PR Executive Justine Sacco Fired After Insensitive Tweet Goes Global

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A communications executive for media mogul Barry Diller went from relative obscurity to global pariah after an insensitive tweet about AIDS and Africa went viral.

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!”


An insensitive tweet from Justine Sacco, a communications executive for Barry Diller’s IAC, led to a huge backlash. (Screen Grab)

Then she boarded a flight from London to Africa and all heck broke lose 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.

Sacco, who previously worked in communications for Vince McMahon’s wrestling company WWE, was even greeted in Africa by someone who had been following the tweets. 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.

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