Airbnb host accused of blackmailing guest for cheating on partner

Airbnb host accused of blackmailing guest for cheating on partner

An Airbnb host who sent a photo of her male guest with another woman to his wife is now being sued.

Based on court documents obtained by The Daily Beast, Shawn Mackey is suing Airbnb and Pamela Fohler, who rented her four-bed, two-bath home in Memphis, Tennessee to him while he visited the area from Minnesota for a football game in 2022.

Mr Mackey had planned to have four friends stay with him but wanted a space where he’d be able to bring additional guests if he wanted. He’d gotten a recommendation for a “Little Bit More Country”, the name of Ms Fohler’s home.

He made the reservations for the weekend of 9 to 11 of September 2022 and informed the Airbnb “superhost” that additional guests would be having dinner at the property on one of the nights but would not be staying over, the suit states.

The booking stated that the home could accommodate up to 12 people and Ms Fohler instructed him on how to add his guests to the guest list. He then sent the owner a list of the people he planned to have over, including the number of them he anticipated would be spending the night.

The suit alleges that Ms Fohler then told him the property could only accommodate eight people and that there would be an additional cost for each visitor, regardless of whether they were spending the night.

Additionally, the woman said only four cars would be allowed to park at the property.

Around 40 minutes later, Ms Fohler allegedly demanded that Mr Mackey register the additional guests on the list or leave immediately, adding she’d received complaints of people yelling and swearing in the parking lot.

Minutes later, the owner sent another message accusing Mr Mackey of violating the “no party” rule and told him and his guests to permanently leave the property.

Mr Mackey maintains that none of what the woman said was true. Only one additional guest had shown up at the property out of the five that initially said they’d be there.

“No party had taken place. No one had been yelling or cursing in the parking lot,” the complaint states.

When he realised he had nowhere else to go, Mr Mackey called the woman’s phone number and spoke to her husband, who told him he could stay without further interruption.

The following morning, Ms Fohler sent him check-out instructions for the next day. At the time, she did not mention any fees for additional guests or violations.

That night, when Mr Mackey returned from a dinner, he arrived to discover that he’d been locked out of the property and that the locks had been changed, according to the complaint.

He then contacted the owner to regain access to the residence, which was granted. After he checked out of the property the next day, he left a negative review on Ms Fohler’s Airbnb account, the complaint reads, and requested a refund of $502.

Ms Fohler then allegedly began harassing the man about his negative review and had the accommodation company take it off the website. Airbnb then suspended Mr Mackey’s account for 30 days.

A couple of days later, the woman contacted him with the following message: “Hello Shawn, hope you are well. Sorry it took so long to get the photos you requested together to show your stay at our home.

“But I had faith, was driven by integrity, so I committed to get these posted for you and Airbnb. Photo at 3.16am is especially notable. Should I forward the photos and videos to Teresa or will you? The videos will come shortly. I think they are too big for text so I will post to YouTube.”

“Teresa” is the plaintiff’s wife and the woman photographed with him was not her, the complaint states. Airbnb contacted Mr Mackey two days later to inform him he owed $950. The suit claims that the action constituted “wire fraud”.

Mr Mackey chose against paying the fine. As a result, the woman allegedly then sent a photo of him with the other woman to his wife’s work email address with the subject line “I like your bag”. The man’s marriage has suffered as a result, the suit says.

When Mr Mackey reported the email to Airbnb, the company reiterated that he had to pay the penalty charges and that it could take further action against him. The complaint argues that Airbnb colluded with Ms Fohler because it takes a cut of any fines levied.

As a result of the actions taken by Ms Fohler and Airbnb, Mr Mackey “has been injured, suffered actual damages, public humiliation, embarrassment, mental anguish and monetary losses.” A dollar amount for damages was not mentioned in the suit.

The Independent reached out to Airbnb and Ms Fohler for comment.