Airbnb Agent Pens Amazing, Hilarious Request To Remove Inappropriate Photo

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Vacation rental service Airbnb proves this week that you can run a streamlined community-driven business and respond to its users’ gripes on a friendly case-by-case basis, contrary to what Facebook would like you to believe.

Facebook has been slammed countless times in the past for running an automated content-blocking filter that enables homophobes to effectively ban harmless LGBT-related content and the users who post it. Rather than respond to complaints individually, Facebook relies on a robot to make a judgement call on what is “appropriate” on the site.

But that’s not how Airbnb rolls, apparently. Though they operate under similar terms of service as Facebook, an Airbnb customer service agent named “Kristi L.” personally responded to a less-than-humble photo posted on the site this week, proving a little human compassion and friendly interaction can go a long way.

The photo in question (above) was posted by legendary New York event producer Daniel Nardicio on a page advertising his Fire Island cabana rental. It shows two go-go boys standing in the shower that comes with the property.

Kristi L. writes Daniel:

Dear Daniel-

I hope this message finds you well! My name is Kristi and I’m a specialist with the Trust and Safety Team here at Airbnb.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that official introduction out of the way, your (admittedly, mesmerizing for my tastes) photo for this listing: [link] has garnered more attention than may be warranted for the listing itself. I’m a writer of m/m erotica and was very, um, pleased to see your photo, but I think it may be just outside of our current realm in terms of general non-risqué photos for listings. Again, not saying that I personally didn’t think it was captivating, but if you didn’t mind putting up a photo less visually – compelling – while still keeping the verbiage, some of us will sigh with disappointment, but it will also fit more soundly in our Terms of Service.

If you didn’t mind dropping me a line when you insert a different photo, I’d be grateful. Also, if you happen to know any friends with ringleted red hair, please let me know; my most recent writing submission could use a book cover.

In all seriousness (and the book cover part was serious!), I’m so glad you’re hosting with us, just want to ensure that the preliminary photos are showing more of the listing.

My warm regards,
Kristi L.

“In my line of work, I often get asked to tone things down a little,” Daniel tells Queerty, “but this by far is the best, kindest and funniest customer service letter I’ve gotten! Kristi L is an Airbnb employee I want to have a drink with!”

Customer service gold star for Airbnb right here! Somebody please get Kristi a raise, and more importantly, a hot ginger boy for the cover of her novel.

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  • Billy Budd

    But the photo doesn’t show no penis and no butt. Not even a kiss. Why is it forbidden?

  • Franco C.

    She wrote a very thoughtful letter. I wish more people put this much care into their work.

  • KirwanArts

    Such a great example for handling this situation. Sadly, it is also very labor intensive which is why far too many companies would not employ such a wonderfully thoughtful person. As for her cover image, she should contact artist Michael Kirwan (who is great with red heads) to have him create an original drawing of exactly the guy she envisions in her book.

  • tdx3fan

    @Billy Budd: My guess is that they don’t want to overwork their staff by creating a situation in which the staff will constantly have to deal with customer complaints. That is just common sense. This is a property listing site. I can understand that. If it was a couples site, I think the response would be very different.

  • sfbeast

    If you look at the airbnb ad now, they have cropped too much. The place also looks like a bit ummm grim.

  • IcarusD

    @Billy Budd: I was wondering that, too, but then looked a little more closely. The photo about was cropped for Queerty, but below it is a caption with a link to the uncropped original. I personally think it’s fine, but I can see why AirBNB would want a slightly tamer version.

  • Geeker

    Those go-go “boys” are looking a little

  • sanfranca1

    Nice, pleasant letter. However, she should revisit English class & verb tenses. Twice she says “if you didn’t mind”, which in the context of the letter, should be “if you don’t mind”.

  • manonyme

    yes, it seems Kristi is not just a kind person, but someone who’s smart enough to understand how far generosity of spirit can get you. Being nice to people doesn’t always originate from a person with a decent moral compass. If you need people to do stuff for you/with you they’ll be more inclined just on account of you NOT being a d**k.

    I actually think the people in Customer Srvc.are kind and wanna be helpful, but it’s corporate policies and legal protections for the firm that leave the consumer with the short end of the stick…good read -thankx for sharing.

  • Cam

    Funny e-mail, good move on her part.

  • DaveNY

    @Billy Budd: Click to see the original. There is definitely dick. And everything, really, except actual peen itself. Cropped as it is for Queerty, it actually would probably be fine.

  • montserrat

    @Geeker: haha I totally thought the same thing.

  • crowebobby

    They’re go-go boys?!!!!

  • Charlie in Charge

    Score a victory for reasonableness!

  • vive

    Maybe list the original on gaybnb.

  • Queer4Life

    Happy making all round.

  • allegiance2none

    If they were fat ugly guys nobody would give a rat’s ass.

  • flexika

    they have to go on the gay airbnb :

  • lalahead

    now that’s what I call a golden shower

  • jwtraveler

    My experience with airbnb was nothing like this, but I found their customer service to be inefficient, incompetent and dishonest. But then I didn’t have the pleasure of corresponding with Kristi.

  • takingliberties

    I can’t believe that they’re go-go boys.

  • EvonCook

    Actually this may simply be yet another ploy by AirBnB to get their name in the media. AirBnB may serve some needs, but there is no getting around that fact despite them spending big, major big bucks for PR that it is completely illegal for most apartments in New York AND Paris. All rent controlled and stabilized apartments in New York forbid using it to rent out short term your apartment, almost all co-ops and condos have rules forbidding the same practice because it is dangerous and troublesome for neighbors and residents alike. And in Pairs the French are even more protective of the limited housing resources for their citizens. AirBnB is fine if you OWN your own house and want to risk strangers being invited in. Now, sounds more interesting. By the way, when I clicked on the photo the two guys were holding towels and we not naked…that seems contrary to what others reported.

  • mujerado

    @Billy Budd: For a rental ad it really is a bit extreme. The man on the right is holding a cloth that drapes over his penis in such a way as to display it as much as it conceals it. I like it, but the men don’t come with the property, so it’s a bit misleading!

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