Washington: After sparking fierce anger over a controversial tweet that mocked Aids victims, now-former PR executive Justine Sacco apologised on Sunday for the "pain" her comments had caused.
, then the communications director for the Internet company InterActive Corp
(IAC), owner of such popular websites as Match.com
, posted the remark as she
boarded a long flight to South Africa.
had less than 200 followers, US media reported, but the message was soon forwarded to a staffer at the website BuzzFeed
, who retweeted it and ensured the message was widely seen.
should get fired ..." and "Total LOSER!
were some of the milder reactions posted on Twitter, following Sacco's tweet.
Several Justine Sacco Twitter parody accounts quickly surfaced, featuring mashed-up photos, including one of Sacco being stomped on by riot police.
was unable to respond for hours, as she
was on the plane with no access to the Internet.
In the interim, #JustineSacco and #HasJustineLandedYet began trending on Twitter, especially in the United States, Europe and South Africa.
Upon landing in South Africa, Sacco
deleted the message and her
Twitter account with no comment.
But on Sunday, she
issued a statement, sending it to South African newspaper The Star and US broadcaster ABCNews, apologising.
"Words cannot express how sorry I am, and how necessary it is for me to apologise to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet," she
"offensive comment does not reflect the views and values of IAC
," the company said, adding it takes "this issue very seriously."