Don’t Try This – P.R. Exec Justine Sacco Apologizes For Racist AIDS Tweet After Being Fired
Justine Sacco, a public relations executive who was fired after her tweet about race, AIDS and Africa went viral while she was on an international flight, issued an apology Sunday morning.
Sacco—then a communications director of InterActive Corp, a parent company of numerous websites—tweeted the following just before taking off on Friday:
While she was in the air and off the web, the tweet went viral, and the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet sprung up in anticipation of Sacco learning of the firestorm she had no idea she’d caused.
Sacco was let go on Saturday, and this morning issued the following statement to The Star, a South African paper:
“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.”