Justine Sacco ‘Really Suffered’ After Insensitive AIDS Tweet


A former public relations executive, whose offensive tweet about AIDS went viral a year ago, is reportedly featured in a soon-to-be-released book in which she discusses the fallout, according to the Hollywood Reporter, citing a report at BuzzFeed News.


Justine Sacco, the former IAC public relations executive, said the experience was traumatic, she tells Jon Ronson, who is writing So You've Been Publicly Shamed, BuzzFeed writes.

The incident occurred last year on Dec. 20 after Sacco posted a tweet before taking a trip to South Africa: "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"

"It was incredibly traumatic," she said of the ensuing backlash, according to an advance proof of the book obtained by BuzzFeed News. “You don't sleep. You wake up in the middle of the night forgetting where you are. All of a sudden, you don't know what you're supposed to do."

The tweet stayed online for hours without being deleted, and a hashtag (#HasJustineLandedYet) became a trending topic on Twitter, the Hollywood Reporter says. Subsequently, she was fired as the communications officer at Barry Diller's IAC.

"It was a joke about a dire situation that does exist in postapartheid South Africa that we don't pay attention to," Ronson quotes Sacco as saying, according to BuzzFeed. "It was completely outrageous commentary on the disproportionate AIDS statistics."

She goes on to somewhat justify the commentary, which she says was taken out of context. "To put it simply, I wasn't trying to raise awareness of AIDS, or piss off the world, or ruin my life," BuzzFeed quotes her as saying. "Living in America puts us in a bit of a bubble when it comes to what is going on in the Third World. I was making fun of that bubble."

Read more at the Hollywood Reporter and BuzzFeed News.