Justine Sacco was, until Friday, the top PR person for InterActiveCorp, the New York media conglomerate run by Barry Diller. IAC owns the Daily Beast, Vimeo, About.com, Match.com and Ask.com, OkCupid, Tinder, CollegeHumor, and Dictionary.com.
Sacco was flying to Cape Town, South Africa, when she tweeted to her now deactivated twitter account:
Yes, you read that right: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
A representative from her employer IAC told the International Business Times:
“This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC. Unfortunately, the employee in question is unreachable on an international flight, but this is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action.”
The post had been retweeted over 3,000 times and was picked up by news sites around the world by the time Sacco landed in Africa by way of British Airways flight 43. When she landed IAC had removed her name from their website, so it looks like it wasn’t just her twitter account that is gone, it seems like her job vanished too.
Pretty brilliantly, Aid For Africa, a force of several charities working to aid Africa, just bought http://justinesacco.com/. LOL! Good move!
Click the link and check for yourself and maybe even donate some dollars?…
While she was in the air, twitter started the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet and oh wow…twitter exploded! Here are some of our favorite tweets:
For a PR person of her stature, the tweet was of such stupidity that it was hard for people to believe her account wasn’t hacked. But a look back at earlier tweets reveal she wasn’t hacked.
It looks like a South African caught Justine Sacco when she got off the plane. @Zac_R is not a reporter, but felt he had to see her in person since the internet went so crazy after her first tweet. You can check out his entire feed for the encounter with her, her brother, her father and possibly her sister (or maybe she is a friend).
Justine and her sister / friend. She’s on the phone to someone. “No! I really didn’t think it would!” She said. pic.twitter.com/HAMxdquPOG
— Zac (@Zac_R) December 21, 2013
We all know AIDS isn’t something to joke about, and combined with racism, it’s just all the way wrong.