Justine Sacco joins Badoo as it relaunches Hot or Not

Hot or Not, a site that enables users to rate the attractiveness of strangers, has hired former IAC communications director Justine Sacco as head of PR as it relaunches in the US. Sacco was fired late last year by IAC for Twitter comments about Africa that prompted a firestorm on the microblogging service.

Justine Sacco's Facebook
Justine Sacco's Facebook

NEW YORK: Hot or Not, a site that enables users to rate the attractiveness of strangers, has hired former IAC communications director Justine Sacco as head of PR as it relaunches in the US.

Sacco told PRWeek she joined the company in April and is reporting to Michelle Kennedy, director and general counsel at Badoo, the UK-based online dating company that owns Hot or Not. Sacco did not say if it is a newly created role or who handled the responsibilities previously.

It is Sacco’s first position, according to her LinkedIn profile, after IAC fired her in December for tweeting, "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"

Sacco's comment caused a firestorm on Twitterblogs such as Valleywag, and websites including that of the International Business Times. Many Twitter users called the comment racist and homophobic.

IAC, which owns more than 150 brands and products such as Vimeo, OkCupid, Dictionary.com, The Daily Beast, and Urban Spoon, said in an emailed statement at the time that it was an "outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values" of the company.

Sacco apologized for the tweet and lived in Ethiopia for the month of March doing volunteer consulting for an NGO before joining Hot or Not, according to BuzzFeed.

"I am not commenting at all on my learning experience [from December’s situation]," Sacco said.

She joined IAC in September 2011 as director of corporate communications and was promoted to senior corporate communications director last July, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Prior to IAC, Sacco worked at WWE for nearly three years, first serving as a publicist, then as manager of corporate communications and publicity, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also held roles at The Morris + King Company and DKC. 

As part of Hot or Not’s relaunch in the US, the company released a redesigned app on Monday with a new feature called "Hot Lists." The platform can "calculate how hot someone is based on user votes and use this information to show you lists of the most attractive people nearby, wherever you may be," according to a company statement. The app is available for both iOS and Android systems.

Hot or Not has more than 10 million mobile users in the US, the statement added. Meanwhile, Badoo has approximately 200 million users in 180 countries, according to the company’s website. 

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