NEW YORK Dec 22 A public relations executive
who ignited an online furor after posting a message on Twitter
joking about AIDS in Africa, apologized on Sunday, saying she
was ashamed of her comment.
Justine Sacco, who was subsequently fired from the prominent
New York-based Internet media company IAC/InterActive Corp
after the tweet created a firestorm on social media,
issued a statement of remorse on Sunday to ABC News and South
Africa's The Star newspaper.
"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," she said.
"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," the statement said.
Just before boarding a plane for South Africa on Friday,
Sacco posted a tweet to her online account, saying: "Going to
Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"
Sacco's tweet quickly circulated outside her relatively
small circle of about 500 followers, with thousands of users
denouncing the comment as racist and insensitive. Others called
for her dismissal from her post as IAC's director of corporate
Sacco apparently remained unaware of the controversy caused
by the comment until she landed in Cape Town about 12 hours
later. She quickly issued a tweet apologizing, then deleted her
IAC, which had condemned the message, said on Saturday that
the company and Sacco had "parted ways."
IAC operates more than a dozen Internet websites, including
the news site The Daily Beast, Vimeo, CollegeHumor and dating
websites like Match.com and OKCupid.