Justine Sacco Apologizes for Ugly AIDS Tweet

    December 22, 2013
    Kimberly Ripley

Justine Sacco was a very different woman when she boarded her fated flight to South Africa last week. By the time she landed, however, she was deemed a pariah because of an insensitive (and incredibly stupid) remark she made on Twitter. Now Sacco has apologized for her ugly tweet about Africa and AIDS. However it’s very clearly a case of way too little and way too late.

Sacco apologized via a statement, saying she is sorry “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.”

A native of South Africa, she apologized to the people there, too.

“I am very sorry for the pain I caused,” she wrote.

The Twitter world doesn’t seem the least bit impressed.

Of course Justine Sacco lost her job as PR director of corporate communication for IAC. The company issued its own statement following her firing.

“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,” a spokesman said. “There is no excuse for the hateful statements that have been made and we condemn them unequivocally,” he said. “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.”

It seems public humiliation will follow Justine for a long time now–and rightly so. It will be very interesting to see how long it takes for a ruthless corporate giant to scoop her up. Do you think there’s one out there that will do so at such an exorbitant PR cost?

What’s your take on Justine Sacco’s apology? Sincere? A case of complete embarrassment? Do you think her reputation will ever live this one down?

Image via Twitter


Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.