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A PR executive for major media company IAC who tweeted a racist 'joke' on Friday that sparked a social media revolt has been fired from her position following the incident.
Justine Sacco - the now-former Communications Director for IAC, a company owned by Barry Diller - was about to board a 12-hour flight from London to Cape Town when she Tweeted: 'Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just Kidding. I'm White!'
The post had been retweeted over 3,000 times and was picked up by media outlets around the world, however Sacco remained completely unaware of it all because she was in the air.
The blonde publicist was pictured arriving in Cape Town looking shocked and talking on her phone.
Moments later the offending Tweet and Sacco's Twitter account disappeared.
A spokeswoman for the company has now confirmed Sacco has indeed been sacked.
Flying into the storm: This photo, snapped by Twitter user Zac_R, was taken as Justine Sacco got off a 12 hour flight at Cape Town airport after arriving from London. The PR representative would have just been discovering the furor her racist Tweet had created while she was in the air
Justine Sacco has no idea her offensive tweet made the news because she is on a flight to Africa
Career suicide: IAC says that they will take 'appropriate action' against the tweet sent by Justine Sacco (pictured above in shots from her Facebook account) with the high powered executive likely to lose her job
'There is no excuse for the hateful statements that have been made and we condemn them unequivocally,' a rep told The Daily Beast.
'The offensive comment does not reflect the views and values of IAC.
'We take this issue very seriously, and we have parted ways with the employee in question.'
Sacco was blasted for being 'outrageous' and 'inappropriate', with titles like 'Worst Tweet of the Year' stacking up against her.
Despite deleting the Tweet, the damage had been done in those 12 hours she was flying.
Before confirming they had fired her, IAC released an earlier statement condemning Sacco's behavior as 'outrageous and offensive'.
'This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC. Unfortunately, the employee in question is unreachable on an international flight, but this is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action,' a representative from IAC told the International Business Times.
Sacco landed in Africa on British Airways Flight 43 about 11.30pm Friday and one can only imagine the number of angry responses she would have recieved once turning her cell phone on.
One man, Zac R, Tweeted that he went to the airport specifically to see her and took photos of her arrival.
The Cape Town local also claimed to have spoken to Sacco's father, who is South African.
The hashtag '#hasjustinelandedyet' was trending on Twitter around the world at the time as thousands awaited Sacco's response.
The Twittersphere was fascinated with the fact that as all the drama she caused unfolded, Sacco was blissfully unaware of any it up in the air.
In February 2012 Sacco had Tweeted: 'I had a sex dream about an autistic kid last night.'
Then about 12 hours before the racist Tweet, she wrote: 'Weird German Dude: You're in first class. It's 2014. Get some deodorant' -Inner monologue as I inhale BO. Thank god for pharmaceuticals.'
However it was 'joke' about Africa and AIDS that caused the commotion.
Twitter user Stephanie Be wrote in response: 'WOW! Reinforce the ignorant American stereotype much?'
John M. Becker tweeted: 'Are you even real?!? This is utterly ghastly on so many levels.'
Josephine Baker wrote: 'listen, homegirl is about to be FIRED.'
Huffington Post stated that there is a possibility that the young PR executive's account may have been hacked. However that is unlikely as her twitter profile has a number of other tweets that may also be deemed offensive.
Sacco wrote wrote: 'I can't be fired for things I say while intoxicated right?'
Sacco also wrote: 'I like animals, but when it's this cold out I'll skin one myself for the fur' and tweeted the comment directly at PETA, a famous animal rights organization.
The Tulane alum also tweeted: 'Last day of hurricane season. Can't wait for evacuations next year.'
Ironically enough, Tulane is located in New Orleans, a city in which more than half of the population is black, according to infoplease.com.
New Orleans also suffered tremendously after Hurricane Katrina decimated homes, took several lives, and wrecked the local economy.
One Twitter user took it so far as to create a fake profile for Sacco named LOL Justine Sacco. Her Byline reads, 'PR Disaster. Racist idiot. All-around awful.'
One of the mock tweets reads, 'I think the lady across the aisle is clicking at me. I'm sorry...I don't speak Kwanzaa LOL #whitesanta #longestflightever #haveilandedyet'
Another mock tweet reads, '@Paperboy415 Been downing #WhiteRussians all flight in support of #Sochi2014! Seat 5A sent me a Johnnie Walker Black, but I sent it back!'
Joke's on her: Sacco's tweet inspired twitter users like this one to make a mock page dedicated to her racist comments
You most certainly can: This tweet Sacco wrote in January may have been a self fulfilling prophecy
What a mess: Sacco will have some explaining to do for her sloppy behavior on twitter
The Mail Online tried contacting IAC's media relations department, and since the contact listed on their website was Sacco herself, no one was available for comment.
Upon looking at the IAC website again, her name has been removed and has been replaced with 'corporate communications.' The voice mail which previously gave out her personal cell phone number for media inquiries with a strict deadline, has also been changed.
The reason Sacco is traveling to Africa is still unknown, but chances are that Sacco won't get the warmest Christmas welcome.
According to dosomething.org out of the 34 million people in the world who have HIV, 69 percent live in sub-Saharan Africa. There are around 23.8 million people in Africa with AIDS.
AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is caused by the Virus HIV ( Human immunodeficiency syndrome). It can be transmitted via sexual intercourse, blood to blood contact, or childbirth.
HIV greatly lowers the human immune system making it easier for those infected to carry fatal diseases