Landing On Her Feet

From ESPN:

FanDuel spokesperson Justine Sacco told on Tuesday that the company’s internal data showed that DraftKings employees won 0.3 percent of the money the company has awarded in its history.

I remember there being concern that Sacco’s life was permanently ruined due to her ill-fated Tweet.  Assuming this is the same Justine Sacco (and I can’t confirm that it is but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…), it seems she has rebounded nicely.  Which is probably what we ought to want.  My position at the time was that Sacco likely deserved to be fired — or at least disciplined — not because she was an Awful Evil Racist Monster (TM) but because she proved to be pretty bad at her job.  If you are charged with maintaining a social media presence that is favorable for your employer, Tweeting out a joke that can so easily be perceived as insensitive and racist would reasonably call into question her ability to do that.  I hope her employment at FanDuel means she has learned from the episode and positioned herself for a successful career.  That would seem to be the ideal outcome: she received sufficient consequence to necessitate positive change while receiving an opportunity to recover.

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17 thoughts on “Landing On Her Feet

  1. I’m thinking that being the spokesflack for fandrool or draftknobs would make one a target for many, many hateful tweets and death threats. But good for her, at least the threats won’t be based on her own dumb joke, just her employers.


      • While I’d be curious to hear what you mean by “sort of”, , I should clarify that I do not think the level of vitriol directed at Sacco in the immediate aftermath (which I believe included death threats and more) was “ideal”. She deserved pushback and criticism but not all that.


        • I just meant that my thoughts were along similar lines as Greg’s. Glad she got a job, but too bad they are with a bad company that is releasing more ill on the world than good. It’s a step up from getting a job working PR for Imperial Tobacco.

          But it’s something, and perhaps will lead to a future company worth working for.

          (Mostly, this is just me being a moralistic sourpuss.)


          • I would not have pegged you as someone who saw DFS specifically, fantasy sports in general, or sports gambling* in the very general as things that yield more ill than good. Might be time for a debate!

            * I’m fairly confident in calling fantasy sports a form of gambling. For me, the issue is not that fantasy sports played for money are legal but that sports gambling is not.


            • My thougts echo Will’s, because I’m fine with gambling, but I’m not fine with games that are rigged. And that’s not even my true objection because I’m fine with House Advantage – my problem are with games that subtly or invisibly rigged.


              • Yeah sports gambling should be legal but not with unfair rigging. Gambling always includes a house advantage and only the best gamblers have much chance of beating the odds over anything more than a short period. So honest gambling is “rigged” towards most people losing, but behind the scenes/illicit rigging is wrong. The sport gambling sites should be at the forefront of getting rid of that is they had a clue.


                • I agree that impropriety in gambling systems is a MASSIVE problem. I haven’t looked too deeply into this issue (disclaimer: I play small potatoes on DraftKings from time to time) but I think the jury is still out on just how pervasive and inherent to DFS systems this particular issue is.

                  ‘s objections seem fair. I also skimmed an article whose headline indicates it is impossible for anyone but a very small elite to truly make much money regularly playing DFS. I got the impression trying to do as much is akin to an individual making day trades over the phone trying to compete with automated stock robots. Yea, you might get lucky and it will almost surely be thrilling, but in the end, you will almost assuredly lose.

                  But I’m not sure what the sites themselves can do about it. If the game is being tipped in favor of private parties who are simply better/more committed to the game, how do you stop that? It’d be silly to ask them to include in their (infinite) advertisements, “By the way, you are almost surely going to lose money to some guy who stares at spread sheets 18 hours a day.” And given that the pricing/prize rules are laid out pretty explicitly, it is pretty obvious that there is a house edge and that the expected return is negative.


            • It’s with DFS in particular. I worry about broader sports gambling, but only passingly. I don’t have a problem with fantasy sports, or fantasy sports for money, provided that things aren’t rigged.

              The DK/FD DFS model, though, seems chemically designed for Bad Things, though. It’s opaque for starters. The advertising is itself troublesome. The advertising plus the basic model is begging to make gamblers and gambling addicts out of people who are not presently so.

              With general fantasy sports, even for money, you have the thrill and ups and downs of the season but it relies on a delayed gratification (you don’t know if you’ve won or not for months!) that relieves my worries.

              I guess it’s sort of like slot machines and how they replaced the lever with the button to throw more and more feedback in your direction to get you to keep hitting that button and tossing coins in and hitting that button and tossing coins in… it’s as much about getting a fix as it is about even gambling. The casinos know what they’re doing, and while I wouldn’t make it illegal I consider it immoral.

              This just stinks from the bottom up.


          • Had it not been for this shadiness, she would have probably ended up in a better place financially (due to a future IPO). OTOH, this incident may end up getting them regulated out of business, a la Poker Stars.

            I am not surprised that a company with as skeevy as ads as Draft Kings is also skeevy.


    • Indeed; it’s heartening to know that one’s career need not necessarily be torpedoed by a single mistake and there is opportunity for at least a degree of redemption. For who among any of us is truly immune from that sort of thing?

      Granted, this may not be the top-of-the-profession sort of client to get in the world of PR, but it isn’t nothing, either, and I suspect that PR, like a lot of jobs, is fairly transitory and one steps from one employer to another with frequency in that career track. So she took a setback, but the big news is that redemption is possible.

      I might add: that’s a really canny spot and callback, Kazzy.


    • The criticism being sent her way via that article and that which it reports on is troubling. Sacco isn’t “handling” the DFS scandal as much as she is regurgitating statements written by others for media and public consumption. Those who continue to pillory her are the sorts of folks that make me sad to say I’m a liberal.


      • Sadists and bitter ass people make up x% of the population, but every single one of them is on the internet and typing at the top of their voices. Then an outlet like the Post is basically in the business of amplifying their already over-loud vitriol.


  2. FTR, the knock on what happened to Sacco wasn’t that her life was “ruined forever.” It was that she was harassed for a prolonged period of time, in a way that included death threats and calls for her to be raped as punishment for what she had said.

    Additionally, there was a meta-criticism of a twitter and/or SJW culture that so quickly condemned her for her tweet, but was happily unconcerned (and often retweeting) others’ tweets that she should be raped and killed.

    Finally, it should be noted that she not only spent over a year unemployed, she ended up needing to be treated for PTSD and depression. And she still gets death threats on a weekly basis. (Or at least she did up through this past spring.)

    I’m not sure that pointing out that she was able to find a job a couple of years down the road counters much of that criticism.


    • Excellent points, . I didn’t realize all of that had transpired. I’m glad Sacco was able to move on — at least partly — from the incident. It’s disgraceful she was put through all that and frustrating much of it was at the hands of people who, at least in name, are my ideological allies. Thanks for this all-important context.


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