Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!
— Justine Sacco (@JustineSacco)20 Dec 13
When Justine Sacco, who is the communications director for InterActiveCorp, also known as IAC, made the above tweet on Friday there was quickly a public cry of outrage throughout Twitter and the Internet at large.
New York City-based IAC is the parent company of several companies, such as Match.com, Dictionary.com and The Daily Beast. It also own BlackPeopleMeet.com, which is a dating site targeted to African-Americans.
IAC responded to the tweet by releasing a statement saying, “This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC.” The company’s statement further added, “Unfortunately, the employee in question is unreachable on an international flight, but this is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action.”
Although it is not clear what that “appropriate action” might be, it appears that Sacco has been fired by IAC. Her contact information has been removed from the company’s website and a new unverified Twitter page purporting to belong to Sacco posted tweets late Friday night saying that “I just got the news that I have been fired from IAC. I expected this. Again, I’m truly sorry and full of regret.” The account also tweeted several apologies and thanked Scandal actress Kerry Washington for her “forgiveness.” The account further claimed that the former IAC executive was receiving death threats.
I also appears that Sacco herself has been taking action to remove all traces of her Twitter post related to AIDS, race and Africa. Her tweet was deleted late Friday night. And, by a little after midnight New York time, the entire Twitter account had been deleted. This was quickly followed by the disappearance of her Facebook account around 12:30 a.m. However, it was reported by The New York Times this morning that her Instagram and LinkedIn accounts still appear to be active.
While there have been questions about whether Sacco’s account was hacked, a report from the The New York Times seems to indicate that this was not the first potentially offensive tweet to be posted from Sacco’s account. Just an hour earlier a message from her account said, “Chili- cucumber sandwiches- bad teeth. Back in London!” About 12 hours prior to that, she had posted, “Weird German Dude: You’re in first class. It’s 2014. Get some deodorant.” -Inner monologue as I inhale BO. Thank god for pharmaceuticals.” In addition, not all of Sacco’s’ tasteless tweets were recent. On February 24, 2012, she had posted, “I had a sex dream about an autistic kid last night. #fml.”
Sacco herself does not appear to have released any public comments about her Twitter post involving AIDS, race and Africa, other than the Twitter account which Twitter has yet to verify as legitimate.
By Nancy Schimelpfening