Justine Sacco, the PR chief for IAC, made a joke on Twitter involving AIDS and Africa that went over about as well as you’d expect. Sacco, who is apparently traveling to Africa right now, joked that she wouldn’t get AIDS while on the continent because she is white.
Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!
— Justine Sacco (@JustineSacco) December 20, 2013
Sacco is the company’s senior director of corporate communications and really should have thought twice before sending the tweet out, especially since offensive things tend to be publicized, even if you only have a couple hundred followers. The tweet has been retweeted over 2,500 times as of publishing time.
IAC, which owns sites like About.com, Match.com, Vimeo, CollegeHumor, OkCupid, and Urbanspoon, responded to Sacco’s tweet in a statement to Valleywag, explaining, “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.”
While Sacco is unreachable for the time being, she won’t be permanently away from her phone. And, as BuzzFeed deputy tech editor Charlie Warzel explained, she’s probably in for a surprise when she checks her phone again.
*types worst tweet of the year* *lets out a satisfied sigh* *turns phone on airplane mode* [9 hours later] “You Have 750 New Emails” — Charlie Warzel (@cwarzel) December 20, 2013
While the general consensus on Twitter was that Sacco probably shouldn’t keep her job, at least one user went to her defense, saying:
@BobLoblawtx @THAJESUSFREAK Isn’t that a quote from a Sarah Siverman stand up?
— XReignSupremeX (@TheLoyalPatriot) December 21, 2013
It remains to be seen whether IAC will fire Justine Sacco for the tweet.