After two days as the target of international anger, Justine Sacco, the former communications executive for Barry Diller’s IAC, has broken her silence to apologize for the offensive Twitter joke that cost her her job.
Sacco sent the Tweet — which read “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” — just before boarding a flight to South Africa. By the time she landed, her Twitter history, past and family connections were being dissected by reporters and her employer had cut ties and distanced itself from her.
Justine Sacco’s statement to South African press:
Words can not 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. 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.