Former IAC PR executive Justine Sacco whose insensitive tweet about AIDS last year is reportedly featured in the upcoming book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed — where she recalls the warranted backlash she received.
On Dec. 20 of last year, Sacco posted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
The insensitive tweet stayed online for hours and the #HasJustineLandedYet hashtag became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter. Sacco was later fired as the communications officer at Barry Diller’s IAC.
“I had a great career and I loved my job and it was taken away from me and there was a lot of glory in that,” Sacco told Ronson. “It was incredibly traumatic. You don’t sleep. You wake up in the middle of the night forgetting where you are,” Sacco is quoted saying. “All of a sudden, you don’t know what you’re supposed to do.”
In Ronson’s book, Sacco reflects on the event and backlash.
“It was a joke about a dire situation that does exist in post-apartheid South Africa that we don’t pay attention to. It was completely outrageous commentary on the disproportionate AIDS statistics,” Sacco wrote. “Unfortunately, I am not a character on South Park or a comedian, so I had no business commenting on the epidemic in such a politically incorrect manner on a public platform. To put it simply, I wasn’t trying to raise awareness of AIDS, or piss off the world, or ruin my life. 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.”