Chantel Brink
Chantel Brink
February 23, 2024 ·  4 min read

Livid Airbnb Host Tried to Extort Guest Who Left Bad Review by Threatening to Email His Wife a Security Cam Photo of Him With Another Woman

An angry Airbnb host snapped a security pic of her guest “with another female” and sent it to the man’s wife after a failed attempt to squeeze money out of him due to a bad review. As per a lawsuit. Shawn Mackey from Mississippi is suing Airbnb and “superhost” Pamela Fohler. Claiming they invaded his privacy, caused emotional distress, and harmed his marriage.

Mackey’s 22-page complaint, filed initially in September and obtained on Wednesday, alleges Fohler emailed his wife a screenshot from a door camera taken after 3 a.m., showing Mackey with a woman who wasn’t his wife. The “superhost” supposedly went on the offensive after he refused to fork over $960 for extra guests and breaking house rules.

Posing as Mackey, Airbnb host Fohler sent a fake email, threatening the plaintiff

The incriminating pic was sent from a fake email account allegedly set up by Fohler, pretending to be Mackey. “The plaintiff’s marriage has suffered as a result,” the suit states. In September 2022, Mackey rented Fohler’s place in Memphis for a weekend hangout with friends.

Mackey booked a stay from Sept. 9 to Sept. 11 for four guests. In his chats with Fohler, Mackey said he might invite more pals over for a “very low key” dinner but they wouldn’t spend the night, per emails attached to the complaint. “That sounds like a lovely time,” Fohler replied. “I would be delighted to host you all.”

The three-bedroom, two-bath house, rented out by Fohler for $567 a night, could host up to 12 guests

Fohler had no qualms about the extra guests and said Mackey could add them “at any time,” according to the filing.After a couple of hours, Mackey sent Fohler an updated guest list with nine names but noted “maybe a few more” would join. “Just 4-5 will stay overnight,” he added.

Soon after, Fohler told Mackey only eight guests were allowed, demanding extra fees per guest, regardless of overnight stays, and reminding him of the “no parties” rule. Later, Fohler messaged Mackey again, demanding he “add the extra guests now or have them leave immediately,” alleging complaints of disturbances.

About 15 minutes later, Fohler asked Mackey to leave, accusing him of breaking house rules and having unauthorized guests. Mackey denied the accusations, calling them pretexts for Fohler and Airbnb to extract more money.

Fohler’s husband was obliging

With nowhere else to go, Mackey called Fohler’s number but spoke to her husband, Jamie, who said he could stay without further issues. The next day, Fohler emailed Mackey, confirming his checkout and giving him instructions. Mackey left believing it was a misunderstanding.

Mackey tried to acquire a partial refund from the Airbnb host

Shortly after, he left a negative review on Airbnb’s site, seeking a partial refund, which was denied. His review was allegedly taken down. Mackey was contacted by Airbnb, saying his account might be suspended pending investigation. He urged Airbnb to check property videos to verify Fohler’s allegations. Later, Mackey allegedly got a text from Fohler, offering to send photos and videos of his stay, including one at 3:16 AM showing him with another woman.

Read More: Airbnb Nightmare: Couple leaves taps, gas, and lights on to get revenge on host

This is where things went further south

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

Fohler threatened to put the videos on YouTube. “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 showing Mackey with another woman (not his wife), taken by one of the cameras at Fohler’s Airbnb home, according to the court document.

A massive bill arrived shortly thereafter

Mackey then received a $960 bill from Airbnb, which he refused to pay, leading to what his lawsuit called an extortion attempt by Fohler, who allegedly sent an email to Mackey’s wife at her workplace with the incriminating photo.

Mackey asked Airbnb for help, but according to the lawsuit, they sided with Fohler. “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 or communicating with Mackey’s wife. Mackey’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and an injunction against similar actions by Airbnb. Airbnb wants arbitration in the case, while Fohler seeks dismissal. Mackey has until Feb. 21 to respond.


  1. Angry Airbnb host sent guest’s wife security photo of him with another woman, lawsuit claims” Sky News. Snejana Farberov. February 15, 2024.
  2. Fuming Airbnb host ‘tried to extort guest who left bad review and send his wife CCTV of other woman‘” The Mirror. Imy Brighty-Potts. February 15, 2024.