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

Justine Sacco Fired by IAC for 'Offensive' AIDS in Africa Tweet


Barry Diller's media company released a statement saying it has “parted ways” with its corporate communications staffer

IAC has terminated the employment of Justine Sacco, its now former corporate communications staffer at the center of controversy over a tweet that the company viewed as “offensive.”

The company also stated that despite the controversial tweet, it had “otherwise known [Sacco] to be a decent person at core.”

Here is IAC's full statement:

“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.

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.”

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

Sacco gained notoriety on Friday for the tweet she wrote before a trip to Cape Town, South Africa that offended many and generated loads of social media responses.

The tweet read: “Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just Kidding. I'm white!”



She later 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.

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

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

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 WWE.

Sacco's tweet spread quickly on social media. For a time, #HasJustineLandedYet became the No. 1 non-promoted hashtag on Twitter while she was en route to Cape Town. It was also covered widely by both trade and consumer news sites.

One relief organization, Aid for Africa, registered the domain name justinesacco.com, and had it redirect to their site on Friday.

  • mikereginatorn

    It actually said “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding, I’m white!”

    • ohyehbelievit

      Well, since South Africa is the rape and murder capital of the world, there was probably some truth in the tweet. It's true that the majority of the rapes and murders are tribal in nature (i.e. black on clack violence); it's also true that black on white crime is totally out of control; the entire culture has lost any sense of civil boundaries; the police rarely catch criminals as they're either incompetent or not wholly against the black on white crime. Look up the stats before you ripe me as racist. I think the home of Tutu was burglarized when he was attending Mandela's funeral. I hear Somali immigrants to South Africa are returning because the violence is so great. Imagine, Somalis wanting to return to a war torn government less country instead of staying in South Africa. Also, there's sincere belief that sex with a virgin will cure aids so there's an epidemic of underage rape. Seriously, the MSM won't investigate it but it's true; the country has become almost unlivable outside of bard-wired enclosures for the rich and privileged.

      • Ten Ten

        You are a COMPLETE idiot. She condemned an ENTIRE CONTINENT. What part of this is meritous in nature or statistically accurate?

        Don't do this. Educate yourself, please.

        • ohyehbelievit

          Well, it said she landed in Cape town. So I think it was South Africa. The point is that her tweet didn't originate in a vacuum. It's quite illustrative that no one is overly concerned with or even aware of the conditions but spend their time preoccupied with stupid tweets and not with the tremendous violent happening in the country and continent. But if pointing out the truth is racist and or uneducated then I plead guilty!

          • TS_1

            I suggest you don't tweet your comments

          • ohyehbelievit

            Isn't that the truth! The facts are that her tweet offended some sensitive types but it was spot on for any woman living in or expecting to spend extended time in South Africa; I think the stats are as follows: 15% of the adult population has AIDS (highest in the world); 25% of males surveyed admitted to raping at least one women; and in a survey of over 4000 women in 2009, 33% confirmed they were raped in the past year; so yes, everyone thinks her tweet was worthy of her being fired but I say it's an opportunity for us to shed some light on a truly awful situation in South Africa.

          • Amy Bee

            Was she planning on having unprotected sex while in Africa or using dirty needles?

          • ohyehbelievit

            You may need to look up rape idiot; I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be classified as safe sex!

          • yall funny


          • ohyehbelievit

            100, not anymore, almost 6-foot under

          • VOICE OF REASON


          • ohyehbelievit

            Nice. Thankfully for you, I'm sure the commenters here, that are so happy for this lady's termination, wouldn't think your comment here worthy of your firing from your job cleaning rest rooms.

          • ohyehbelievit

            I guess you think rape is protected sex; you may need to look it up in the dictionary; have someone read it to you!

          • Clint

            Oh, you are an idiot.

          • ohyehbelievit

            Thank you!

          • AKB

            White people and their “statistics” .

          • ohyehbelievit

            And? Black people and their ignorance?

          • AKB

            Are you telling me something or asking me something? And you are calling black people ignorant ( I think?)

          • stewnwt

            actually thought South Africa has the highest number of absolute people living with HIV in the world (over 10 million) the highest percentage of infected adults is in Botswana and Swalizand, with nearly 40%

          • ohyehbelievit

            Truly sad!

          • Jay Scott

            Do you know about the Aids academic in Europe you fool. You need to check it out! Social media doesn't like to release that information, but you can educate yourself. The situation is sad for all!

          • ohyehbelievit

            Aids academic? And you call me a fool?

      • carlen

        I think I just blacked out while reading this ignorant verbal diarrhea. While I get that there's a ton of dangerous shit happening in SA, that doesn't even BEGIN to excuse Sacco's tweet.

        • ohyehbelievit

          Wouldn't be the first time I'm sure! You may want to lighten up on the sauce.

      • http://mysite.verizon.net/vzepr1xp/index.html unsean

        I don't need to call you a racist, your post speaks for itself.

        • ohyehbelievit

          Really? You are something of seer, eh!

      • billypilgrim

        there comes a point where you have to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are part of the solution or part of the problem….take some time with that please…..it's important.

      • Jay Scott

        I wonder why there are so many problems in Africa! Look at what people did there years ago. Evil people in the highest form.

      • Get the Hell Outta Here!

        Is this the same South Africa where friends of mine are voluntarily rearing their young kids in Jo'burg?

        Honduras is murder capital of the world dude, easily more dangerous than South Africa. Easily. I've been to both countries in the last two years, it makes South Africa look like Switzerland.

        • ohyehbelievit

          Your friends raising their kids in a secured compound and going to private school, probably have private security as well. It doesn't represent the country for most of its inhabitants. As far as Honduras and murder, I'm sure it gives South Africa a run for its money but it doesn't change the essence of the argument. The tweet, while unfortunate for Ms. Sacco's career, it was reflective of conditions in South Africa that are horrendous, especially for the ladies.

          • Get the Hell Outta Here!

            Give South Africa “a run for it's money”? Ahaha please, my sides are splitting!

            They have machine gun turrets that can field several men on top of high walls in rich areas of San Pedro Sula to defend houses from attackers. These aren't for show like the flamethrower car guy in ZA back in the 90's, they're there for a purpose. Hondurans don't boast about how big their crime rate is and don't like people knowing. South Africa is very safe and tranquil in comparison.

            You should go and live in Honduras for a while, you'll see the difference. The place is batsh*t CRAZY.

  • William Goldstone

    This statement is indicative of the height of ignorance surrounding aids and other dreaded diseases. More time and effort should be out into educating the ill or uninformed. We forgive her blunder though.

  • bubbah

    public relations; was she trained in prison? …sheesh …did she get a golden parachute? did south africa throw her out? she told the wide world she is out of the country… is her house ransacked yet?

  • A.L. Hern

    Beyond Ms Sacco's bigotry, most hurtful, I think, in its flippancy, the existence of social media is apparently such an irresistible temptation to may people. They assume that the whole world wants to know what they're up to, moment to moment.

    Aside from its being (along with blogging) a rather tiresome exercise in narcissism, those who succumb to the siren song of such narcissism forget — or have never known — one of the cardinal rules of opportunity that can be applied to everything from tweeting to employing digital effects or taking advantage of random-access digital storage of your footage to experiment with all sorts of editing scenarios unavailable if you were working with real film: Just because you CAN do something, doesn't necessarily mean that you SHOULD.

    • ML40

      She had a history of making crude tasteless jokes
      Here are some of her other tweets:

      I like animals, but when it’s this cold out I’ll skin one myself for the fur,” she once tweeted to the animal rights group PETA.
      I can't be fired for things I say while intoxicated right?
      I had a sex dream about an autistic kid last night. #fml

      Had she put “part-time comedian” in her bio..she might have gotten a pass.
      What she said was a poor man/woman's version of some of the vile that Sarah Silverman, Jason Biggs and Cher have tweeted out.

      All gross…but I think we can guess what she was trying to do here.

      What is more frightening is the terrifying mob mentality that went after her. Should she have known better than to make crass offensive jokes on twitter.. YES. Did she deserve to lose her job within a day of making that tweet?
      You better watch what you say or do…Totalitarianism comes in many different forms.. the “tolerant” police can be extremely intolerant.
      That worries me more than her tweet ever could.

      • Brian Keith

        The outrage is in part because it is inappropriate but what is really making traction for this is the fact that she is in PR and actually leads PR for a company. The average joe off the street knows that this goes against the first golden rule in PR. It's not even something you have to learn, albeit she should have learned it long ago. It's common sense for the rest of the thinking population.

        • ML40

          Yeah.. I get that. She was also a private citizen with less than 200 followers..
          And yes..it was an especially dumb thing to tweet b/c she was a PR executive. Is anyone now in PR liable to have this kind of targeting? How about an assistant PR person?
          Where exactly do we where do we draw the line when it comes to plucking the obscure out of obscurity for career-destruction?
          If you're okay with her being fired then that's ok. That isn't even my main concern.
          My main concern is that outrage should be directed at a media- lynch mob (BuzzFeed etc) that set out to destroy a private citizen without the benefit of the doubt or hearing her side, not some immature woman whose only crime is trying to ape Sarah Silverman.

          I am not comfortable with a “watch what you say” world.

  • SFMH57

    And the hits just keep on coming. Social media makes it much too easy to be stupid. Although it is somewhat reassuring to see that the “authentic” individual is revealed. It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow, but somehow the “real person” somehow makes it to the light of day.

  • http://mysite.verizon.net/vzepr1xp/index.html unsean

    Did she want to be fired? What a stupid, weird tweet.

  • dannyjude63

    Wow! How could anybody be so insensitive to both the serious problem in Africa AND that fact that people would have a problem with it? I would fire her, too.

  • Amy Bee

    I”m still not sure what the tweet even meant. White people don't get AIDS? White people don't get AIDS in Africa?

  • Jimmy

    I wonder where the First Amendment crowd is? Well, she didn't bash gays and invoke God at the same time so I guess they don't really care.

    The fact that this person saw nothing wrong with saying something so stupid — on Twitter eve! — is astonishing. A well-deserved firing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/aemoreira81 aemoreira81

      1A only applies to the public sector.

  • Angela

    Why didn't she own her own domain name? Wasn't she supposed to be a social media expert?

    • http://www.facebook.com/aemoreira81 aemoreira81

      JustineSacco . com | not associated with Aid for Africa, but you should be.

      That is the current site header.

      If she only knew how to troll, she could have landed a job at a sports team (whose official Twitters have been getting snarkier of late)/


    The problem is social media. People who use it tend to forget for some reason the possible economic ramifications of telling truths decent people say in private. There is some sort of mental block about how public your statements are.

  • PumpkinBaby

    Although she did not use common sense when she made her comments she still has First Amendment Rights. It has come to the point that everything said is required to be politically correct. In the future people will be isolated from each other due to the fact they will be afraid that they will offend someone else and be ostracized or by that time imprisoned.

    • stewnwt

      You make a common but basic mistake in your misunderstanding of first amendment rights. You can say whatever the hell you want and not get prosecuted for it. But there's nothing to say you can't be socially and professionally vilified for saying monumentally stupid shit like this dumb person did.

  • Brody

    Wondering why the article title has ‘Offensive’ in quotes… Are we really sceptical about whether it's actually offensive?

  • nobodyknows

    How quickly we judge. Nobody knows the intent of the tweet. She is a troublemaker on the side. Maybe her tweet was a satirical attempt at pointing out the huge AIDS problem in Africa, that you can't get AIDS by just going there, and it a disease that threatens everyone not just blacks. Maybe I am too optimistic.

    • Shitburger

      She *was* PR Director. She was there to help prevent/manage debacles like this, not start them! You don't make questionable public statements like that. EVER. That is public relations 101. Makes me wonder how she got the job in the first place.

    • Brian Keith

      Based on her other inappropriate statements, I doubt it.

    • guestwho

      that's your own opinion but do you know what is the profession of this woman tell me what and go back to your comments.

    • Jay Scott

      Whatever the case may be, that's a bad thing to say, especially from a person who is considered a professional. Why do people like you tend to defend blatant racism. Karma comes back around, remember energy is just transferred,whether negative or positive. This day and age, people should be held accountable for their ignorance! God only knows how the punishment will be handed out

  • Derek Mullings

    She also tweeted about having a sex dream with an autistic boy; a smelly German passenger; how she loves animals but will skin one herself when the weather’s too cold and ‘joked’ about hurricane evacuees in New Orleans. It was just a matter of time before this odious ‘public relations’ woman went too far.

  • Taruhi

    This is just ridiculous. The tweet doesn't even make sense, but the chick gets fired completely from the job she's had for 2+ years? Watch out Imgur and Reddit. You're next!

    • Brian Keith

      Ridiculous? Are you kidding? Would you want her handling your PR for your company? Totally unprofessional and ignorant thing to do. She is not capable of exercising proper judgement. Do you know what Public Relations means? It's not about alienating a large group of people with inappropriate comments.

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  • morningcoffee

    She's a douchbag

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  • inthebusiness

    SACCO SUCKS AND IS SACKED……….BRAVO…YOU STUPID **** and it does rhyme with a cake with a whole in it or hitting the ball just a bit.

  • Re'nee Berry

    That Racist deserves to be hung on the nearest tree in Africa for the Lions to eat so educated but dumb in the same breathe. Now Miss I'm White your fired and embrassement to the world SCUM