Host Discriminates Against Guests’ Dietary Needs?


My name is Ryan Lobo and I am an author, filmmaker, TED Talk speaker, and photographer based in India. I am writing to you because I believe that I have been discriminated against due to my Indian ethnicity by a host in Almaty, Kazakhstan. I had inquired with this host about renting his apartment in Almaty for my wife, child and myself and requested a discount as we were taking it for 20 days. My wife is of Russian ethnicity and I am Indian, evident from our photographs.

The host wrote me immediately, saying that Indian food or spices are strictly not allowed in his apartment and asked for an extra deposit/amount from me which he would return after ‘inspecting’ the apartment if I were to take the place. As far as I know, Airbnb’s terms state that people cannot be discriminated against or charged extra based on national origin/race and additional charges or deposits cannot be placed on them.

The host then declined my inquiry when I told him that I do not eat Indian food and requested to know why he was charging me extra. Do please look into this as I believe Airbnb is supposed to be inclusive and non-discriminatory. I have flagged the post.

Posted in Airbnb Host Stories and tagged , , , , , .


  1. So should Indians also be banned from extended stay hotels that have kitchens? After all, it’s ok to assume the food will stink by looking at a photo, right? I can ban any black person no matter where they are from because the ones from the Caribbean use curry too, right? What about white people? They steal everything so they probably use curry or will stink up the rental with a stale mayonnaise smell, right? And then if a guest complains you will all take my side and say it’s just my choice to be a racist, stereotyping, POS?

  2. Anyone who introduces themselves as a “TED Talk Speaker” should legitimately be discriminated against as reused any aurbnb listing—because seriously?? You think that TED is a thing? Anyone who can talk and be weird and have words come out of their
    mouth at the same time can be a TED “speaker”. Geez. I was OK with the Indian food, but the TED thing was insufferable.

  3. Indian food is not a dietary need, like someone else has already stated. Eating vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, peanut-free etc are dietary needs (due to moral or health reasons).

    The host is probably concerned about you stinking up his place and then having to deal with complaints from future guests. I am not of Indian origin but do like all kinds of food so most of the time I cook something that is not native to my region (frequently Indian 🙂 ). I doubt that I would have been judged like you have even though we both may have cooked Indian food (I am white). In this case you could have said that you weren’t planning on cooking anything too powerful in smell, but this host may simply have bad experiences with Indians. Ask any host and they will know people from certain countries/cultures more often exhibit certain behaviour, sometimes poor behaviour. I don’t think it’s right to paint everyone from a certain race with the same brush but it’s the host’s decision and if he has other options and can decide to go with someone he deems lower-risk, or someone he sees as higher-risk, the choice is easily made.

  4. Gluten free is a “dietary need.”

    Vegan is a “dietary need.”

    Indian/Mexican/Italian food is not a “dietary need.”

    “Discriminate” has become the go to word for someone not being able to get their way.

  5. David – That’s ridiculous that a host would charge someone extra or ask for a deposit if they cook in a certain way. Cooking smells are easily erased, smoking however does more that leave a scent, it stains curtains and walls etc. Also, it used to be in Airbnb that the longer you stayed the more of a discount you would get. It is not unusual to ask for a discount on stays longer than 2 weeks. I would say that this host was indeed being racist by charging more because the occupant was Indian.

  6. Unfortunately, my experience with Indian guests is similar: they negotiate every single penny to get the cheapest bet possible and leave the apartment an absolute pigsty. Does this make me racist? I simply prefer hosting people with basic, common sense living standards:)

  7. This is not discrimination. This is a business decision on the part of the host. The fact that you asked for a discount is also a red flag to hosts. If it helps consider cooking Indian foods akin to not allowing smoking in a room. It’s done for the comfort of future guests.

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