Justine Sacco, the woman who tweeted what many are calling the most racist and offensive tweet ever, has apologised, saying she is ashamed of her actions.
The former PR executive tweeted about not getting Aids in Africa because she was white, while on a plane from London to South Africa. The tweet went viral while she was in the air. And by the time she had landed in Johannesburg, the American company she worked for, IAC, had fired her.
Justine was born in South Africa, where her family lives. Her father called her an idiot for her actions, saying he moved her out of South Africa because it was too racist. Oh the irony.
As a native of South Africa, losing her job could mean Justine will lose her US work visa, forcing her to go back to Africa. The continent she publicity insulted.
In a statement released to The Star, a South African newspaper, Justine said:
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. 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.
In a bizarre twist a website has now been set up, called www.justinesacco.com which redirects people to the Aid for Africa website, where users can make a donation to the charity.