Airbnb paid an Australian tourist $7 million in hush cash after she was allegedly raped at knifepoint in a Manhattan rental by an assailant who one way or the other had a replica of the condo’s keys, in response to a brand new bombshell report.
The alleged rape occurred early on New Years’ Day in 2016 after the unnamed 29-year-old lady and a number of other pals rented a first-floor condo on West thirty seventh Street, just a few blocks south of Times Square, in response to a Bloomberg report printed Tuesday.
The company allegedly picked up their keys from a close-by bodega earlier that night time with out exhibiting identification, then went out to a New Years’ Eve celebration.
When the sufferer returned from a bar with out her pals shortly after midnight, the suspect, 24-year-old Junior Lee, was hiding in the toilet, Bloomberg reported. He pointed a kitchen knife at her, grabbed her and raped her, in response to the outlet.
When police captured Lee later that night time, they allegedly discovered a set of keys to the condo in his bag, alongside a knife and one of many lady’s earrings.
He was charged with predatory sexual assault and will resist life in jail, in response to the report. Lee pled not responsible and stays in custody.
The Legal Aid Society, which Bloomberg stated is representing Lee, didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Hours after the alleged assault, “safety agents” from Airbnb swooped in, placing the girl up in a lodge, flying her mom in from Australia and providing to pay any well being or counseling prices, in response to Bloomberg.
Chris Lehane, a former political advisor who’s now working as Airbnb’s head of worldwide coverage and communications, was reportedly afraid that the incident could be used to assist run Airbnb out of New York through the trip firm’s fiery battle with regulators.
It’s unclear how Lee allegedly acquired a key to the condo, however Lehane and others at Airbnb have been apprehensive that the tourist would convey a lawsuit in opposition to the corporate over its key coverage — which doesn’t require hosts to make use of keypad locks that change codes between company, or disclose who else has a replica of the important thing, for instance.
The lady’s lawyer, Jim Kirk on the Kirk Firm, negotiated a $7 million settlement two years after the alleged assault that forestalls her from blaming or suing Airbnb or the condo’s host, in response to Bloomberg.
Airbnb spends about $50 million on payouts to company for authorized settlements and injury to properties annually, in response to the report.
Airbnb, Lehane and Kirk didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
The beforehand unreported incident was revealed as a part of a broader investigation into Airbnb’s “internal safety team,” which is accountable for cleansing up the corporate’s worst crises.
Former Airbnb security brokers described many different surprising incidents to Bloomberg, together with hosts who found dismembered human stays in their properties or bloodstains.
Some brokers stated in addition they needed to console company who needed to run from secluded cabins and conceal in wardrobes after being assaulted by hosts, in response to the report.
In one other incident, a number reportedly discovered an Airbnb visitor bare in mattress together with his seven-year-old daughter.
Until 2017, each one that signed an settlement with Airbnb over incidents like these was reportedly required to signal a non-disclosure settlement, which means that many different harrowing tales might have gone unreported.
After the #MeToo motion uncovered how such agreements can be utilized to guard abusive firms, Airbnb changed the non-disclosure settlement with a clause saying that “recipients can’t discuss the terms of their settlement or imply that it’s an admission of wrongdoing.”
Airbnb additionally employed high-profile political operatives to assist negotiate the potential publicity nightmare of such incidents.
In addition to hiring Lehane, who labored as a spokesperson for the Clinton White House, the corporate introduced on Nick Shapiro, a National Security Council advisor to President Barack Obama and deputy chief of employees on the Central Intelligence Agency.
“This brought me back to feelings of confronting truly horrific matters at Langley and in the situation room at the White House,” Shapiro, who helped deal with the Midtown rape case, instructed Bloomberg.
In May 2020, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky reportedly cried on a video name as he introduced he was laying-off 25 percent of the company’s workers — together with 25 of the corporate’s most skilled security brokers.
He later partially reversed the choice and briefly employed again 15 of the employees on time-and-a-half pay, in response to Bloomberg.
Airbnb, which went public in December in a blockbuster IPO valuing the corporate at greater than $109 billion, lately made a light-on-details announcement that it’s working with rental company Vrbo to crack-down on “party houses.”