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.
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.
— Hercules Mulligan's back b/c that energy is needed (@johnvmoore) December 21, 2013
— Angus Johnston ? (@studentactivism) December 21, 2013
This is better than watching a bad driver get pulled over by the cops. #HasJustineLandedYet
— ??♀️ (@vinabean) December 21, 2013
— The Fake Santa Claus (@zumikiss) December 21, 2013
Probably aren't 10 comedians ever who could land a white privilege/Africa is a continent not a country/AIDS joke. #HasJustineLandedYet
— Anil Dash (@anildash) December 21, 2013
'Twas a quarter 'til 10, and all through the Net, all of Twitter was asking, #HasJustineLandedYet?
— Carrie Ghose (@cghoseBiz1st) December 21, 2013
Sometimes you land with more baggage than you took off with. #HasJustineLandedYet
— Mike Monteiro? (@monteiro) December 21, 2013
Anyone else feel like they're in the dark, crouched behind a sofa, waiting to jump up and yell "SURPRISE!!!"? #HasJustineLandedYet
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) December 21, 2013
— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) December 21, 2013
We're getting close. Justine, assume the (career) crash position… #HasJustineLandedYet
— @PiaGlenn (@PiaGlenn) December 21, 2013
They told me "Go out! It's a Friday night!" I said "Never. There's an awesome show I have to watch on Twitter." #HasJustineLandedYet
— Hemant Mehta (@hemantmehta) December 21, 2013
It appears Justine has landed, and deleted the tweet a bit before midnight Eastern.
— Gus (@Gus_802) December 21, 2013
And now the entire account is deleted.
Deleting your twitter account is like throwing a huge blanket over the car you just wrecked. Nothing to see here. #HasJustineLandedYet
— Lisa Factora-Borchers (@LFB27) December 21, 2013
Editor’s note: After publishing, we slightly altered the description of Ms. Sacco’s joke to more accurately characterize what she tweeted.
“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.”