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PR director racist tweet gets Justine Sacco sacked

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A PR director behind a racist tweet was fired by her employer, Saturday. InterActiveCorp (IAC) said Justine Sacco was terminated and is no longer part of the company in any manner. Apparently, the PR executive's bigoted tweet, Friday, about her fears in contracting AIDS (with an allusion to race) was a joke in poor taste. However, not many in the public thought the prejudiced message on Twitter was a laughing matter, citing a Dec. 20 NY Times report.

PR director, Sacco, was sacked over this racist message left on her social media timeline:

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

The PR director, on a business trip to Cape Town, was preparing to board a plane in London's Heathrow Airport. At some point, the Manhattan media executive took to Twitter to update her followers about the potential for her to catch the AIDS virus, which is known to affect a large population blacks in Africa.

And if that part of the message wasn't offensive, she put herself and followers (so, she hoped) to rest when she suddenly had an epiphany: She's white and the implication is that only non-whites in Africa contract the potentially-deadly virus.

The PR director's racist tweet set off a firestorm on social media, which illustrates how matters like this go viral over a short span of time. In fact, a Twitter hashtag (#hasjustinelandedyet) was created in wake of her stinging remarks long before her planed landed.

@Odd_Hack @JustineSacco lolol she gets to africa then has to come right back

randy cane (@randygdub) 20 Dec 13

So @JustineSacco is the PR director for @IAC which owns So, Justine can’t be racist cuz she has Black friends.

Black Canseco (@BlackCanseco) 20 Dec 13

@JustineSacco Right, #JustineSacco. You’re a racist, and an idiot. I sense a firing coming on…

Leon Hill (@rockpublicity) 20 Dec 13

By Saturday, sources said the communications director was no longer employed at the New York-based company. Furthermore, IAC issued this statement over the matter:

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."

The media giant, which is headed by Barry Diller, has more than three dozen companies underneath its umbrella such as: (an online dating site),, The Daily Beast, and more.

On occasion, people get caught up in the moment and make bad decisions when mixing comedy and cultural norms, especially those that are subjects of consternation and division. Free speech is one thing, but when it crosses a pivotal line at the expense of anyone or any group, it's offensive, period.

The PR director racist tweet story is developing.


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