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IAC PR director Justine Sacco stirs anger with inflammatory tweet

Justine Sacco, a New York-based PR director for the media conglomerate IAC, stirred up a hornet’s nest via Twitter on Friday with her controversial tweet about AIDS, white people and Africa.

This tweet from InterActiveCorp's Senior Director of Corporate Communications Justine Sacco went viral Friday while Sacco was on a flight to Africa.

Sacco’s tweet read:

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

Apparently, Sacco was traveling to the continent of Africa on an airplane and had sent out her tweet before taking off and was unaware of the firestorm that her comments had created, because when she got off of the plane the floodgates of an angry backlash had opened against her.

According to, once Sacco landed in Cape Town, her tweet had been re-tweeted over 3,000 times and was even picked up by some news sites causing Sacco to remove her Twitter account altogether.

It was even reported by The Hollywood Gossip that someone actually tweeted a post using Sacco’s cell phone number possibly out of revenge based on her comments.

A representative from the IAC, the parent company of entities like Vimeo and OkCupid, responded to the outcry against Sacco’s tweet by making a statement to International Business Times saying:

This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC. Unfortunately, the employee in question is unreachable on an international flight, but this is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action.”

So in the end, Sacco could find herself in the same boat as Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson – out of a job or removed indefinitely over what is largely perceived to be incendiary comments.

Now there are many that will argue that Sacco’s tweet was just a harmless joke, but how harmless is harmless?

First of all, by implying that Africa is the AIDS haven of the world, it automatically casts a derogatory judgment on the behavior, the moral mentality, or lack thereof that allows AIDS to arguably thrive so successfully there, as opposed to in other less licentious places.

But more importantly, when Sacco states that she is white and therefore only kidding about getting AIDS in Africa, knowingly or unknowingly, but probably knowingly; she implies that the fact that she is white serves as some kind of protective shield against the disease. So she would never be in any real danger.

But since it is highly unlikely that every single person in Africa with AIDS is black, Sacco’s protective, white shield has a gaping hole in it.

Now one could make the argument that what Sacco was really doing is stating to the world that any inclination that a white woman like her would ever have any kind of sexual relations with a black African is preposterously out of the question, thus protecting her from getting AIDS from the most likely source – some filthy, black, African man, which would arguably apply to all filthy, black African-American men as well, with the proverbial, black male continuing to be the poster child for the bottom of the human barrel, even though it could be a black, African woman as well.

Hopefully Sacco now realizes that the Internet is the world’s official megaphone hotline, and it can make a star or a villain out of anyone at anytime, and her vaunted, whiteness certainly will not protect her from that.

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