PR Exec Let Go After Offensive Tweet

Justine Sacco's AIDS joke infuriated the Internet

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 21, 2013 10:53 AM CST | Updated Dec 21, 2013 4:00 PM CST

(Newser) – A PR exec who became an instant Internet villain yesterday appears to have lost her job following fury over an AIDS-related tweet. Media firm IAC says it has "parted ways" with Justine Sacco, CNN reports. She won't be tweeting again anytime soon, either—at least not from the @JustineSacco account, which has been deleted. If you missed the fuss yesterday, Sacco tweeted the following from Heathrow Airport just before getting on a long flight to South Africa for a vacation: "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!" Sacco works as head of communications for IAC, which only seemed to amplify the outrage that immediately ensued.

In fact, much of it played out while Sacco was incommunicado during the flight, notes Boing Boing, which calls it the "tweet heard round the world." Even before she landed, her employer issued a statement: "This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC." The company noted that "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," the New York Times reports. Reaction has ranged disbelief at the line (see the HasJustineLandedYet hashtag, of course) to disbelief over how vitriolic the "mob response" has been. On that note, the Times notes that it appears someone tracked down Sacco at the Cape Town airport and took photos.

  (AP Photo/dpa, Soeren Stache, File)
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