Who knows what Justine Sacco, IAC executive, was thinking as she tweeted before boarding a plane to South Africa. As the senior director of corporate communications of a media and Internet company, Sacco should have known better. IAC owns sites such as Match.com, Ask.com, About.com, and Vimeo.
As expected, people were furious and, using the hashtag, #HasJustineLandedYet, anticipated her arrival at Cape Town International Airport. Sporting sunglasses, she clearly knew she was getting her 15 minutes of fame.
"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."
The story could have ended there, but in-flight Wi-Fi provider Gogo used the incident for marketing purposes.
This, too, turned out to be a bad decision, and the company apologized.
- Try to imagine Sacco's position. How would you describe what happened from her perspective?
- I don't see an apology from Sacco. Should she write one and, if so, what should it say?
- Not everyone agreed that Gogo's tweet was a poor choice. One tweeter wrote, "Most 'real-time marketing' is pretty weak and exploitive, but I do have to hand it to Gogo!" What's your view?