Justine Sacco: Racist Tweet on Flight to Africa Sparks Outrage, Controversy

by at .  Updated at . Comments

Justine Sacco, a PR executive, is in major hot water after publicly tweeting a racist “joke” during a flight to Africa that went viral and didn't go over too well.

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

Yeah ...

Justine Sacco is a New York-based communications director for media conglomerate IAC, which reps brands like OKCupid, Vimeo and CollegeHumor.

At least she was. IAC responded to the controversy in a statement last night:

“This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC. This is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action.”

The company, which is operated by billionaire media executive Barry Diller, noted that it had been unable to reach the in-flight “employee in question."

It's unclear why she was flying to the continent in the first place, although she may want to consider staying in Africa after the backlash this caused.

The offending tweet disappeared late last night, or this morning in Africa. Just after midnight in New York, in fact, Sacco’s entire account was gone.

Not before outrage ensued over what many dubbed the “worst tweet of the year,” with one vengeful Twitter user putting Sacco’s cell phone number online.

Justine Sacco Photo

“She gon get that message I left,” one Twitter user wrote.

Another added, “Listen, homegirl is about to be FIRED.”

Sacco's tweet also inspired the Twitter hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet, with users mocking her idiocy and speculating what would happen when she lands.

"Sometimes you land with more baggage than you took off with," one user tweeted, while others were more coarse in what they hoped she'd encounter.

Further looking to capitalize on the situation, someone even created a website in the offending social media user's name, justinesacco (dot) com

It links to various charities benefiting sub-Saharan Africa.

It’s possible Sacco was the victim of hackers, but her past tweets make that scenario seem less likely. Some of her previous one-liners include ...

  • "I like animals, but when it’s this cold out I’ll skin one myself for the fur"
  • "I can't be fired for things I say while intoxicated right?"
  • "I had a sex dream about an autistic kid last night. #fml"

#FIRED

Sacco

UPDATE: IAC, which had earlier condemned the now-infamous message, later confirmed that Sacco and the company have now "parted ways."

Twitter users have posted thousands of comments about the message.

Some called her racist and insensitive. Others defended the Tweet as a failed, yet forgivable attempt at humor. All wondered if she'd still be employed when she landed.

As it turned out, she's not.

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Karma *shakes my head*

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If she needs to 'take a good look at herself' then boy, does Africa need to take a good look at ITself. Not only is Aids rampant with many Africans in denial because of dumb antiquated superstitions, their poverty-stricken, tribal societies are racked with extreme violence and rape, their leaders are nearly all corrupt despots and in some countries homosexuals are persecuted to the point of death or life-imprisonment. Justine Sacco is a saint compared to the bigotry and brutality of most Africans towards each other..

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She's not at all funny.

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Yes she is a douche for her comment but lord jesus firing someone for it is too much nobody is perfect

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Obviously, this was meant to be a racially charged tweet because she identified herself as white. As for doing her out of her job, I still say that depriving a person of their livelihood simply because of what they've said is taking things to extreme and goes to show that we do not live in a free society.

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Leave it to people to make sense of this stupidity which is CLEARLY what it was, you know what?? maybe it's time for those who are seen by millions or watched by millions to make BETTER choices as to what they tweet, Facebook or say in interviews, You mean to tell me she had some real meaningful sentiment behind it?? BULLSHIT she was probably drunk and thought it was funny and she got what she deserved. I don't care what she "meant" to say she didn't. Her comment was awful and I hope she learns her lesson.

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So it's okay to wish that the plane she's on crashes and kills her and everyone else on it? That's just as ignorant! This world is getting so ridiculous! Mabye everyone needs to look at their own life. I'm sure none of you had ever made a stupid comment in your life!

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Her joke was that aids spread faster in Africa. Don't act like you don't make jokes like that either we are in a tainted world. Build a bridge and get over it just because she was popular enough for her tweet to be seen by millions doesn't mean that other people don't say the same thing. That was stupid that she was fired she wasn't going to Africa for work related things hence they didn't know why she was going to Africa. I think it's stupid you're not suppose to mix work life with your private life but work can pull your private life into your work life and fire you. Bullshit!

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Is her joke about only black people get AIDS? Everyone can get AIDS. I'm not a fan of her sense of humor. Seems mean and boneheaded to me. Let's all just ignore her. Sometimes for an attention slut that is worst thing of all.

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What an odd comment for a person to make.