4TH UPDATE: Issuing a statement to South African newspaper The Star and ABC News, SA-born PR pro Justine Sacco apologized for the offensive AIDS Tweet that led to her firing from IAC over the weekend: “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. 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.
“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.
“This is my father’s country, and I was born here. I cherish my ties to South Africa and my frequent visits, but I am in anguish knowing that my remarks have caused pain to so many people here; my family, friends and fellow South Africans. I am very sorry for the pain I caused.”
3RD UPDATE, SATURDAY PM: Justine Sacco has been swiftly sacked by Barry Diller‘s IAC a day after posting her controversial AIDS Tweet. “The offensive comment does not reflect the views and values of IAC,” the company said in a statement Saturday. “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.”
2ND UPDATE, 1:18 AM: Seems that JustineSacco6 isn’t Justine Sacco after all. “Okay ya’ll. I have a confession. I’m not Justine,” a Tweet on the almost brand new Twitter page has now said. Which means that while IAC have taken the real Sacco off their corporate website, there is no official word if the Communications director still has her job or not after tweeting what the company termed “offensive” remarks about AIDS and Africa on Friday.
UPDATE, 12:45 AM: IAC has taken Justine Sacco’s contact information off their website but has the internet and media company actually fired their Corporate Communications chief for her “outrageous, offensive comment” on Twitter earlier today about AIDS and Africa? Yes according to a new Twitter page belonging to a JustineSacco6, who is claiming to be the Barry Diller-run company’s PR chief …or rather, IAC’s former communications director. “I just got the news that I have been fired from IAC. I expected this. Again, I’m truly sorry and full of regret,” the just launched Twitter account wrote late Friday night LA time. The page also contains dozens of tweets apologizing as well as thanking Scandal star Kerry Washington for her private message of “forgiveness” and claiming to be receiving death threats. One thing is clear, the company, who issued a statement condemning the remarks and saying that they were “taking appropriate action, has removed Sacco’s name from the Contact Us section of their website. While Sacco’s original Twitter page disappeared today after her remarks were picked up all over the Internet, Twitter has not verified this new page on the social media site. Additionally, no one from IAC has confirmed that Sacco has in fact been canned. We’ll update as we learn more.
PREVIOUSLY, 10:02PM: Barry Diller‘s IAC has issued a statement in response to a tweet by its chief communications director that has sparked a firestorm on social media. Justine Sacco, who describes herself on her Twitter account as “troublemaker on the side” sent the tweet below Friday while on a flight to Africa. Her account has since been taken down.
Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!
— Justine Sacco (@JustineSacco) December 20, 2013
IAC issued the following statement in response:
“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.”
Media and internet company IAC houses digital brands that include Ask.com, Match.com and Vimeo.