Justine Sacco, who is the communications director of IAC, the company which owns Tinder, Vimeo and Ask.com.
Justine Sacco, who is the communications director of IAC, the company which owns Tinder, Vimeo and Ask.com.

PR exec Justine Sacco fired over racist AIDS tweet

JUSTINE Sacco, a PR executive who found herself at the centre of a Twitter firestorm after posting a racist "joke", has lost her job and been forced to apologise as a result of the scandal.

The now-former director of corporate communications at media company IAC was about to board a plane to South Africa when she tweeted: "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"

Despite Ms Sacco only having around 200 followers, the message quickly spread to online news organisations, with social media users around the world expressing their disgust.

The irony of a supposed public relations expert tweeting such an insensitive comment, and the fact it could not be corrected during a 12-hour flight without an internet connection, meant the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet was soon trending on the social media site.

Once Ms Sacco had been pictured landing at Cape Town International by Twitter user @Zac_R, the fallout was swift. She first deleted the offending tweet, then her whole Twitter account, before finally removing her entire online presence - Facebook and Instagram included.

After IAC first removed her details from their site and then said they had "parted ways with the employee in question", Ms Sacco issued a full apology via South African newspaper The Star.

According to ABC reports, she said: "Words cannot express how sorry I am, and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet.

"There is an Aids crisis taking place in this country, that we read about in America, but do not live with or face on a continuous basis. Unfortunately, it is terribly easy to be cavalier about an epidemic that one has never witnessed firsthand.

"For being insensitive to this crisis - which does not discriminate by race, gender or sexual orientation, but which terrifies us all uniformly - and to the millions of people living with the virus, I am ashamed.

"This is my father's country, and I was born here. I cherish my ties to South Africa and my frequent visits, but I am in anguish knowing that my remarks have caused pain to so many people here; my family, friends and fellow South Africans. I am very sorry for the pain I caused."

Latest at the The Independent

PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for publishing racist tweet

A TOP PR exec has sparked outrage after she reportedly sent a racist tweet shortly before boarding a plane to Africa.

The tweet, sent from the account of Justine Sacco, read: "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"

Ms Sacco is the director of corporate communications at IAC, a company which owns a number of popular websites including OKCupid, The Daily Beast, Vimeo and Tinder.

The Twitter account has since been deleted after having no activity for a number of hours, supposedly while she was on the flight.

In response to the furour, IAC has removed Ms Sacco's details from its corporate website, but not commented on her employment status. Many Twitter users have called on the company to fire Ms Sacco following the comments.

Read more at The Independent

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