After the story of a harrowing AirBnB hosting experience broke wide last week, both the victim Emily/E.J. and the company's CEO Brian Chesky have seen fit to respond with their respective sides of the story.
Writing in another blog post titled "AirBnB Nightmare: No End in Sight" last Thursday, E.J. addressed accusations that she was secretly a hoaxster (or at least a hotel industry worker) while also taking apart AirBnB's earlier response. Regarding whether or not E.J. is a real person, she writes:
I do exist. I am a real person using a nickname my parents stuck me with long ago. I do not work for the hotel industry, though I admit I love a Four Seasons as much as the next girl. Oh and on that note, I am female.
That might not be enough evidence win over the skeptics in the audience, but E.J. goes on to explain that she has held on to her anonymity out of fear - which is understandable given the personal information allegedly taken from her apartment. And then there's the issue of the ongoing criminal investigation.
According to E.J, the suspect apprehended was booked for previous crimes. No charges have been brought in her particular case. That doesn't exactly jive with what CEO Brian Chesky wrote on TechCrunch a week ago. She also goes on to explain that the company never "secured her safety" - which was mostly done through her own efforts contacting the authorities, changing her locks and arranging alternate housing. So Chesky responds today in another post on the company's own blog:
With regards to EJ, we let her down, and for that we are very sorry. We should have responded faster, communicated more sensitively, and taken more decisive action to make sure she felt safe and secure. But we weren’t prepared for the crisis and we dropped the ball. Now we’re dealing with the consequences. In working with the San Francisco Police Department, we are happy to say a suspect is now in custody. Even so, we realize that we have disappointed the community. To EJ, and all the other hosts who have had bad experiences, we know you deserve better from us.
So, in an effort to rebuild trust among AirBnB hosts, the vacation rentals site is implementing a $50,000 insurance police that covers, "loss or damage due to vandalism or theft caused by an Airbnb guest." Along with promises to bolster their support team, AirBnB's move is a good policy (and slick PR) moving forward, but there's still not much of a resolution for E.J.