Twitter Turns Ugly Over PR Person’s Idiotic Tweet


Justine Sacco was, until Friday, the top PR person for InterActiveCorp, the New York media conglomerate run by Barry Diller. IAC owns the Daily Beast, Vimeo,, and, among many others. On her now-deactivated Twitter account, Sacco called herself a “troublemaker on the side” known for her “loud laugh.” Perhaps it was inevitable that this self-image would clash with her high-rolling position.

Because Sacco has made a world of trouble for herself, and as I wrote this, she didn’t even know it. Before she got on a plane Friday, a tweet emerged from Sacco’s account, a joke of such monumental stupidity that it was hard for many people to believe her account wasn’t hacked:

Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!

— Justine Sacco (@JustineSacco) December 20, 2013

Point of fact, nobody knew if Justine Sacco’s account was hacked, or if she left her phone when she boarded her plane in London. But that didn’t stop IAC from issuing a preemptive press statement: “This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC,” the company said. “This is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action.”


Start the conversation