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A Picturesque Cabin In The Woods Was Listed On Airbnb. The Catch? No COVID-Vaccinated Guests Allowed.

Airbnb told BuzzFeed News the listing for the cabin in Montana violated its COVID misinformation policies.

Posted on May 24, 2021, at 5:25 p.m. ET

the Airbnb app seen displayed on a smartphone screen with the Airbnb website displayed on a laptop in the background
Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Nestled in the woods of western Montana sits a two-bedroom cabin that, according to its Airbnb listing, promises guests "a safe place to rest, relax, enjoy nature and the surrounding activities."

There is just one big catch: no vaccinated visitors allowed.

"WE ARE RESTRICTING THE CABIN TO NON-COVID VACCINATED GUESTS ONLY," the owner had written in the listing, which was shared on Twitter by journalist Charlie Warzel. "For the health and safety [of] not only other guests but also ourselves, all COVID vaccinated guests are asked to find another vacation rental that allows vaccinated guests."

Warzel, a former BuzzFeed News staffer who now has a Substack column, said he was sent the listing by a fellow Montana resident who wanted him to look into it. When he couldn't find other Airbnb listings with similar no-vaccine policies, he decided to tweet out the post, which was then shared hundreds of times.

Was just sent an Airbnb listing for a cabin in western Montana that, uh, only allows NON-vaccinated visitors. The next few months will continue to be fun, I'm sure...

Twitter: @cwarzel

BuzzFeed News has seen a screenshot of the listing, but is not identifying the property or its location to protect the privacy of its owner.

The woman had written, falsely, in the Airbnb listing that it had been "scientifically proven" that people who have received vaccines that use mRNA technology, such as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, shed proteins through their skin or breath, and pass these along to unvaccinated people.

That is not true.

The myth of "vaccine shedding" is just that: a myth. Scientists and officials have stressed that the COVID-19 vaccines are overwhelmingly safe and effective. More than 280 million doses have been administered so far in the US.

Still, intrigued by the listing, Warzel messaged the woman through Airbnb's platform to ask how she could verify if someone was unvaccinated.

In a response he also shared on Twitter, the woman said they were using an "honor system."

"If you say you haven't taken the shots we trust you and you're more than welcome here," she wrote.

UPDATE: I asked the host how one proves they've been vaccinated. Their response:

Twitter: @cwarzel

After Warzel's tweets went viral, he received one final response from the owner, telling him he was no longer welcome.

"The cabin is not and will not be available to you," the woman wrote. "And you know exactly why."

Update 2: I think they saw the tweets! (fwiw I did not request to rent it, only to message the host!)

Twitter: @cwarzel

Airbnb spokesperson Ben Breit told BuzzFeed News the listing for the cabin was suspended Sunday night "for promoting COVID misinformation in violation of our content policy."

That policy forbids Airbnb hosts from posting content that "encourages guests to ignore applicable health or travel advisories" or "includes any health information specific to COVID-19," among other things.

Warzel, who writes about technology and online culture, said he was surprised — and depressed — to learn that even Airbnb needs to have a policy regarding misinformation.

"It's sort of wild, I guess," he said in an interview. "It's odd that the vectors for misinformation continue to be more and more obscure.

"It's not just a 60-minute video that somebody produced, or a tweet that someone wrote, but you're browsing weekend getaways in western Montana and you come across this potentially dangerous misinformation about COVID.

"It's very dystopian."

Correction: Airbnb spokesperson Ben Breit's name was misstated in an earlier version of this post.


A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.