Former IAC senior director of corporate communications Justin Sacco has apologized for her racist tweet about AIDS in Africa.
Friday, Sacco tweeted, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” The post drew immediate backlash from the social media website, and someone purchased the domain JustineSacco.com and redirected it to the Aid for Africa website. All of this happened while Sacco was en route from London to South Africa.
Saturday, IAC confirmed that it had fired Sacco, saying, “There is no excuse for the hateful statements that have been made and we condemn them unequivocally.” The company, which owns over 150 Internet brands, said it hoped that the tweet would not result in “the wholesale condemnation of an individual who we have otherwise known to be a decent person at core.”
Justine Sacco issued a statement Sunday morning apologizing for the “needless and careless” tweet, and said that the AIDS epidemic does not discriminate according to race. She also explained that her father is South African and that she was born there.
“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,” Sacco said. “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.”
She continued, “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.”
Sacco also said that cherishes her ties to South Africa, but that she was “in anguish” knowing that her tweet caused pain to so many in the country.
“I am very sorry for the pain I caused,” she said.