Race

PR Exec Justine Sacco Sparks Outrage With Racist AIDS Tweet

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A publicist for New York City firm IAC, the parent company of OkCupid, CollegeHumor, and Vimeo, found herself in hot water Friday, when she tweeted an off-color joke and ignited an epic backlash.

Just before getting on a plane Friday morning, Justine Sacco tweeted: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”

When she arrived at her destination, she realized the tweet sparked so much controversy that the hashtag “#HasJustineLandedYet” was trending for a large portion of the day.

Her Twitter account has since been taken down.

IAC released a statement distancing itself from Sacco.

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

The inflight Internet provider Gogo even riffed on the incident.

“Next time you plan to tweet something stupid before you take off, make sure you are getting on a @Gogo flight! CC: @JustineSacco,” Gogo tweeted.

“I bet the Duck Dynasty guy could use a PR rep if @Justine Sacco needs a new job,” tweeted one man.

A self-professed lover of comedians like Louis CK, Lena Dunham, and Rob Delaney, this isn’t the first time she’s tweeted something controversial, On The Media reported.

In February 2012, she tweeted, “Someone get the rape kit ready for Tom Brady. Go Giants! #SuperBowl.”

Weeks later she wrote, “I had a sex dream about an autistic kid last night. #fml”

Comedian Patton Oswalt tweeted at her Friday, “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for @JustineSacco." -- Phil Robertson in MIRACLE AT QUEERDUCK CREEK (1943)”

Someone bought the domain name justinesacco.com redirected it to the organization Aid for Africa.

“To the person who bought justinesacco.com and redirected it to Aid for Africa... Well played. #HasJustineLandedYet,” tweeted one man.

Sources: On The Media, Mediaite