awkward moments in social media

Twitter’s AIDS Joke-Maker Justine Sacco Is Very Sorry, Everyone


Over the last two days, formerly little known IAC PR director Justine Sacco tweeted, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” right before getting on a twelve-hour flight to South Africa. The Internet was widely appalled, and her employer let her go. On Sunday, Sacco, who has since shut down all of her social media platforms, finally issued an apology: “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.”

For being insensitive to [the AIDS 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.”

Sacco also said that her “greatest concern was this statement reach[ing] South Africa first,” and indeed, it was first issued to South African newspaper The Star. She then announced a new life plan: to spend the rest of her life raising awareness about the AIDS epidemic. Just kidding — she’ll probably end up getting another PR job somewhere down the line. You can still check #HasJustineLandedYet for reactions.

Justine Sacco Is Very Sorry, Everyone