Justine Sacco Twitter Post About AIDS, Race and Africa Garners Outrage

Justine Sacco and Africa

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


A Twitter Message About AIDS, Africa and Race – New York Times

Justine Sacco’s Tweet About AIDS, Africa Is The Craziest Thing You’ll See Today – Huffington Post

UPDATE: Barry Diller’s IAC Calls PR Exec’s AIDS Tweet “Outrageous”; Removes Info From Corporate Website – Deadline | Hollywood

justinesacco06 – Twitter

2 Responses to "Justine Sacco Twitter Post About AIDS, Race and Africa Garners Outrage"

  1. Nunya D. Beeznz   December 21, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Approximately 90% of the people infected with AIDS live in Africa, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2008 13.6% of Black South Africans had AIDS, while 0.3% of White South Africans were similarly infected. Based on his, I would say her a tweet was accurate.

  2. Sara   December 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    There is a new terminology all over the internet to describe this behavior. It’s call “Hipster Racism”. Please google it and you will find out the explanation. Sacco is part of a group of hipsters who make fun or a mockery of racism, sexism, gays and many animal right activists. You can often see their posts on FB or twitter but usually they are not famous like her. They hide their racism, sexism or hate toward animal right activists behind, “I am just joking”. Very typical. In fact this is a new form of racism. Please, when you see those posts let them know how inappropriate they are.


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