By: Tarah Bourke
Justine Sacco, IAC’s Chief Communications Director, tweeted something so insensitive and racist you would have long forgotten she was in PR. The young woman was waiting to board her flight in London to South Africa when this tweet was heard around the world:
Friday evening, Sacco, 30, boarded her international wireless free flight and had no idea her career would be ended by the time she landed. By Saturday afternoon, IAC had terminated Sacco and wiped their social media accounts of her.
At the time the tweet was sent Sacco only had 200 followers, but BuzzFeed published a brief item and soon the tweet was trending in South Africa. Sometime early evening, a woman posted #HasJustineLandedYet and the hashtag was soon seen across the globe. Confusion eventually turned to anger and people were interacting with Sacco’s account directly. According to BuzzFeed, since the infamous tweet, her name had been tweeted over 30,000 times and the hashtag over 100,000 times.
IAC, which includes brands such as Vimeo, The Daily Beast and Match.com, issued a statement about the uproar.
“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.”
We’ve all heard to watch what we put on social media because future employers are looking at our accounts. For some, that suggestion is taken seriously, but for many students that suggestion gets lost in the abyss of advice from teachers that we may someday recall.
Hopefully, PR students can learn a lesson from Sacco. Think before you tweet. Or blog, or post on Instagram, Facebook, or Vine. Employers, as well as others are watching what you do. So make a good impression.