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PR Executive Justine Sacco's Racist Tweet Sparks Outrage

PR Executive Justine Sacco's Racist Tweet Sparks Outrage

12/21/2013

Justine Sacco makes her living as a public relations executive, but made a major PR gaffe when she posted a tasteless tweet about contracting AIDS while in Africa.

Justine Sacco's Racist Tweet

“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS,” she wrote, adding, “Just kidding. I’m white!”

Sacco, who works for IAC – a media conglomerate that represents OkCupid, Vimeo and CollegeHumor among other high profile media companies – had been on her way from London to African when she posted the tweet Friday night. The tweet, which was retweeted over 3,00 times, was deleted later in the day. Since then, Sacco’s Twitter account has been deleted.

IAC Reacts To Justine Sacco's Tweet

IAC took swift action to distance themselves from Sacco’s tweet, releasing a statement to condemn the “offensive comment.”

“This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC,” the IAC’s statement read. “Noting it had been unable to reach the in-flight “employee in question. This is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action.”

#HasJustineLandedYet Trends On Twitter

After Sacco’s tweet went viral and the IAC’s statement was circulated, the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet was the number one trend on Twitter. Someone who came across the tweet cleverly pranked Sacco, creating the website justinesacco.com that goes to a page that links to a coalition of sub-Sahara Africa charities.

Although initially it was speculated that Sacco’s account could have been hacked, her past tweets make it seem more plausible that she was indeed behind the post.

“I like animals, but when it’s this cold out I’ll skin one myself for the fur,” she tweeted at PETA. In February 2012, she wrote, “I had a sex dream about an autistic kid last night. #fml.” And in January, Sacco tweeted, “I can’t be fired for things I say while intoxicated right?” Wrong.

– Chelsea Regan

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Read more: Justine Sacco, Racism, Twitter

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