PR Exec fired after offensive tweet about Africa goes viral, issues apology
A communications director who posted an offensive tweet about AIDS and Africa has been fired. Justine Sacco, formerly a PR executive for InterActive Corp., parent company of Match.com and Vimeo, says that she is “ashamed” for her insensitivity to those living with the virus.
Sacco’s tweet, which read: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”, immediately went viral after readers, bloggers and other media discovered the insensitive comments.
After sending her statement to South African newspaper The Star, Sacco shared the following apology:
“Words cannot express how sorry I am, and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet,” Sacco said. “There is an AIDS crisis taking place in this country, that we read about in America, but do not live with or face on a continuous basis. Unfortunately, it is terribly easy to be cavalier about an epidemic that one has never witnessed firsthand. […] “This is my father’s country, and I was born here. I cherish my ties to South Africa and my frequent visits, but I am in anguish knowing that my remarks have caused pain to so many people here; my family, friends and fellow South Africans. I am very sorry for the pain I caused.”
In response to the tweet, a fake Facebook account under Sacco’s name was created, with a post linking to www.justinesacco.com appears. The site redirects visitors to a donation page for Aid for Africa.
Should Sacco have been fired?
Sound off below!