Yesterday, a white person tweeted something horrible. We tend to do that, but this time there was a catch: this white person — Justine Sacco, the global head of communications for the Barry Diller-led firm IAC — was on a 12-hour flight from London to Cape Town, giving the internet an inordinate amount of time to gather its torches.
As Sacco flew south through Europe and over Africa, her life began to slowly unravel. On the day when no one at work wants to work, she became the unwitting focus of Twitter, quickly eliciting a response from her boss Diller, who called her AIDS joke "outrageous, and offensive" (true!). As day became night on the East Coast, the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet shot up Twitter's list of trending topics. Google — in case you were wondering what people there do in their spare time — jumped in as well, displaying a real-time flight tracker at the top of search results for Sacco's name. (Or maybe they didn't.) Someone registered the domain name justinesacco.com and directed it to the homepage of Aid for Africa. There were even highly relevant Photoshops!
Then Sacco landed in Cape Town, where her father was waiting for her. Also waiting for her — of course — was some random dude who proceeded to interview the man. Apparently her dad is kind of an asshole? Sacco eventually deleted the Tweet and soon her entire account. Then IAC deleted her existence from its web site.
Sacco prrrrrrrrrobably doesn't have a job anymore, though a bad AIDS joke likely won't keep a good PR person down for too long. Sooner or later, Sacco will be employed again and potentially back on Twitter, except this time she'll probably be smart enough to keep her racist jokes amongst friends.
And thus concludes another heartwarming version of "An Internet Story," just in time for the holidays.
UPDATE: On Saturday afternoon, IAC officially canned Justine Sacco.
[photo of Justine Sacco via Facebook]