We can’t even imagine what was going through Justine Sacco’s head on Friday when she tweeted, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
We have no words. Seriously.
The senior director of corporate communications working for Barry Diller’s company, IAC, was promptly dismissed. Per her LinkedIn profile, she was promoted to that position in July. Prior to that, she served as director of corporate communications since September 2011.
Per CNN, IAC issued a 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.”
And according to CNN, the PR executive is now trying to extinguish the firestorm she created with her own written statement. She apologized 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.”
She added, “I am very sorry for the pain I caused.”
Perhaps there’s a silver lining to this story as someone created a site with her name to highlight charitable organizations working to combat the disease.