PR Executive Justine Sacco had a lot more that the holiday spirit greeting her as she stepped off the airplane in Africa. She was also handed a pink slip for a Tweet she sent before boarding.
The Senior Director of Corporate Communications for IAC (which is the parent company of BlackPeopleMeet.com, Match.com, The Daily Beast, and Dictionary.com) Tweeted, "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white."She was headed for Cape Town, South Africa.
IAC was forced to release a public statement, saying in part, "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…(we hope) 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 Tweet went viral as Sacco was on the airplane headed for Africa. Googling "Sacco Tweet" results in over 230,000,000 results.
Sacco has apologized in a written statement, saying she was "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… I am a native of South Africa and was upset I hurt so many people there...I am very sorry for the pain I caused."
On Sacco's LinkedIn profile, "Crisis Communications" is listed as as a "Skills & Expertise." The skill "Publicity" is listed as her "Most endorsed." She has also worked as a publicist for the WWE.
In the wake of the "Duck Dynasty" controversy (which has boosted sales of DD merchandise, go figure) it seems ignorance and racism are alive and well this holiday season. What's next? Mel Gibson as "Santa Clause"?
Did Justine Sacco deserve to lose her job? What is the difference between the Duck Dynasty controversy and Sacco's Tweet?