Friday, April 07, 2006

Craigslist Sued Over Some Housing Ads

A Chicago public interest group has sued the popular online classified service Craigslist for allegedly publishing housing ads that discriminate against prospective tenants on the basis of race, gender and religion.

In all, the group said that it had found more than 200 objectionable housing ads on Craigslist's Chicago Web site since July 2005.

"Discriminatory housing advertisements contaminate the housing market, stigmatize the people who are discouraged or excluded from housing, and mislead people into thinking that it is normal and acceptable to select tenants on the basis of race, gender, religion or family status," Laurie Wardell, one of the attorneys behind the lawsuit, said in a statement.

Craigslist, with headquarters in San Francisco, is a widely used online bulletin board with thousands of postings a day for apartments, jobs and dates. Users can automatically submit housing ads for free on the Web site, which was founded in 1995 by Craig Newmark.

Jim Buckmaster, chief executive of Craigslist, said discriminatory ads on his Web site are rare and the company removes them promptly after they are flagged by users. He emphasized that his company tells users on every page of its housing category about laws barring discrimination.


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