Twitter disaster for US PR exec

Internet company IAC has fired Justine Sacco, its senior director of corporate communications, after she posted an offensive tweet. Photo / Twitter
Internet company IAC has fired Justine Sacco, its senior director of corporate communications, after she posted an offensive tweet. Photo / Twitter

A PR executive for a major media company who tweeted a racist 'joke' that sparked a social media revolt was unaware she had become front page news because she posted the message before boarding a 12-hour flight.

Justine Sacco - the Communications Director for IAC, owned by Barry Diller, was flying to Cape Town when she Tweeted: 'Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just Kidding. I'm White!'

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.

Photo / Twitter
Photo / Twitter

Blasted for being 'outrageous' and 'inappropriate', with titles like 'Worst Tweet of the Year' stacking up against her, Sacco promptly deleted the Tweet, with her entire Twitter account soon vanishing as well.

But the damage had been done, and IAC, a parent company for Vimeo, OkCupid, Tinder, CollegeHumor, and Dictionary.com among many others, were forced to comment on Sacco's behalf.

"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," a representative from IAC told the International Business Times.

Sacco landed in Africa on British Airways Flight 43 and one can only guess the number of angry responses she'll receive.

One man, Zac R, Tweeted that he went to the airport specifically to see her and took photos of her arrivial.

The Cape Town local also claimed to have spoken to Sacco's father, who is South African.

#hasjustinelandedyet was trending on Twitter at the time as thousands awaited her response.

While her account has been removed, in February 2012 Sacco Tweeted: 'I had a sex dream about an autistic kid last night.'

About 12 hours before the racist Tweet, she wrote: 'Weird German Dude: You're in first class. It's 2014. Get some deodorant' -Inner monologue as I inhale BO. Thank god for pharmaceuticals."

However it was 'joke' about Africa that caused the commotion.

Twitter user Stephanie Be wrote in response: 'WOW! Reinforce the ignorant American stereotype much?'

John M. Becker tweeted: 'Are you even real?!? This is utterly ghastly on so many levels.'

Josephine Baker wrote: 'listen, homegirl is about to be FIRED.'

Huffington Post stated that there is a possibility that the young PR executive's account may have been hacked. However that is unlikely as her twitter profile has a number of other tweets that may also be deemed offensive.

Sacco wrote wrote: "I can't be fired for things I say while intoxicated right?"

Sacco also wrote: "I like animals, but when it's this cold out I'll skin one myself for the fur" and tweeted the comment directly at PETA, a famous animal rights organization.

The Tulane alum also tweeted: "Last day of hurricane season. Can't wait for evacuations next year."

Ironically enough, Tulane is located in New Orleans, a city in which more than half of the population is black, according to infoplease.com.

New Orleans also suffered tremendously after Hurricane Katrina decimated homes, took several lives, and wrecked the local economy.

One Twitter user took it so far as to create a fake profile for Sacco named LOL Justine Sacco. Her Byline reads, 'PR Disaster. Racist idiot. All-around awful.'

One of the mock tweets reads, "I think the lady across the aisle is clicking at me. I'm sorry...I don't speak Kwanzaa LOL #whitesanta #longestflightever #haveilandedyet"

Another mock tweet reads, "@Paperboy415 Been downing #WhiteRussians all flight in support of #Sochi2014! Seat 5A sent me a Johnnie Walker Black, but I sent it back!"

The Mail Online tried contacting IAC's media relations department, and since the contact listed on their website was Sacco herself, no one was available for comment.

Upon looking at the IAC website again, her name has been removed and has been replaced with 'corporate communications.' The voice mail which previously gave out her personal cell phone number for media inquiries with a strict deadline, has also been changed.

The reason Sacco is traveling to Africa is still unknown, but chances are that Sacco won't get the warmest Christmas welcome.

According to dosomething.org out of the 34 million people in the world who have HIV, 69 percent live in sub-Saharan Africa. There are around 23.8 million people in Africa with AIDS.

AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is caused by the Virus HIV ( Human immunodeficiency syndrome). It can be transmitted via sexual intercourse, blood to blood contact, or childbirth.

HIV greatly lowers the human immune system making it easier for those infected to carry fatal diseases.

-The Daily Mail

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