An American public relations expert has incurred the wrath of the online world after she tweeted an offensive comment about Aids in Africa on Saturday.
Justine Sacco has been trending on micro social media website Twitter across the world after she tweeted: "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get Aids. Just kidding. I'm white!".
It is believed Sacco, who works for media company IAC, was in London at the time, getting ready to board a plane to South Africa.
The tweet spread across the globe and within hours #HasJustineLandedYet was the second highest trending item on Twitter is Australia during Saturday evening.
Sacco's original tweet was deleted but that didn't stop it going viral and being retweeted thousands of times.
Within hours, furious online users had tracked down Sacco's employer and family background and posted details on social media.
While Sacco was still in the air, IAC released a statement distancing itself from her views.
"This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC.
Unfortunately, the employee in question is unreachable on an international flight, but this is a very serious matter, and we are taking appropriate action."
There is speculation that Sacco has since lost her job.
Tweeter Chuba Ezekwesili stated: "Never seen perfect amounts of racism,white privilege and stupidity in one single tweet. Impressive" and Kate Iselin stated: "'She's in PR, she should know better!' No - she should know better because she's HUMAN and an adult"
By the afternoon, her account had been deleted but several parody accounts were created in its place. The domain justinesacco.com was registered and redirected visitors to charity website Aid for Africa.
The intensity of the anger was such that death threats were made.
It appears Sacco created a new Twitter account about an hour ago and has been personally apologising to the many thousands of people she angered.
"I was stupid for posting that tweet and beg for all of your forgiveness. I tried to make a joke but it backfired on me."
Sacco tweeted that she would spend the rest of the evening apologising online and over the phone and indicated she would appear on CNN to discuss the saga.
- Sydney Morning Herald