Airbnb, a popular site of travel and tourism, paid $7 million to a female tourist after she was raped in a Manhattan rental. The company reportedly paid her so that she would not blame them for the incident.
An Australian traveler received a huge payout for the incident that occurred on the eve of New Year 2015. A 29-year-old Australian woman and some of her friends had rented a first-floor apartment. The victim picked up the keys to the apartment from the nearby shop without showing identification and then went to a New Year Party.
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The incident happened when she returned home without her friends at midnight. The suspect, 24-year-old, Junior Lee was allegedly hiding in the bathroom with a kitchen knife, Bloomberg reported. The outlet says the man is alleged of raping the woman by pointing the knife at her.
Police captured Lee and found from him a set of keys of the apartment in his bag, a knife, and a woman’s earrings. He has been charged with predatory sexual assault and could face up to a life sentence in jail. It is unclear how the offender found the keys to the apartment.
A massive payout
Soon after the incident, the safety agents of Airbnb came and put the woman in the hotel. They also brought the victim’s mother from Australia and offered to pay any health or counseling costs.
Chris Lehane, current head of global policy and communication of Airbnb, was afraid that the incident may draw negative publicity to the company. The woman’s lawyer negotiated a $7 million deal with Airbnb under which the woman agreed not to sue or blame Airbnb and the apartment’s host.
NEW: Inside Airbnb’s “black box” — how a secretive safety team (and $50 million in payouts) helps the company keep bad things quiet
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“In sexual assault cases, in the settlements we’ve reached, survivors can speak freely about their experiences. This includes the NYC case,” Airbnb spokesman Ben Breit insisted in an email to an outlet.
“Our Safety team worked hard to support the survivor following the horrific attack,’’ the rep said.
“We proactively reached out to NYPD after the attack to offer our assistance for their investigation, and we helped get her into a hotel. The priority for our company and our executives were supporting the survivor and doing right by someone who had endured trauma,” he added.
The report was published by Bloomberg as part of their investigation into Airbnb’s “internal safety team”. Former security agent shared some of the most harrowing experiences with the outlet.