The Justine Sacco Story: How A PR Exec. Caused Her Own Bad Publicity!

The Justine Sacco Story: How A PR Exec. Caused Her Own Bad Publicity!

A Life Lesson On Why You Should “Think Before You Tweet.”
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Imagine this scenario, you are flying from New York to South Africa in order to visit your family. It is December 20th, 2013 and you have landed in London for a layover. Right before you board, you have decided to tweet a funny joke to your 170 followers. Before the flight takes off, you see no new notifications. After 11 hours in the air, you have finally landed. Once you have turned your phone back on, you have discovered that you are the #1 trending topic on Twitter, worldwide. Also, fired from your Senior Director of Corporate Communications job at InterActive Corporation. If you are Justine Sacco, this is your story.

Justine Sacco’s original tweet, which has since been deleted.

Before the Twitterstorm, Justine Sacco was a PR executive for InterActive Corporation (IAC). Her job involved helping major companies, like College Humor and Match.com, with public reactions work. She was only 30 years old and had one of the greatest jobs of all time. While she worked in New York, her father was living in South Africa. Justine decided to visit her family during the holiday season. Sacco has made questionable tweets before, but none of them has landed her in trouble before. Some include “I had a sex dream about an autistic kid last night. #fml” and “I can’t be fired for things I say while intoxicated right?”

One of Justine Sacco’s followers was finally shocked to see the offensive tweet. The follower sent the tweet to a Gawker journalist with 15,000 followers. The journalist, Sam Biddle, retweeted the offensive comment. Thus, a Twitterstorm was born. Buzzfeed first shared the tweet to millions of people. Soon, The NYTimes, Daily Mail, ABCNews, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Washington Post, and more were writing about the story.

During the Twitterstorm, when people Googled her name, British Airways Flight 43’s flight tracker appeared. This was the exact flight that Justine Sacco was on. Many people were tracking Justine’s arrival time. Since Justine had an 11-hour flight with no wifi, people knew she did not realize the fiasco she created. The people of Twitter were anxiously waiting to see what Justine would do after her realization that her racist tweet went viral. Because of the long wait, people began tweeting #HasJustineLandedYet, which was the exact hashtag that trended number one, worldwide.

A map showing where Justine’s tweet became the most viral.

The people of South Africa began boycotting Justine’s arrival. Many people wanted Justine to be sent on a flight back home. Others were tweeting InterActive Corp. to fire Justine. Others were trying to spread awareness to the issue of AIDs. Most people were tweeting to Justine about her ignorance on the issue. Justine is the white woman in the header. What is most upsetting about her tweet, is how she knows how lucky she is to be white. While AIDs can affect many kinds of people, it mostly affects people in Africa. Instead of Justine realizing how lucky she is to be a white woman in America, she mocks those who are less fortunate than her. This is why her tweet went viral, people were upset about how ungrateful she was to be living an AIDs free life.

Once Justine Sacco landed and discovered everything, she did not issue an apology. Instead, she began to delete her Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts. Days later, she finally apologized but it was too late to say sorry for her racist tweet.

Justine Sacco explained herself years later to the journalist. In his book, So You've Been Publicly Shamed, Ronson shares what Justine meant with her tweet. She explained to Jon Ronson, “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.” If this was true, that does not explain her previous racist tweets that are down below. Her previous racist tweets do not “make fun of that bubble” in any way.

Other racist tweets that Justine tweeted the night before her AIDs tweet.

An African man named Zac was at the airport where Justine Sacco landed. He was able to find her father and explain the tweet to him. Justine’s father explained that Justine was born in South Africa, but in 1994, he moved the family to New York so that they would not witness the racism at the time. South Africa's apartheid regime ended in 1994, but there was still a major issue of white Africans murdering black Africans for superiority. Justine’s father told Zac that he disapproved of Justine’s tweet and called her an “idiot.” You can see Zac’s tweets below.

Zac’s tweets about Justine’s father’s comments.

Justine Sacco’s company said “This is an outrageous, offensive comment. The employee in question currently unreachable on an into flight.” IAC then revealed to firing her during her flight to Africa. Other major companies and celebrities began tweeting about Justine’s racist tweet. Gogo is an airline that provides wireless internet access. Gogo’s tweet became very popular during the Twitterstorm. Also, Donald Trump (not president at the time) made a “You’re Fired” joke about her. Also, Kerry Washington and Steve Martin made their own jokes on Justine’s tweet.

One of the greatest things to come out of this racist tweet was donations. That night, in disgust of Justine Sacco’s racist tweet, people began to donate to organizations like Care Org., ONE Campaign, and Aid for Africa. These organizations help victims of AIDs in Africa. Aid for Africa even bought the url “www.justinesacco.com” to help create PR for their charity.

The website for “www.justinesacco.com” where you can donate to help victims of AIDs in Africa.

More stories here:

Gilbert Gottfried Fired

Adria Richards Fired

Miley Cyrus gets Brother Fired

Cover Image Credit: Justine Sacco

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Ilhan Omar Is at Best Foolhardy and at Worst, Yes, Anti-Semitic

Her latest statements seem to lack substance, motivation, or direction.

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I find the case of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to be a curious one.

Specifically, I am referring to the recent controversy over select comments of hers that have generated accusations of anti-Semitism. In all honesty, prior to doing research for this article, I was prepared to come to her defense.

When her comments consisted primarily of "Israeli hypnosis" and monied interest, I thought her wording poor, though not too egregiously deviated from that of most politicians in the current climate of bad behavior. After all, Israeli PACs surely do have a monied interest in the orientation of United States policy in the Middle East. Besides, if President Trump can hypothesize about killing someone in broad daylight and receive no official sanction, I don't see the need for the House of Representatives to hand down reprimand to Rep. Omar for simply saying that Israel may have dealt wrongly, regardless of the veracity of that position.

And yet, seemingly discontent that she had not drawn enough ire, Omar continued firing. She questioned the purported dual loyalty of those Americans who support the state of Israel, while also making claim that the beloved former President Obama is actually not all that different from the reviled current President Trump.

In short, the initial (mostly) innocuous statements about the United States' relation with Israel have been supplanted by increasingly bizarre (and unnecessary) postulations.

Those latest two controversies I find most egregious. Questioning the loyalty of an American citizen for espousing support for a heavily persecuted world religion and in defense of a refuge for practitioners of that self-same religion that has existed as an independent state since 1948, seems, in really no uncertain terms, anti-Semitic.

After all, is it not her own party that so adamantly supports persecuted Palestinians in the very same region? Is it not she and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) (who is not without her own streak of anti-Semitic controversy) that have rejected challenges to their own loyalty in being ethnically Somali and Palestinian respectively? Is her claim not akin to the "racist" demands that Obama produce proof of his birth in the United States, and the more concrete racism that asserted he truly was not? And (if you care to reach back so far) can her statement not be equated to suggestions that President John F. Kennedy would be beholden to the Vatican as the first (and to date only) Catholic to hold the presidency?

From what I can discern amongst her commentary, in Omar's mind, the rules that apply to her framework on race, ethnicity, religion, and culture as sacred idols above reproach do not extend to her Jewish contemporaries.

Oh, and may I remind you that over 70% of Jewish Americans voted for Hilary Clinton in 2016.

And yet, beyond even this hypocrisy, is the strange disdain Omar suddenly seems to hold for Barack Obama. Even as a non-Democrat, while I can find reason for this, it is still largely perplexing.

To begin with, I recognize that Ilhan Omar is not your prototypical Democrat. She would scoff at being termed a moderate, and likely would do the same to being labeled a traditional liberal. While she doesn't identify as an outright democratic socialist, one would have to be totally clueless to avoid putting her in the company of those who do, such as Tlaib or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

As such, she's bound to have some critical evaluations of President Obama, despite the lionizing that the Democratic establishment has and continues to engage in. Two points still stick out to me as obvious incongruities in her statement, however.

First, Obama and Trump are nothing alike. Again, this coming from someone who does not regularly support either, I can at least attempt to claim objectivity. While Obama might not have been faithful to all the demands of the far-left during his presidency, his position on the political spectrum was far from the extreme bent that Trump has ventured into.

Secondly, there is the style of the two men to consider. While Obama had his share of goofs and gaffes (I still think it somewhat juvenile that he often refused to say "radical Islamic terrorism" when referring to Islamist extremists) he pales in comparison to Trump. Every week Trump has his foot caught in a new bear trap. Obama is enormously tame in comparison.

And in addition to all of that, one must beg the question of Omar's timing. With Republicans emboldened by her controversies and House Democratic leadership attempting to soothe the masses, why would Omar strike out at what's largely a popular figure for those that support her most? There seemed no motivation for the commentary and no salient reasoning to back it up, save that Omar wanted to speak her mind.

Such tactlessness is something that'll get you politically killed.

I do not believe Barack Obama was a great president, but that's not entirely important. I don't live in Ilhan Omar's district; her constituents believe Obama was a great president, and that should at least factor into her considerations. Or maybe she did weigh the negative value of such backlash and decided it wouldn't matter? 2019 isn't an election year, after all. Yet, even if that's the case, what's to gain by pissing off your superiors when they're already pissed off at you?

You need to pick your battles wisely in order to win the war, and I'm highly doubtful Omar will win any wars by pitching scorched-earth tactics over such minute concerns.

Her attitude reminds me not only of that of some of her colleagues engaging obtusely and unwisely over subjects that could best be shrugged off (see the AOC media controversies), but also some of my own acquaintances. They believe not only in the myth of their own infallibility, but the opposition bogeyman conjured by their status in a minority or marginalized group. As the logic goes, "I'm a member of x group, and being so gives me the right to decimate anyone who has any inclination to stand against me in any capacity, tit for tat." So much for civility.

I initially came here to defend Rep. Ilhan Omar, and I still do hold to that in certain cases. The opposition to some of her positions is unwarranted. She is allotted the freedom of speech, as are all Americans.

And yet, in certain other cases she has conducted herself brashly, and, one could argue, anti-Semitically.

All I can say is that I am content living adjacent to Minneapolis, not in it. You'd be hard-pressed to find me advocating for leadership that makes manifest in such impolitic fashion.

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