This is not okay in the least bit,” begins a viral TikTok video that called out an Airbnb listing of a former slave cottage located on an antebellum cotton plantation in Mississippi. The video, which references Panther Burn Cottage at the Belmont Plantation in Greenville, Mississippi, has racked up over 2.6 million views in five days.
“This is an 1830s slave cabin that is up on Airbnb as a bed and breakfast. How do I know that this is slave quarters other than just using my eyes and looking at it? Well, they say it in the listing,” says an incredulous Wynton Yates, a Black attorney from New Orleans, who posted screengrabs of the listing in his video. “How is this okay in anyone’s mind to rent this out, a place where human beings were kept as slaves?”
In his video, Yates also took aim at what he and many others would consider tone-deaf reviews posted by mainly white guests. “’Memorable. Highly recommend watching the sunset!” said one. “We stayed in the cabin and it was historic but elegant. The bed was very comfortable,” said another. “What a delightful place to step into history, southern hospitality and stay a night or two!” cooed a third.
Airbnb removed the listing the same day that Yates posted his video, and said it also removed other listings of former slave quarters in the U.S. “Properties that formerly housed the enslaved have no place on Airbnb,” the company said in a statement released to news outlets. “We apologize for any trauma or grief created by the presence of this listing, and others like it, and that we did not act sooner to address this issue.”
The new owner of the property has also apologized, according to USA Today.
Panther Burn Cottage appears to have been removed from other vacation rental platforms, including RentByOwner.com, where the property had been listed for $150 a night, with amenities including air conditioning, internet and parking. It was described as child-friendly and pet-friendly.
Panther Burn Cottage is located on the Belmont Plantation, where slaves were used to harvest cotton during the antebellum period leading up to the Civil War. The 9,000-square-foot mansion, built in 1857 for the estate’s owners, is now operated a luxury bed and breakfast and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for half a century.
Far from offering a historical glimpse into the living conditions of slaves, Panther Burn Cottage’s listing depicted the property to be well furnished and comfortable, featuring a four-poster bed, clawfoot tub and other modern amenities.
“Life on the fields meant working sunup to sundown six days a week and having food sometimes not suitable for an animal to eat,” according to USHistory.org. “Plantation slaves lived in small shacks with a dirt floor and little or no furniture.”
“The history of slavery in the country is constantly denied, and now it is being mocked by being turned into a ‘luxurious vacation spot,’” says Yates in the video.