PR director's racist tweet sparks online outcry

12:05 PM, Dec 21, 2013   |    comments
This tweet from InterActiveCorp's Senior Director of Corporate Communications Justine Sacco went viral Friday while Sacco was on a flight to Africa. (Photo: Twitter.com/justinesacco)
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USA Today -- It was the tweet that took the web by storm: "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"

The tweet was sent from London on the account of Justine Sacco, a PR director for InterActiveCorp (IAC), a New York media conglomerate whose clients include Match.com, Vimeo, Ask.com, UrbanSpoon, OKCupid and the Daily Beast.

The message was tweeted before Sacco boarded an 10 hour and 46 minute flight from London to Africa. The ordeal unfolded while she was in the air -- on a Boeing 747 without Wi-Fi.

During that time the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet gained traction on Twitter, taking the top trending spot for hours.

Shortly after her flight landed, the Twitter account was deleted. Later, Sacco's Facebook account also was deleted.

IAC issued the following statement: "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."

This wasn't the only tweet that raised eyebrows. Other tweets from Sacco's Twitter account included:

"I had a sex dream about an autistic kid last night. #fml" tweeted on February 24, 2012 and "I can't be fired for things I say while intoxicated right?" tweeted on January 30, 2013.

IAC has taken Justine Sacco's contact information off its website. Sacco could not be reached for comment.

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