolitan columnist when she's not performing in BDSM, said she received an email in June saying that her Airbnb account had been disabled at the company’s discretion and that the decision was “irreversible” and that the company wasn’t “obligated to provide an explanation.”

"I may be a sex worker, but I've never utilized an Airbnb for sex work — only leisure/vacations — and had nothing but stellar reviews from hosts," Shakti wrote in a Facebook post. "As a side note, all of the sex work that I do is 100 percent legal, so they can't even claim that I'd be potentially subjecting them to litigation. This is blatant discrimination, and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. Completely unacceptable."

Airbnb officials wouldn’t comment to XBIZ for this story after repeated queries for information regarding its decisions about the adult stars who’ve been booted.

For Simone, whose been in adult for the past 19 years primarily working on BDSM productions while operating her own site, JulieSimone.com, traveling globally is essential to her business. So not being able to use Airbnb while working in a legal profession is a predicament for her and likely for others in the adult biz.

“It's a scary world where one can be punished for something they haven't even done yet,” Simone said. “The fact that performers have no recourse and our legal names and stage names are out on the internet linked together for all to see without our consent also disturbs me.” 

The discriminatory practice of redlining against those in the adult entertainment business is famous. PayPal, JPMorgan Chase, Visa, Square and MasterCard all have systematically denied or closed accounts of performers and others in the biz.

In 2014, numerous adult stars — including Teagan Presley, Stoya and Veronica Avluv — complained over discriminatory acts against the those working in the adult biz. At the time, many surmised that financial institutions cut off offerings because the U.S. Justice Department was applying its own pressure on the banking system to snuff out certain disfavored businesses through an initiative called “Operation Choke Point.”

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