PR executive Justine Sacco set Twitter ablaze this past weekend with an innapropriate and offensive tweet about AIDS in Africa. Before leaving for Cape Town the native South African tweeted: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
The tweet soon went viral and was met with thousands of harsh replies, unbeknownst to Sacco who did not have Internet access on her flight.
Websites like Buzzfeed picked up the story and highlighted her Twitter account which, went from hundreds of followers to thousands. Reactions varied from downright hateful to somewhat sympathetic because Sacco had no chance to defend herself. Before long, parody accounts started to appear of Twitter and a hashtag #HasJustineLanded was created — because what’s a twitter scandal without a hashtag? In addition, people scourged through her Twitter feed in search of other life details and tweets that may be found offensive.
By Saturday Sacco had landed, deleted her Twitter account, and been let go by her company IAC — she was the head of cooperate communications for the media company which operates websites like The Daily Beast, About.com, Match.com, and more. She also released an apologized “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.”
Sacco is not the first, nor will she be the last, to receive a public stoning on Twitter as a result of a “needless and careless tweet”. The reaction to these tweets have become just as common and as the incidents themselves. How do you react? Do you simply retweet was was said, take part in the condemning hashtag, attack the tweeter, or something in between? Let us know below.