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PR executive who sent controversial tweet releases statement

Much can change within 24 hours. One can send a tweet, have it go viral on the Internet and then get fired for it next day.

Such is the case with New York public relations executive Justine Sacco, who sent out a racist, AIDS-related tweet Friday and was fired for it the following day.

Sacco was a senior director of communications for the Internet media empire InterActive Corp (IAC), which owns popular sites like Vimeo, and

Sky News reports she only had roughly 200 followers at the time of the questionable tweet, and that her account has since been deleted.

The fired executive released a statement early Sunday:

It read: “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.”

This was the IAC’s statement following Sacco’s termination Saturday:

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.

There is no excuse for the hateful statements that have been made and we condemn them unequivocally. We hope, however, that time and action, and the forgiving human spirit, will not result in the wholesale condemnation of an individual who we have otherwise known to be a decent person at core.