Yesha Callahan

Open Thread: Should Justine Sacco Be Forgiven?

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Remember Justine Sacco? Last year, the so-called PR executive had a Twitter faux-pas. On Dec. 20 of last year, Sacco posted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” The insensitive tweet stayed online for hours and the #HasJustineLandedYet hashtag became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter. Sacco was later fired as the communications officer at Barry Diller’s IAC.


But that’s not the end of Sacco’s story.

In a new book by Jon Ronson, the author suggests that Sacco should be forgiven.

“It was a joke about a dire situation that does exist in post-apartheid South Africa that we don’t pay attention to. It was completely outrageous commentary on the disproportionate AIDS statistics,” Sacco wrote. “Unfortunately, I am not a character on South Park or a comedian, so I had no business commenting on the epidemic in such a politically incorrect manner on a public platform. To put it simply, I wasn’t trying to raise awareness of AIDS, or piss off the world, or ruin my life. 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,” Sacco stated in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ronson feels that the anguish Sacco experienced should actually show people she’s worth of forgiveness.

“This is a terrifying book and I deliberately tried to make it terrifying because I wanted people to feel the agony that Justine Sacco felt. We are in charge of these people’s punishments, but I didn’t want people to think they were reading an academic book,” Ronson stated.

In regards to Sacco, who she needs to ask forgiveness for are her close friends and family. Random internet people should be the least of her worries. People on social media are always looking for their next prey. What people need to do is make sure they’re impermeable to predators.

Clutchettes, do you think Sacco should be forgiven?

Image Credits: Rolling Stone/Emli Bendixen/Twitter

  1. April 6, 2015 - Reply

    If Justine Sacco is sorry, fine. She already had a major NYT story about her sorrow. She needs to move on. I owe her nothing.

  2. April 6, 2015 - Reply

    Is this a real question? Shes acting like she has no job living under a bridge catching fish for dinner plz.

  3. April 6, 2015 - Reply

    Forgiven? Don’t know about that ish. Ignored? Yes.

  4. April 6, 2015 - Reply

    Forgiven by whom? What does that even mean?

    • April 6, 2015 - Reply


      Good question.

    • April 6, 2015 - Reply


      a million +1’s to this!

  5. April 6, 2015 - Reply

    “We are in charge of these people’s punishments”

    And these people are in charge of how they conduct themselves in a public forum. Why do they act like tweeting ‘HEY IM WHITE! LOLOLOL!’ or any of their other rampant stupidity is an involuntary reflex like Tourette’s syndrome, and they are owed forgiveness at some point?

  6. April 6, 2015 - Reply

    F**k her and him. Who is he to try to prime the pump for black folk’s forgiveness? Who’s to say black folks are even obligated to accept her apology? Or even people afflicted or lost someone due to AIDS? Frankly I’m sick and tired of those “apologies”. Are you apologizing because in that moment YOU realized YOU were a piece of shit, or are you sorry because you thought you were being funny and people realized that “YOU AIN’T SHIT”? She don’t need some Black organization to give her a hug or a pat on the back. Her future actions and words will dictate if she is truly sorry or not. Otherwise she’ll say something else just as offensive and the cycle continues.

  7. April 6, 2015 - Reply

    Because she’s an idiot? Not my problem.

  8. April 6, 2015 - Reply

    As far as I’m concerned, Sacco is not suffering a dire situation. She made a disgraceful, evil comment. The same ones who lecture us black people about “no excuses” are trying to make excuses for her despicable tweets. AIDS is found globally and Africa is a beautiful comment. Sacco is not suffering real agony. She is going through real guilt. Those suffering HIV/AIDS are going through real agony. Also, black people are some of the most forgiving people throughout human history. We are not obligated to forget what she said. We need justice though. Sacco should take real personal responsibility for her own actions and we as black people are not required to bow down to her. She needs to move on with her life. We will continue to fight for racial justice, for social justice, and for an end to the system of white supremacy.

  9. April 6, 2015 - Reply


  10. April 6, 2015 - Reply

    She’s definitely a publicist by trade with the way she’s trying to spin this story…that’s all I got.

  11. April 6, 2015 - Reply

    Should she be forgiven? NO!

  12. April 7, 2015 - Reply

    A another case of poor me, Sacco meant what she said, she did not think people would give a damn about her saying Africa=aids. Guess what lady your people can get aids too. You are not special in any way, you and the attention starve ronson character can drink a bleach cocktail and take a forever nap

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