Given the controversy over white people staying at Antionette "Annie" Wonsey's place in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, LAUNCH editors examined the 23 reviews and four references -- nearly all from white or Asian guests -- posted to Annie's Airbnb page to see if they are, as Annie claimed in the video she posted, positive.
We found people really liked Annie's warmth and the welcoming vibe of her home -- but not always the neighborhood.
Airbnb guest Kimberly L., an artist from Jackson, MI, appears to have witnessed the Aug. 17th incident that Annie video taped. In her generally upbeat review, Kimberly calls the neighborhood "rough" and writes, "There was an incident down the street while I was there. It was unfortunate to say the least, but the other people you will meet while staying there will be cool, open minded and adventuresome." [ See our story on Englewood's crime rate. ]
In response to Kimberly's review, Annie writes, "She arrived at a moment when the police came in squads with regards to having a 'business license' for running an airbnb! In amonst ALL of the chaos that was going on outside my door and being confronted by the police and her stay, she courageously asked 'Is my couch ready!' Truly a classic moment."
Annie has since confirmed that Chicago police cited her for not having a business license [ see our story ].
Samantha J., a 24-year-old white female originally from the U.K., noted how Annie made them feel at home and provided useful information about the city, but she still had some reservations.
"She's a great host with soo much to offer," Samantha writes. "Annies home is fantastic however the area can be dangerous, do your research before you book!!"
Devin, a student from Rochester, MN, reports having a "nice stay" but says that it might not be the right location for everyone.
"The neighborhood was a little sketchy so if you are not used to inner city I would elsewhere," Devin writes. "Other than that it was an awesome stay. Public transportation that ran all night was good and close. Annie was very friendly and was there to unlock the door everytime we arrived back at the house. Even at 3am..."
In other reviews, there is no mention of any safety fears, but rather, concerns over the cleanliness of the house.
Francesca, a woman from Codognè, Italy, posted a review that expressed her appreciation for Annie's kindness and help during her one-night stay. However, she says that the accommodation itself was not up to par.
"The place is not very clean and inviting, and it is a bit far from downtown, but for the price it is good," Francesca writes. "If you are staying in Chicago for a few days and want to save money, this is the right place."
In response to Francesca's review, Annie defends her home and insists that it is both clean and inviting.
"Since you’ve only spent less than 12 hours during the night in the home when more than 6 guest arrived that day, and during a day that I had my home ‘deep cleaned’, your remarks are unwelcomed and unwarranted," Annie writes. "If ever you should feel that way about anyone’s home, then I would suggest that you should never lower your standards and recommend it to others…even for a cheap price."
Despite these mixed reviews, four people (including Annie's sister) are listed as Annie's references. One of them is Fausto, a light designer from Italy. He writes, "Staying with Annie is already worth your trip to Chicago. She knows what's on in town and can recommend you about what to do by getting the best out of this city without spending a lot of money."
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