WASHINGTON — How long must a man pay for crimes he's committed in the past, even after he's completed his sentence?
That's the question one D.C. man has for Airbnb. Rapper Young E Class said he's done the time for his crime, but he's still feeling the effects of the actions he took when he was a teenager that resulted in another person losing their life.
Young E Class said his Airbnb account was terminated because of his criminal record. He was convicted of second-degree murder in 2004 and spent 13 years in prison. He was charged as an adult at age 15.
Now an entertainer, he said Airbnb is what he typically used when out on the road until the company canceled his account last week without warning.
Airbnb has a policy that states it may choose to not have business dealings with people who have been convicted of certain serious crimes, though the company generally doesn't take action against people convicted of low-level offenses. The company is an online marketplace for lodging - primarily involving stays in people's personal residences. An appeals process is available for people who have been removed from Airbnb's app.
“I said, well, when I signed up for the app, they didn't ask me was I a convicted felon,” Young E Class said.
Young E Class doesn’t hide his criminal record. As a teenager, he made one of the worst decisions of his life. “I was convicted of second-degree murder,” he said.
In the nearly six years since his reentry back into society, he’s walked a different path, choosing a life in the rap game instead of the streets. Often on tour, he typically chose Airbnb's over traditional hotels.
“It's been a wonderful platform for me. Also, budget-wise, it saves money and things of that nature and privacy and not having to worry about certain extremities that come with booking hotels,” Young E Class said.
But last week, he said without warning, his account was terminated. He immediately filed an appeal. Despite his appeal, Airbnb responded and doubled down on its decision to terminate his account.
WUSA9 reached out to ask how they became aware of his criminal past and if any felons are allowed to use their platform.
In a statement to WUSA9 they said:
"For the safety of our community, Airbnb may take action to remove people with convictions of certain serious crimes, including violent crimes. We understand that there may be a number of reasons someone may have a criminal conviction on their records. We take those considerations into account and generally do not take action on certain low-level offenses, such as non-violent drug possession convictions.
We have implemented a rigorous, evidence-based appeals process to assess whether someone can be reinstated after removal, even if their criminal record would otherwise make them ineligible.
We acknowledge that Emanuel’s original appeal was closed quickly and warrants further consideration. We plan to engage with him through a much more thoughtful appeals process to learn more about his situation and gather as much information as possible."
But Young E Class said while this situation is frustrating, it speaks to a greater issue. Will society ever see him beyond the crime he committed? Does anyone believe in the rehabilitation he received spending nearly half of his life behind bars?
“It feels like double jeopardy and it feels like you've been charged over and over and over again. When it comes to business, I think I should be treated fairly if my money is good. If my behavior is good and things of that nature, I don't think I should be judged off my past (about) something that I completed,” he said.