News and Views

FIRED! PR exec who sparked outrage with racist tweet sent before 12-hour flight is sacked after landing and hearing the news

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  • Justine Sacco has landed in Africa, at which time her Twitter account vanished
  • She caused a Twitter revolt on Friday after posting:‘Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just Kidding. I’m White!’
  • She has not yet issued an apology or explanation
  • Sacco is the head PR representative of IAC, owned by Barry Diller and responsible for websites like Vimeo, OkCupid, and Tinder to name a few
  • IAC slammed their employee’s behavior as ‘outrageous’ and said they would take ‘appropriate action’
  • In February 2012 Sacco Tweeted: ‘I had a sex dream about an autistic kid last night.’
A PR executive for major media company IAC who tweeted a racist ‘joke’ on Friday that sparked a social media revolt has been fired from her position following the incident.

Justine Sacco – the now-former Communications Director for IAC, a company owned by Barry Diller – was about to board a 12-hour flight from London to Cape Town when she Tweeted: ‘Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just Kidding. I’m White!’

The post had been retweeted over 3,000 times and was picked up by media outlets around the world, however Sacco remained completely unaware of all it because she was in the air.

The blonde publicist was pictured arriving in Cape Town looking shocked and talking on her phone.

Moments later the offending Tweet and Sacco’s account disappeared.

A spokeswoman for the company has now confirmed Sacco has indeed been sacked.

‘There is no excuse for the hateful statements that have been made and we condemn them unequivocally,’ a rep told The Daily Beast.

‘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.’

Blasted for being ‘outrageous’ and ‘inappropriate’, with titles like ‘Worst Tweet of the Year’ stacking up against her, Sacco promptly deleted the Tweet, with her entire Twitter account soon vanishing as well.

But the damage had been done, and IAC, a parent company for Vimeo, OkCupid, Tinder, CollegeHumor, and among many others, were forced to comment on Sacco’s behalf.

‘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,’ a representative from IAC told the International Business Times.

Sacco landed in Africa on British Airways Flight 43 and one can only guess the number of angry responses she would have recieved once turning her cell phone on.

One man, Zac R, Tweeted that he went to the airport specifically to see her and took photos of her arrival.

The Cape Town local also claimed to have spoken to Sacco’s father, who is South African.

The hashtag ‘#hasjustinelandedyet’ was trending on Twitter around the world at the time as thousands awaited her response.

The Twittersphere was fascinated with the fact that as all the drama she caused unfolded, Sacco was blissfully unaware of any it up in the air.

While her account has been removed, in February 2012 Sacco Tweeted: ‘I had a sex dream about an autistic kid last night.’

About 12 hours before the racist Tweet, she wrote: ‘Weird German Dude: You’re in first class. It’s 2014. Get some deodorant’ -Inner monologue as I inhale BO. Thank god for pharmaceuticals.’

However it was ‘joke’ about Africa that caused the commotion.

Twitter user Stephanie Be wrote in response: ‘WOW! Reinforce the ignorant American stereotype much?’

John M. Becker tweeted: ‘Are you even real?!? This is utterly ghastly on so many levels.’

Josephine Baker wrote: ‘listen, homegirl is about to be FIRED.’Joke's on her: Sacco's tweet inspired twitter users like this one to make a mock page dedicated to her racist comments

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