It was the (tasteless) joke heard around the Twitterverse, as a public relations professional managed to make an AIDS joke that some perceived as racist.

It’s been retweeted nearly 4,000 times in 12 hours, and now it’s inspired a post on the New York Times website and its own hashtag, #HasJustineLandedYet, which trended high among Twitter’s trending topics Friday night.

Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 11.21.39 PM

It even inspired a NORAD-style tracker.

Sacco didn’t say where she was going to in Africa, but that hasn’t stopped Twitter from imagining her arrival at the terminal.

It appears Justine has landed, and deleted the tweet a bit before midnight Eastern.

And now the entire account is deleted.

Imagine …

Editor’s note: After publishing, we slightly altered the description of Ms. Sacco’s joke to more accurately characterize what she tweeted.


‘Worst tweet ever’? PR ‘pro’ manages to sound ‘racist,’ mock AIDS in a single tweet


Sacco has been fired and has apologized for her AIDS joke:

“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,” Sacco said in the statement. “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.”

  • sardiverdave

    Yeah, it was tasteless and not particularly funny, but since when did it become good sport to ruin a person’s life over a bad joke?

    We have, every one of us, said something we regret or was taken to task over. Is destroying someone’s livelihood, gleefully, what we have become?

    • CR

      Agreed. This is shameful the way people are behaving against this person. She is not a public figure/celebrity, just because she does PR for a company, and there is really no excuse for the way people are acting.

    • Kammy

      Agree. So is this how we spend our days lynching someone and cheering their firing. Whose next? So much fun.

    • grais

      Well, this sort of thing seems to be becoming the nature of social media. I I I I think we’ll see more and more of it, unfortunately.

    • Suzyqpie

      Phil Robertson’s saga will deliver the answer to your question, is this what we have become. Justine is entertaining minutia, aka, 15 mins of fame. Phil Robertson is a media sensation and commands far greater wealth, which, of course, drives the media focus.

    • UniQueLyEviL

      It looks like she’s said a LOT of things, publicly that she should regret. Maybe she’s just a shitty fucking person?

      • sardiverdave

        Which of us doesn’t say things we regret? She made comments about Germans and Brits, too. She seemed pretty equal opportunity. If the French ever find out what I’ve said about them…well, I’m not really worried about the French.

        There are people all over the place who have ideas that many of us find offensive, or just disagree with, but that doesn’t mean they deserve treatment like this.

        This woman has lost her job because BuzzFeed Andrew was bored, and decided a human sacrifice was in order. An obscure, largely unseen comment got blown all to hell, and this woman has had people rooting for her rape and death. Frankly, I find that sort of behavior even worse than anything this woman said. Don’t you?

        The kicker is, I strongly suspect it was more a comment about white privilege than racist (judging by her political leanings, which are apparent in her twitter feed.)

        • UniQueLyEviL

          No, I don’t.
          Someone in a position that she was in spouting the kind of things that she would laugh about regularly concerns me. PR!?!!? REALLY!

          • sardiverdave

            She wasn’t representing her company in those tweets. She shouldn’t have listed her employer in her info, but when I’m not on the clock, my employer doesn’t own me or what I say. Would suspect yours doesn’t, either.

            Not the issue, though. We’ve gotten into a mob mentality in the recent past. A woman tweeted a picture of herself in a Halloween costume of a Boston bombing marathon runner. Within a few hours, nude photos of her had been posted, her father’s business was being threatened, and she lost her job. It was tasteless and tacky, yes. But for crying out loud, destroying someone to…what? Make yourself think you’ve done some service to humanity?

            And it’s a little alarming that you don’t think calling for the rape and murder of someone for an offensive comment is worse than the comment itself (assuming I read you correctly). Where’s the sense of proportion?

    • irishgirl91

      What does it say about our society that a nude selfie sent to random person is less of a career ender than a stupid joke. Both show a lack of judgment as to the power of the internet.

      • Guest

        Yeah, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • UniQueLyEviL

        Whoops thought you had responded to me.

  • Furrystoat

    Yes it was the wrong thing for her to say but the lynch-mob mentality on the #HasJustineLandedYet hashtag is chilling. She doesn’t have the wherewithal to hire 24/7 security like the Robertsons and I fear that this will not end well at all for her. A drunken tweet shouldn’t translate into being torn apart or “necklaced” by a mob when you arrive at an airport, but that’s the mood I’m seeing on twitter right now.

    • Headster

      Who says she was drunk? She has a history of doing things like this.

      • Furrystoat

        Okay, fine. Let’s say that’s the way she normally is. Does that justify the worldwide bloodthirsty shrieking lynch mob that was so abundantly in evidence on that hashtag? Has it gotten to the point where people can justify mob violence against a private individual just because of the way they think?

        • Jeff McCabe

          I only know about the tweets on this page. None of which are as you describe.

  • Pirate Wench

    This is like watching the lynch mob mentality for the Martin Bashir thing too… but hey AMERICA!!! Ya’ll weren’t so worried about the first amendment or saying something dumb in that case. Welcome to the hypocrisy of the GOP.

    • CR

      You cannot see a difference between a major TV personality on a major TV news network making vile and disgusting comments on television and some random PR exec making a stupid joke on Twitter when she probably had like 20 followers before the Internet lynch mob found her.

      Welcome to the idiocy of a liberal.

    • TugboatPhil ✓Mate

      You do know Bashir read his researched and prepared remarks off a teleprompter. There is a difference in the two incidents whether you want to see it or not.

    • Michelle ✓classified

      Lynch mob is a racist term, please refrain from using it as it offends me.

    • Zach Smith

      What Bashir did was premeditated and deliberately foul, nasty, and degrading. This just appears to be a poorly thought out spur-of-the-moment joke.

      • yestradamous

        Another difference. Bashir was speaking to a large audience and is a public person.
        This is a tweet from someone nobody every heard of.

      • 3seven77

        Yes, it was that and it was also directed specifically at one person, Sarah Palin.. What Bashir did was not a joke or a mistake. He knew what he was doing and I think he never would have apologized if he had his own way.

    • Winter

      Pot meet kettle. The left started the lynch mob mentality. It goes back decades but let’s start with something more recent like the Imus firing….You can’t get to be outraged for your side and expect the other side to just shut up. I’d be happy if everyone were allowed to speak without the threat of losing their jobs but it seems you guys insisted on that first so effin deal with it.

    • bluewaternavy

      Martin Bashir spoke on the air of sh**ting down Sarah Palin’s throat. He didn’t just slip saying that-he prepared those words for his TelePrompter. He INTENDED to be out rightly offensive Because he’s a liberal you want a pass?

  • ee1774

    This just in: White people don’t get aids.

    Who knew?

    • Michelle ✓classified

      Apparently Justine did.

    • Dave Pinsen

      Heterosexual whites are less likely to get it than other groups. For example, in the US, heterosexual white women represented only 2.6% of new AIDS cases in 2010 (see figure 1 here), and 44% of new AIDS victims were black, despite blacks being only 12% of the US population. Similarly, sub-Saharan Africa has an AIDS incidence rate of 4.9%, nearly 25x as high as that of Western and Central Europe, at 0.2%.

      The statistical reality — that whites are less likely to be AIDS victims than blacks — is part of what made Sacco’s tweet offensive.

      • Zach Smith

        Truth is what makes things offensive?

        • Dave Pinsen

          By itself, no. But tactless truth can be offensive.

          • Suzyqpie

            Yes, there are various categories of Truth. The introduction of the Menu Choices of Truth is truly a seismic event. For instance, NYT menu choice for Pres 0bama’s lie was “incorrect promise.” For Hillary the menu choice is “misspoke.” Biden gets the unilateral “Uncle Joe” excuse for lying. See how this is working, your menu choice was “tactless” truth. The various adjectives quantifying “Truth” provide nota bene.

    • pdigaudio

      Tell that to Rock Hudson.

  • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Justine is headed for Jo’burg, where, although Madiba got planted the other day, the endless weeping and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments proceeds apace. She might actually be able to horn in on a piece of that action, if she’s lucky.

    • Suzyqpie

      Broadcasting a selfie has proven to be a very successful tactic when horning in on the action is the goal.

      • TugboatPhil ✓Mate

        “….when horning in on the action is the goal.”

        Was this an Anthony Weiner quote?

        • Suzyqpie

          Very funny Tugboat, Weiner is a victim of the 0bama economy. He is still unemployed. Weiner is the perfect profile for an msnbc show since they lost Baldwin & Bashire. Merry Christmas to you.

  • DavidKramer

    Sorry peeps, if you are in PR, you do not make stoopid jokes on the internet, just saying.

    • TomJB

      Kind of surprised she deleted the whole account. As a PR rep, one would think she would at least give the old “my account was hacked,” or, “I left my phone on the bar for 30 seconds,” canned response a try

      • Dave Pinsen

        Clearly, her employer deleted it.

        • TomJB

          I read it as if she deleted it immediately upon checking after landing. Was this not a personal twitter account? Since it was her name I would think her employer had no access to it. *shrug*

    • Suzyqpie

      In the past, Old School, I would agree, stoopid Internet jokes are not good. We are in New Skool. Lying and Outrage are New Skool successful marketing tools. For example, Lying is 0bama’s successful marketing tool, Outrage is Mylie Cyrus’s successful marketing tool. Justice is displaying the Outrage Tool. So we can expect to see major copy cats mimicking the successful strategy. I’m following the Phil Robertson saga to see how the media bacchanalia of New Skool vs Old School works out.

  • Will B Good

    Some shoes I don’t want to don, and Ms Sacco’s is one of those pairs.

  • Maxx

    The truth of social media is, at its best, invigorating opinions move freely back and forth yet at its worst, the cost of that free speech can be profoundly expensive.

    I would guess for Justine, her life has now changed forever. I lost my cousin to AIDS back in the mid 80’s but I have no anger towards this woman for what clearly was an attempt at humor which was awash in ignorance. She just needs to get educated. She made a mistake, just as Bashir did. I’m so sick of these noun ninjas who think humans suddenly have to be mistake-free. Get over it. She screwed up. Let her learn from it and perhaps a better human will return from Africa.

  • yardyspice

    I think this is the best “I quit!” tweet ever. Umm…she wasn’t trying to quit….O_0

  • justinc

    What a dumbass. Now she’s JustineSacco6

  • Furrystoat

    Here’s one of the more calm, reasoned voices in this entire matter:

    • H50 ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Keep it up twitterazzi, when someone beats her to a pulp or hangs her from a bridge will you be happy?

      • Furrystoat

        It seems to me that “Mrs MandyM” above would absolutely love to get together with Winnie Mandela and have a nice “necklacing” party with Miss Sacco. I saw literally hundreds, perhaps thousands of tweets just like the one above and FAR worse at the #hasjustinelandedyet hashtag while her plane was still in the air.

        I don’t think anybody should be murdered over a tweet, but mine was DEFINITELY the minority view from what I saw.

        • H50 ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          I don’t even think she should be fired over this tweet, let alone killed. From what Ive read, he father is well off/connected so hopefully she should be safe.

  • san rafael blue

    If Justine has even a peck of sense she is like many people here, and has used a fake name or a fake gender. If that’s her real-real name/ gender, smile a lot and say a little as possible

  • jon0815

    Ace is not happy with Twitchy for joining the lynch mob against someone who was not a public figure.

    The person who really needs shaming here is the Buzzfeed guy who found her obscure tweet, for being a tattletale and a bully.

  • yviemarie88

    “Restriction on free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”
    -Thurgood Marshall, former Supreme Court Justice

  • J_W_C_NM

    Her tweet wasn’t even racist. “I’m going to Africa” Why would a racist go to Africa? I hope I don’t get AIDS” Who hopes that they do get AIDS? “I’m white” We can see that from your picture.

    • TugboatPhil ✓Mate

      I think it was Katie Pavlich who identified the ailment of the offended class as Offendluenza.

  • Chris Coon

    Anyone who spent yesterday defending Phil Robertson and then last night beating up on this random stranger is an ass.

  • CrustyB

    The Twitchy community has decided this tweet is racist. People I respect on Twitter (John Nolte, exjon) are saying it’s not. I’m sitting here, scratching my head, trying to figure out what she meant in the first place and not particularly caring.

  • californa red

    When I read the original tweet, I read it as commentary on the disparity in infection rates between whites and blacks. This woman, through her joke, is saying “it’s not ok that black infection rates are so much higher than whites.” If bill mahr or john Stewart had said it, then this would not be a problem to the pitchfork crew. Sad actually. She’s not racists. And so many people are stupid.

  • MartiniShark

    This is the same woman who once tweeted how she wants “the gays” to rise up and end Kirk Cameron’s career. The irony here is that she will be pulled apart by the same mob of which she had been a member.

    • Wisdom

      She did? Did you have a screenshot?

      • H50 ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        Its floating around, someone had it on twitter and it was getting retweeted a lot. It was from March if I remember correctly.
        When I saw it I thought of Karma.

    • bluewaternavy

      Karma: It always get ya in the end. She just found that out the hard way.

  • Thomas

    I had written this ~> She is a liberal so her career path will improve. Upon a few minutes of reflection however I realized I am above this type of snarkiness. I sincerely hope and pray that she learns a valuable lesson from this experience and that her career path does indeed improve and that she becoems a better person. Merry Christmas Justine Sacco.

    • Dale

      Just announced: Justine Sacco fired by Barry Diller for inappropriate tweet. Karma hits.

  • H50 ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Oh good grief! This dippy lady had less then 100 followers, had BuzzfeedAndrew not made an issue about it, no one would know anything about this idiot.

    Now shes being stalked by the twitterazzi waiting to see her final destruction.
    This is our world now?
    Edit to add; just been looking at twitter, some of the things folks are saying need to be done to this woman are scary. The energy folks spend defending “the need to put a bullet in her brain to cure her ignorance” when called out is also pretty frightening.
    Im starting to really fear for this womans safety.

  • BoscoBolt

    Justine Sacco has been FIRED:

    ‘IAC PR Exec Out After AIDS Tweet Uproar’

    • H50 ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Been warning you liberals ever since Paula Deen. You are not exempt from the ravages of the PC dingos. Hope your happy.

  • hybrid

    Normally I wouldn’t post but this definitely seems to be an intentional stalk and take down to me. Her dad appears to be Desmond Sacco, the guy owns the Assore Group which is a fairly big mining group in south africa, seems his company didn’t get as badly affected during the miner strikes awhile back compared to the others. I wonder if this was some way to send a message to the dad via the daughter?

    • H50 ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Mostly, it was just BuzzfeedAndrew being an asshat again.
      I agree with you tho that has reached a ridiculous intentional stalk and take down level tho.

    • Paul Wartenberg

      thing is, she’d been documented saying insulting tweets before. this was the first time it came across as so intentionally demeaning that enough people were outraged by it. The fact she tweeted this before a flight that took hours to complete, leaving her out of communication, was an implausible twist on the story that 1) prevented her from reacting fast enough to salvage something and 2) allowed everyone else time to login to see what the fuss was about and then wait for the landing and response.

  • eddie333

    Over the months, Justine Sacco has sent out many coarse tweets and never was an issue made of it–until she made such a comment about black people. We all know how delicate and precious black people are and how we must never say anything remotely “racist” lest they melt or shatter into pieces.

    • Electradivine

      And your post is a great example why conservatives are thought of as bigots/racist good job

  • Bob Nelson

    She was fired.

  • san rafael blue

    This whole episode was like the grown up version of “You’re Gonna GET IT!!!!”
    What? Nobody gets second chances anymore, or stern warnings from Da Boss?

  • Paul Wartenberg

    Blue buggy punch! No punch backs!

  • JohnFLob

    Can we fire President Obama and Joe Biden for the tasteless and dumb things (jokes?) they have told?

  • Val Gruen

    Some of you people are really something else. Justine Sacco RUINED HER OWN LIFE!!! She should have thought first before saying such a stupid thing. I mean she didn’t just say a “tasteless joke” It was based in racism and discrimination. Those of you talking about “when did it become a sport to ruin people’s lives” I fear for your future careers as well. If you’re dismissing what was said as just a “tasteless joke”

  • Ghenghis Greg

    So just out of the blue ( no pun intended) they pick one tweet out of the millions out there, no to mention all the “lets Kill the NRARepublicansConservatives” that Twitchy has posted, the left-wingers and Aid for Africa select a White female, started a hashtag, stole her name for a website and basically ruined her life. I know it wasn’t a smart statement, but this is disturbing. She isn’t a public figure, politician or star. They went out of their way and electronically lynched this woman, I feel sorry for her.