Justine Sacco, Steve Martin Tweet Racist Remarks, Contributing to the Most Intolerant 48 Hours in Internet History
Twitter got extremely intolerant these past 48 hours, and by Twitter, I mean everyone using it. First came the wave of anti-gay and pro-Phil Robertson tweets, following the news that the reality star had been suspended from A&E's Duck Dynasty after comparing homosexuality to bestiality. Then, on Friday, PR executive for IAC/InterActiveCorp and Expedia, Inc., Justin Sacco wrote an extremely racist "joke" on Friday as she made her way onto a flight from London to Africa, inciting a media firestorm that's continuing into today, and jumpstarting a hashtag, #HasJustineLandedYet, and many a think piece about mob mentality. (Read the tweet: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!?" Sacco’s account was deleted soon after her remarks. UPDATE: IAC has fired Sacco, issuing the following statement: “The offensive comment does not reflect the views and values of IAC,” the company said in a statement Saturday. “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.")
But the insensitive tweets didn’t stop there. Though typically an extremely likable wild and crazy guy, Steve Martin decided to continue the stream of intolerant tweets, because why stop, right? After one of his followers asked, “Is this how you spell lasonia?” Martin responded with: “It depends. Are you in an African-American neighborhood or at an Italian restaurant?” Silly celebrities, do they ever learn? Unsurprisingly, he quickly deleted his tweet, realizing his mistake — unfortunately, with over 4 million people watching his every move on social media, it was perhaps too little too late. Many of his followers responded with their disdain to the joke, to which Martin responded with apologetic tweets in return. Truly, Steve, as much as we loved you in movies like It's Complicated:
Really, America: What's in the water? Let's hope the next 48 hours are progressive enough to have us finally feeling some holiday joy. So, please, celebrities and everyday citizens, it's time to think before you speak (and tweet). Don't make us have to get all grinch on you.