An Invitation To Justine Sacco

Dear Ms. Sacco:

Along with many thousands of other people, I followed your story late last year after you sent an incendiary tweet that spread around the globe within a few hours.

As far as I can tell, you haven’t discussed the incident publicly since that time (with the exception of issuing an apology through a South African newspaper). Reports suggest that after volunteering in Ethiopia for a month, you’ve gotten another PR position with the website “Hot or Not.”

I’d like to offer you a forum for your first interview since the incident. I’m sure you’ve already been approached by dozens of news organizations, bloggers, and websites, but my interest in speaking to you is at least somewhat different from theirs.

Justine Sacco Tweet

Many of this blog’s readers are PR practitioners, and they’re interested in applying the lessons learned from your case to other clients. We’ve all observed the media dynamic that occurs after a major sex scandal (e.g. Monica Lewinsky, Fawn Hall), a racist tirade (e.g. Mel Gibson, Michael Richards), or unusual public behavior (e.g. Anthony Weiner, Rob Ford). Those cases are all different from yours, of course, but the same questions remain: What should you do now? How can you move on from such an incident? And most importantly, what have you learned from this experience that other people can benefit from?

I’m not offering a softball interview—I’d ask the questions that should be asked in any credible encounter that conforms to news standards. But I would promise you fairness. None of my questions would be gratuitous, I wouldn’t distort any of your quotes to make the story more salacious, and I won’t create a snarky title to generate more clicks. My post would be direct, honest, and fair to the story.

If you’d prefer, I’d also be willing to record and post the entire interview—which we could conduct in person (I’m in the New York area), via Skype, or by phone—so that viewers or listeners could judge your words in their full context, not through my edited version of our interview.

If you’d like to speak off the record to discuss the possibility of an on-the-record interview, you can contact me at

Thank you,

Brad Phillips