Hidden camera recorded female guests at Aiken Airbnb, lawsuit alleges

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 12:31 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - A woman is suing two Aiken Airbnb hosts after learning from state authorities that she and her friends were secretly recorded during their stay.

A lawsuit filed on April 28 named Chase Enterprises LLC of South Carolina, Rhett Riviere and Katherine A. Thomas as defendants.

The lawsuit states the plaintiff and her two female friends reportedly stayed in an Airbnb called the “Stirrup Cup Cottage,” located on Third Avenue in the downtown area of Aiken, from May 17-20, 2019, while they were attending a tennis tournament in town.

The Cottage is owned by Chase Enterprises, LLC which is managed by Riviere, court documents state. Thomas and Riviere operated jointly as innkeepers.

In September 2019, the women were informed by an agent with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division that there were secretly recorded videos of them from their stay.

The lawsuit states a recording device was found on top of a dresser and it captured the entire bed and most of the bedroom. The recording equipment was linked wirelessly to a “recording apparatus” located outside the Cottage that stored the video recordings.

During their stay at the Cottage, the women reportedly used showers, bathrooms and changed clothes in private bedrooms, the lawsuit reads.

Airbnb has a specific requirement that “hosts” must disclose all security cameras and any recording devices in their listings. In addition, it is strictly prohibited for any hosts’ recording devices that are in or observe the interior of private spaces such as bedrooms and bathrooms, regardless of whether they’ve been disclosed.

The plaintiff states in the lawsuit the women were never informed of surveillance equipment being used in the home during their stay and is worried about nude images of her ending up online. She filed the lawsuit on behalf of herself and on behalf of all others similarly situated.

The plaintiff is suing for negligence, invasion of privacy and emotional distress. She seeks compensation for damages and attorney fees in an amount determined at a trial, the lawsuit reads.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s investigation into the case remains open, a SLED agent confirmed on Tuesday.

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