Monday, December 23, 2013

Justine Sacco Tweet Heard Round the World

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The hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet took over Twitter this weekend as people followed the flight pattern of Justine Sacco to Africa after she posted a tasteless - and racist - tweet about AIDS.

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From the LA Times
Justine Sacco, a director of communications at Diller's IAC, whose holdings include television production company Electus, dating sites and OKCupid as well as the video site Vimeo, tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”

Then she boarded a flight from London to Africa and all heck broke loose on Twitter as her tweet circulated way beyond the few hundred followers she had and became news. IAC issued a statement condemning Sacco's tweet, calling it an "outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC." She has subsequently been relieved of her duties.

. . . She became a trending topic on Twitter and a hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet spread like wildfire, with people berating her insensitivity and anticipating what life would be like for her after the plane landed.
This isn't the first time Sacco tweeted something that is inappropriate and questionable for someone working in such a high-profile position. Last year she tweeted about having a dream involving sex with someone with autism. Her account has now been shut down.

Response from IAC via ValleyWag:
"The offensive comment does not reflect the views and values of IAC. We take this issue very seriously, and we have parted ways with the employee in question.
There is no excuse for the hateful statements that have been made and we condemn them unequivocally. We hope, however, that time and action, and the forgiving human spirit, will not result in the wholesale condemnation of an individual who we have otherwise known to be a decent person at core."

Statement from Sacco after landing in Africa via ABC News
Words cannot express how sorry I am, and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet," Sacco said. "There is an AIDS crisis taking place in this country, that we read about in America, but do not live with or face on a continuous basis. Unfortunately, it is terribly easy to be cavalier about an epidemic that one has never witnessed firsthand.
"For being insensitive to this crisis -- which does not discriminate by race, gender or sexual orientation, but which terrifies us all uniformly -- and to the millions of people living with the virus, I am ashamed.
"This is my father's country, and I was born here. I cherish my ties to South Africa and my frequent visits, but I am in anguish knowing that my remarks have caused pain to so many people here; my family, friends and fellow South Africans. I am very sorry for the pain I caused."



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