As she embarked upon a long flight to Africa, PR staffer Justine Sacco issued this tweet. At best a darkly ironic self-deprecation that could never fit into 140 characters, it resulted, within bare minutes, in an internet-wide scandal. Even as the plane is still in the air–Sacco presumably oblivious–there is a hashtag, #HasJustineLandedYet, a parody account, @LOLJustineSacco, a fake movie poster, and, God help her, a whole entire New York Times article, replete with a stunned disavowal from her corporate employers.
"This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC," the company said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the employee in question is unreachable on an international flight, but this is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action."
"Ms. Sacco," added The Times' Ashley Southall, "could not be reached for comment."
UPDATE: It looks like Sacco landed, deleted the tweet, and subsequently the entire account. I wonder if anyone managed to get a screen grab!
UPDATE 2:Here's a timely reminder from Michele Catalano about the dangers of Twitter.
We're all 140 characters away from being vilified.
— Michele Catalano (@inthefade) December 21, 2013
UPDATE 3: Sacco was fired over the tweet, and apologized for it.