Airbnb Backer Rebuked by Victim's Sister

After blogging about her terrible experience with Airbnb, San Franciscan "EJ" was hit with various insinuations from company supporters—that she's a liar, that she's crazy, or worse. Now her sister is lashing prominent startup adviser Paul Graham and blogger Robert Scoble for their treatment of EJ. Excerpts in today's Valleywag roundup, along with John Mayer's social media advice and the hack war in Korea.

  • Airbnb ransack victim "EJ's" sister Alix sent us an open letter testifying to her sister's character, and decrying the fact that anyone would attack it in the first place. EJ was repeatedly called "batshit crazy" and "a drama queen" by prominent tech blogger Robert Scoble (who later admitted he had no actual knowledge of the truth of her claims). A less heated online comment from enthusiastic Airbnb financial backer Paul Graham seemed to dispute part of EJ's story. Beyond that, EJ wrote that she has faced "disparaging remarks, slander and harassment, my integrity being called into question."

    In the open letter, which EJ confirmed is indeed from her sister, Alix credits EJ with helping care for four small children she was raising with her husband in the weeks after he died. She "regularly visits our two grandmothers," Alix wrote, and "has made family a priority... She is smart, funny, cultured, worldly..."

    "It has been very frustrating," she added, "for me to read some of the comments written about EJ and how she may be lying or greedy or just made up this whole story for attention.... My sister is far from any of that. And when people like Paul Graham and Robert Scoble had the arrogance and nerve to speak out as they did and encourage so many out there to doubt her, I couldn't stand it any longer."

    "I can personally attest to the fact that she has done NOTHING other than speak the truth from the beginning. I would not wish her situation on my worst enemy. I certainly do not wish it for her. Our family now is just doing whatever we can to keep her well as she deals with all of this. Please keep up the amazing support and thank you."

    Full letter below. Graham and Scoble could not be reached for comment. As for Airbnb, they've already made quite clear their position on uppity customers fucking with their big internet jackpot.

    I want to thank all of you who have been so completely supportive of the Airbnb burglary victim who the world has come to know as "EJ". Why am I so thankful? I am thankful because she is my little sister.

    On December 17, 2008, I found my husband, former Houston Astros pitcher Dave Smith, at home, completely unresponsive. He had had a heart attack. Although paramedics were called and he was rushed to the hospital, my husband did not make it. I was suddenly a young widow, 38 years old, with four small children ages 11, 9, 5 and 13 months. What would I do? How could I handle this shock? How could I do this alone? I was a complete wreck, and my entire family came over to offer their support. My father said, "don't worry. On Friday, everything will be better." I asked, "what happens on Friday?" and he answered, "your sister will be here."

    Boy was he right! EJ stopped everything she was doing. She booked a flight to come and be with my children and me. She stayed with me for 6 weeks, working late at night and very early in the morning so that she could help me throughout each difficult day. She woke up with the baby EVERY single morning. She bathed her, dressed her, fed her and took care of her. She planned the memorial service, wrote the obituary, wrote and printed the programs, put out "fires" all over the place, dealing with people and hungry press. She was there for my children and me and has continued to be a great source of support in my life.

    She regularly visits our two grandmothers and even treated one to the Prince concert a few years back! (Yes, my 93-year-old grandma loves Prince) She has made family a priority. My 7-year-old daughter adores her and calls her "Auntie Brownie" because each and every time she visits, she bakes brownies with her. She is smart, funny, cultured, worldly, and a very family oriented person.

    Although everyone is entitled to their opinion, it has been very frustrating for me to read some of the comments written about EJ and how she may be lying or greedy or just made up this whole story for attention. It is true, there are so many bad guys out there. People who want attention at the expense of someone else, people who are money hungry, vandals, liars and criminals. My sister is far from any of that.

    And when people like Paul Graham and Robert Scoble had the arrogance and nerve to speak out as they did and encourage so many out there to doubt her, I couldn't stand it any longer. And so I wanted to take this opportunity to try and shed some light as to the type of person my sister EJ really is.

    I can personally attest to the fact that she has done NOTHING other than speak the truth from the beginning. I would not wish her situation on my worst enemy. I certainly do not wish it for her. Our family now is just doing whatever we can to keep her well as she deals with all of this. Please keep up the amazing support and thank you.

  • Former Tumblr addict John Mayer advised students at the Berklee College of Music against blogging and tweeting. Mayer quit Twitter and Tumblr, and told the students he won't allow a laptop or drum machine near his new album. "Being able to publish yourself immediately is a distraction," he said. "Nobody knows who you are, and nobody should." You should have just told the kids that Twitter chases girls away, John. That's all a musician needs to hear.
  • North Korean cyber warriors based in China siphoned $5 million from South Korean internet users into their home country. And which Stalinist intelligence ministry were they working for? Actually, the operation was conceived and run by mobsters out of South Korea. Those imperialist running dogs! Capitalists are do goddamned sneaky.

[Stock apartment image via Shutterstock]