Justine Sacco Apologizes, Says AIDS-Africa Tweet Was 'Needless And Careless'

 @CharlieAllDayc.poladian@ibtimes.com
on December 22 2013 10:52 AM

Justine Sacco arrived in South Africa and has since apologized for her offensive tweet on Friday. Sacco issued an apology to South Africa's The Star, calling her remarks "needless and careless."

Sacco was fired as IAC's director of corporate communications on Dec. 21. IAC, owned by Barry Diller, is the parent company of a number of online properties, including The Daily Beast, OKCupid, Dictionary.com, Vimeo and Match.com. On Dec. 20, Sacco sent a tweet from London saying, "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!" The tweet quickly went viral and the hashtag "#HasJustineLandedYet" was trending worldwide on Twitter. Sacco deleted her Twitter account.

After arriving in South Africa with her family (she and her father were born in South Africa), Sacco released a formal apology to South Africa's Star newspaper, reports Agence France-Presse. In a statement to the Star, Sacco 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."

Sacco addressed the AIDS epidemic in the country and apologized to those living with the disease. "For being insensitive to (the AIDS) 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," said Sacco. Her apology to the Star discussed her family visits to South Africa as well the many friends and relatives she has in the country ending the statement with, "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 addition to issuing a statement to the Star, Sacco released a statement to ABC News. In that message, she says she wanted to address the people of South Africa first, due to her relationship with the country. Sacco has not returned to social media but the website JustineSacco.com redirects to a donation page for Aid for Africa.

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