Justine Sacco Issues Apology for Her ‘Needless and Careless’ Tweet

Justine Sacco Issues Apology for Her 'Needless and Careless' Tweet


The former IAC corporate communications staffer breaks her silence, says she's “ashamed”

Two days after Justine Sacco caused a social media frenzy around a controversial tweet that garnered global attention, IAC's fired corporate communications staffer has issued a profuse apology, saying she was “cavalier” about the AIDS crisis.

In a statement on Sunday morning, she referred to the controversial tweet as “needless and careless” and noted that the AIDS epidemic  in Africa doesn't discriminate according to race. She also revealed that offending Africans is very personal for her; her father is from Africa and she was born there.

Here's the full statement obtained by ABC News:

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. 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.

For being 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.

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.

Before submitting the apology to ABC News, the statement first ran in South African newspaper The Star. “My greatest concern was this statement reach South Africa first,” Sacco said.

Also read: Justine Sacco Fired by IAC for ‘Offensive’ AIDS in Africa Tweet

The anticipation of Sacco's first words about the tweet — posted before boarding a plane to Cape Town, South Africa — was so high, the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet trended globally on Twitter on Friday and all day Saturday.

On Friday, she tweeted, “Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!” And on Saturday, that tweet cost her corporate communications job at Barry Diller's IAC.



Between the two actions, Sacco gained notoriety for offending many with the tweet and generated loads of social media responses. For someone who had just 200 or so followers to begin with, the controversy became huge and was covered by both trade and consumer news outlets.

Also read: In-Flight Wifi Provider Gogo Apologizes for Justine Sacco Tweet

One relief organization, Aid for Africa, saw the uproar as an opportunity. It registered the domain name justinesacco.com, and had it redirect to their site on Friday.

On Friday evening, she deleted her Twitter account, presumably upon arriving to her destination and seeing that her employer had denounced the tweet and that it had generated so much attention.

As of that night, IAC had already removed her name from its website's media contacts list ahead of its official announcement on Saturday of her employment termination and before she landed in Cape Town.

Also read: Justine Sacco Deletes ‘Hope I Don't Get Aids’ Tweet – and Her Account – After Landing in Africa

Barry Diller's IAC owns and operates a myriad of digital businesses, from Ben Silverman's production company Electus to video sites Vimeo and CollegeHumor. Sacco has worked there for more than two years, joining from PR firm, WWE.

  • Sheila Carty

    Honestly, why can't people keep stupid thoughts to themselves?

  • DCGirl

    I suppose she thinks an apology will get her job back? Way too little too late. What an idiot!

  • Madlymad

    The ability to speak freely doesn't mean freedom of stupidity. Monitoring one's thoughts is a responsibility of adulthood.

  • Barbara Moss

    Her twitter profile says it best. How is that I have no compassion for this young woman who obviously lacks common sense, and dare I say it smarts? The press release from IAC urges us to be kind. They were fooled. I can only wonder why was she deemed worthy of this position? Obviously this is pivot for her personally , professionally.

  • Kay

    Wow I didn't realize the “I'm White” part
    What a stupid & very dumb thing to say
    & even to the white person living with Aids In south Africa. Let alone her feeling
    Her white intitlement, that some how she is Immune , is immune to to anything let alone Aids. All of her experience's really have not thaught her shit. Fuck her I don't
    Accpect her sad apology.
    You're Wack Justine !!!!

  • Jim

    She “sacco'd” herself in the mouth.

  • louis B.

    one blood one people ,black and white one love. more important then anything. Don't worry we're togerther. We forgive

  • dunivant66

    She's just sorry she got caught!

  • Greg Rogers

    Well,dumb statement or true statement ?
    Maybe a little of both. Know when what your gut says is this stupid or am I just blabbing on?
    Good luck.