Her Tweet Ignited a Massive Internet Firestorm (UPDATE: Media Company Has ‘Parted Ways’ with Exec)

UPDATE 4:34 p.m.: IAC, the media company owned by Barry Diller, says it has “parted ways” with Justine Sacco, the PR executive whose tweet about AIDS in Africa went viral and upset the Internet, CNN reported.

Original story is below

“I am so sorry,” InterActiveCorp communications director Justine Sacco wrote on Facebook.

Justine Sacco was at the center of controversy after a tweet she posted about race and AIDS in Africa Friday ignited outrage. (Image source: Facebook)

Earlier that day, Sacco ignited a massive firestorm of controversy on the Internet after tweeting, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”

A screen grab of Justine Sacco’s tweet before it was deleted. (Image source: Screen grab via Twitter)

The tweet was posted to the popular blog Gawker and then picked up by BuzzFeed where it was widely circulated on the Internet and condemned as racist.

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IAC, the parent of Internet giants Match.com, The Daily Beast and Dictionary.com, among others, released a statement hinting disciplinary action would be taken against Sacco.

“This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC,” the company said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the employee in question is unreachable on an international flight, but this is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action.”

[sharequote align=”center”]“This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC.”[/sharequote]

But that was not enough to quell the Internet’s outrage. On Saturday evening, the hashtag “#HasJustineLandedYet” became the number one trend worldwide.

Users continued to lambast the public relations executive, while anxiously waiting for her to land and issue a response to the controversy.

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Upon arriving at her destination in Africa, Sacco immediately deleted her tweet and deleted her account.

But the incident also opened up a discussion on whether or not Sacco was the victim of cyberbullying.

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Some even came to her defense, arguing she shouldn’t lose her job for a tasteless joke.

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At the time of publication, it was not immediately clear if Sacco had faced any disciplinary action from IAC.

What do you think?

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