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Angry Airbnb host sent guest’s wife security photo of him with another woman, lawsuit claims

angry-airbnb-host-sent-guest’s-wife-security-photo-of-him-with-another-woman,-lawsuit-claims
Angry Airbnb host sent guest’s wife security photo of him with another woman, lawsuit claims

A vengeful Airbnb host took a security photo of her married guest “in the company of another female” and emailed the image to the man’s wife after a failed extortion attempt triggered by a bad review, according to a lawsuit.

Shawn Mackey, from Mississippi, is suing Airbnb and “superhost” Pamela Fohler, accusing them of invading his privacy, inflicting on him emotional distress and causing “damage” to his marriage.

Mackey’s 22-page complaint, initially filed in September and obtained by The Post Wednesday, alleges Fohler emailed his wife a screenshot from a door camera taken after 3 a.m., showing Mackey with a woman who was not his wife.

The “superhost” allegedly waged the campaign of vengeance after he refused to pay $960 in fees and penalties for having extra guests and breaking house rules,

The compromising image was sent from a bogus email account allegedly set up by Fohler and pretending to be Mackey.

“The plaintiff’s marriage has suffered as a result,” the suit states.

The Post contacted Airbnb seeking comment on the lawsuit.

An image from a security video shows Airbnb guest Shawn Mackey, right, with a woman who is not his wife after 3 a.m.

An image from a security video shows Airbnb guest Shawn Mackey, right, with a woman who is not his wife after 3 a.m. Mississippi District Court

In September 2022, Mackey rented Fohler’s house in Memphis — billed as a “Little Bit More Country” — for a weekend get-together with old friends.

Mackey booked a stay from Sept. 9 to Sept. 11, for a total of four guests. In his exchanges with the Airbnb host, Mackey said he may invite additional pals over for a “very low key” dinner, but they will not be spending the night, according to emails attached to the complaint.

“[T]hat sounds like a lovely time,” Fohler replied. “I would be delighted to host you all.”

The three-bedroom, two-bath home, which Fohler was renting out for $567 a night, could accommodate up to 12 guests.

Airbnb listing for Pamela Fohler's

In 2022, Mackey booked a stay at Pamela Fohler’s “Little Bit More Country” Memphis home through Airbnb. Mississippi District Court

Fohler “voiced no objection” to the additional guests and reassured Mackey that he could just add them to the guest list “at any time,” according to the filing.

Fohler sent Mackey a long list of house rules, including no smoking of vaping, no excessive noise, no guests from the local area, no parking in front of the garage doors or on the right side of the driveway, no glass, food, drinks, or urinating in the pool, and no skinny-dipping.

She warned that she reserved the right to impose a $500 fine at her discretion if police were called to the house for any reason, and a $250 fine, plus a cancelation of the stay, for bringing additional guests.

Fohler reminded Mackey that security cameras outside the house “are in use at all times and are used to verify Gust count, noise and any disturbances.”

“Rest assured, we will take great care of your home,” Mackey told Fohler.

A couple of hours after checking into the home, Mackey sent Fohler an updated guest list with nine names, but noted that “maybe a few more” will be joining him.

Photos shows Pamela Fohler's Airbnb property in Memphis

Mackey’s lawsuit says that the listing for the three-bedroom, two-bath house said it could accommodate up to 12 guests. Mississippi District Court

“Only 4-5 will be staying overnight,” he added.

Just minutes later, Fohler informed Mackey, for the first time, that only eight guests would be permitted at the house, and that there would be additional cost per guest, regardless of whether they stay over or not, the lawsuit alleged.

She also reminded Mackey of her strict “no parties” policy.

“I apologize we had not discuss [sic] the guest count tripling,” she wrote in a message attached to the complaint. “Each guest does have to be put on Airbnb and accounted for per Airbnb rules and insurance requirements. There is a cost to each guest even if they do not spend the night. I should also remind you about the strict no parties rule. Thank you for understanding.”

As the evening went on, Fohler messaged Mackey again, demanding that he “either add the extra guests now or have them leave immediately,” according to the complaint.

The host claimed she had received complaints “of disturbances, yelling and profanity in the parking area.”

About 15 minutes later, Fohler fired off another message to her guest, demanding that he leave at once.

Screenshots of messages from Fohler claiming that she had received complaints about yelling and cursing, and ordering Mackey to leave

On the day of his check-in, Mackey received messages from Fohler claiming that she had received complaints about yelling and cursing, and ordering him to leave. Mississippi District Court

“I am very sorry but you have violated the no party rule, disturbed my neighbors by cursing and yelling in the parking lot, and have unauthorized guests,” the suit said Fohler wrote. “I am asking you to leave now. I can’t allow you to stay, I am sorry.”

Mackey’s court filing dismissed Fohler’s claims of yelling and profanity as “unfounded accusations,” stressing that “none of this was true.”

Instead of the additional guests initially listed, only one additional guest had shown up for a total of five guests, the complaint argued.

“No party had taken place. No one had been yelling or cursing in the parking lot There were simply pretexts for the host and Airbnb to collect more money,” according to the suit.

Having nowhere else to go, Mackey called Fohler’s number, but instead spoke to her husband, Jamie, who assured him that he could “continue his stay without further consequence or interruption.”

The next day, Fohler emailed Mackey to confirm that he would be checking out the following day and provided him with additional instructions.

“Don’t forget to turn off the lights, lock the door, and we wish you safe travels on your journey!” her message read.

Mackey left the next day as planned, believing that “all issued had been resolved as simply a misunderstanding,” the lawsuit said.

Images of Fohler's texts to Mackey saying she had photos of him with another woman

After Mackey left a bad review about his stay on Airbnb’s website, Fohler allegedly texted him saying she had photos of him with another woman. Mississippi District Court

Shortly after, Mackey left a negative review of his stay on Airbnb’s website and requested a partial refund of $502.46, which was denied. His review was also allegedly taken down.

“After the posted review, Fohler began harassing [Mackey] about his review and was obviously concerned about her Airbnb Superhost status,” the suit claimed.

Mackey was later contacted by an Airbnb representative who told him that the company will be suspending his account pending an investigation into his claims, which could potentially end with his account being terminated.

Mackey, who is himself an Airbnb host, denied violating any rules — and urged the company to obtain video from the property to verify Fohler’s allgations against him and his guests.

A few days later, Mackey allegedly received a text message from Fohler.

“Hello Shawn, hope you are well,” the text read. “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 3:16 AM is especially notable. Should I forward the photos and videos to [Mackey’s wife] Teresa, or will you?”

Attached to the message “was a photograph depicting [Mackey] in the company of another female (not his wife) taken by one of the cameras at Fohler’s Airbnb home,” according to the court document.

Fohler also allegedly threatened to put the videos on YouTube “shortly” because the files were too large to transmit via text.

Two days later, Mackey received a bill from Airbnb for $960 — an amount that included a $160 fine for four extra guests, $500 for violating two house rules and $300 stemming related to the “moderation” of his negative review.

Mackey's exchange with Airbnb including an image of the email Fohler had allegedly sent his wife

The lawsuit claims that Fohler created a bogus email account and used it to send his wife the image from the security camera. Mississippi District Court

Mackey refused to pay up, leading what his lawsuit called a “an extortion attempt” by Fohler, who allegedly set up a fake email account with a sexually suggestive handle, Shawn69@outlook.com, which she then used to send an email with the subject line “Nice bag” to Mackey’s wife at her place of work.

The body of the email included a screenshot of her guest with another woman.

“I love your bag, where’d you get it?” the accompanying message read.

Mackey contacted Airbnb about Fohler’s alleged stunt, asking for help.

“Instead of reacting as any decent person of even decent corporation would at such illegal and abhorrent and evil conduct, Airbnb sided with its Superhost, its co-defendant, Fohler!” the lawsuit fumed.

Fohler denied sending the email with the photo, or ever communicating with Mackey’s wife, in a response filed in December, reported The Daily Beast.

Mackey’s lawsuit is seeking unspecified actual and punitive damages — and an injunction “to prevent similar action taken against [other] customers of Airbnb.”

Airbnb has filed a motion to compel arbitration in the case, while Fohler has filed a motion to dismiss. Mackey has until Feb. 21 to respond to both.

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