Of Airbnb, Sex Work and Obviousness
by Calico Rudasill, Sssh.com porn for women and couples
For some people who read articles about Airbnb deleting the accounts of known sex workers, I’m sure the reason for Airbnb’s (entirely unstated, possibly nonexistent) ‘policy’ of denying service to sex workers is obvious: Airbnb doesn’t want to become a location-finding service for porn producers or sex workers.
The problem with thinking of this as a no-brainer for Airbnb, however, is easily found in the details of both Julie Simone’s experience (linked above) and that of Andre Shakti, a more recent recipient of an Airbnb termination notice. In both cases, there appears to be no suggestion either of them ever used the Airbnb properties they rented or merely intended and attempted to rent for the purposes of sex work.
The service “discriminates against sex workers” Shakti tweeted earlier this week. “I’ve NEVER worked out of an AirBnb, have great reviews, yet got disabled.”
You’re free to be skeptical and say you don’t believe them, or to argue Airbnb is within its rights to deny rentals to both Shakti and Simone based on concern over how they might use properties found through the service, but to make the argument, you’re going to have to ignore some other rather obvious things.
Additional Obvious Thing #1: ANYBODY Can Be A “Sex Worker” or “Client”
Since it’s not particularly practical for Airbnb to go around trying to connect the name of prospective renters to those of suspected sex workers or clients, it will remain fairly easy for sex work to take place inside properties found through the service, should such an arrangement strike the fancy of any given renter.
If the purpose of denying accounts to sex workers is to prevent sex work from happening within Airbnb rentals…. Well, all I can say is good luck, folks.
Hotels, guest houses, landlords, colleges, governments, police departments, parents and various other entities and authorities have been trying to keep sex work from happening within their respective spheres of influence since we began keeping track of time – and I think we can all agree the results have been mixed, at best.
The elephant in the rented room here, by the way, really isn’t sex work, but sex itself. Which brings me to….
Additional Obvious Thing #2: Unpaid Sex Happens, Too
Whether I’m renting out my place to a complete stranger (something which has never happened, and I’m informed will only ever happen over the dead body of a certain person to whom I’m married) or handing it over to a friend or family member who will be looking in on my cats and ignoring my house plants while I’m on vacation, I have a very simple policy regarding houseguests and sex: Try not to think about it.
Seriously, what other policy makes sense? I’m going to tell a grown-ass adult not to have sex in my home when I’m not there? What; I’m her grandmother all of a sudden?
As a practical matter, if I’m not there to restrain them, anybody I leave alone in my home could be fucking anyone or anything (including my toothbrush?) while I’m gone. I figure so long as they leave behind no evidence of their sexual dalliances, I can sustain myself entirely on plausible deniability from there.
As such, if Michael Lucas ever happens to shoot a scene at my house, I ask that he do only three things. Clean up well enough afterward I never have to know what happened; bring and use (and leave with!!) only sex toys he brought with him and not each and every one which happens to be laying around; and redecorate the place enough before turning on the camera that I won’t recognize the background when I inevitably have to review the scene for one of my clients’ sites.
Additional Obvious Thing #3: A Little Courtesy Goes A Long Way
While I suspect the reason for Airbnb’s resolute silence on the question of why they deleted Simone and Shakti’s accounts has something to do with avoiding legal pitfalls, as a matter of customer service, being told “because I said so” is even less satisfying to an adult than it is to the child you’re treating her like she is.
Just as I’m fairly certain the account deletions are connected to their sex work, I’m also fairly certain Airbnb will never come right out and say so, whether it be to Shakti and Simone or anyone else. Most likely, they’ll stick to their vague guns, citing some broadly-worded section of their terms and conditions, then sit back and hope the whole thing blows over without the divulgement of any further specifics becoming necessary.
I guess it makes sense, from Airbnb’s perspective. After all, if you don’t mind being grossly unfair to and arbitrarily dismissive of sex workers, even when they’re also your customers, I suppose denying them the simple courtesy of an explanation is just the obvious thing to do.