Justine Sacco, who made international headlines with her tweet about Africa and AIDS, apologized after she was fired.
Sacco was a communications executive for IAC, the parent company of a range of tech products such as Vimeo, CollegeHumor, and Dictionary.com.
Her tweet was “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” and it sparked a fierce backlash.
After she landed in South Africa, she discovered a firestorm that included death threats. She was also fired.
In a statement, Sacco apologized.
“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,” she said. “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.”