For a public relations executive, it was the ultimate PR disaster.
Instead of quietly going on a holiday to South Africa, Ms Justine Sacco, head of public relations for US Internet company InterActiveCorp (IAC), tweeted: "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get Aids. Just Kidding. I'm White!"
It created a huge furore online, Mail Online reported.
Strangely, she was not even aware of the storm she had kicked up with that tweet because she was on the long-distance flight to Cape Town.
The hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet trended on Twitter as people tracked her flight from London's Heathrow Airport to the Cape Town International Airport, African news website Mail & Guardian reported.
Soon after landing in South Africa, Ms Sacco deleted the tweet and her entire account.
IAC owns more than 150 brands, including search engine Ask.com. It also operates current affairs Web magazine Daily Beast and publishes Newsweek magazine.
A company representative released a statement condemning Ms Sacco's joke: "This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC."
Speculation is rife that she may have already been fired by the company, which has also removed any mention of her name from its website and contacts page.
Her tweet was re-tweeted about 3,000 times.
Huffington Post reported that Ms Sacco's Twitter account may have been hacked, but that is unlikely as her profile has a number of other tweets that may also be deemed offensive.
She wrote: "I can't be fired for things I say while intoxicated right?"
There are about 23 million people living with Aids in Africa
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