Gilbert Gottfried Fired for Tweeting Japan Jokes

Aflac fires the voice of their iconic duck after tweeting insensitive jokes.

Published: March 15th 2011
in Culture » Stage

Gilbert Gottfriend and the Aflac dunk

Aflac, the disability insurance company, has fired comedian Gilbert Gottfried for making several jokes about the recent devastating events in Japan.


Gottfried had been the voice of Aflac’s iconic duck since 2000, quaking “Af-LAC!” in his famously annoying voice in their television commercials.


Gottfried has proceeded to delete the dozen tweets that cost him his job, but the included such tasteless jokes as:


“Japan called me. They said ‘maybe those jokes are a hit in the U.S., but over here, they’re all sinking.”


“I was talking to my Japanese real estate agent. I said ‘is there a school in this area.’ She said ‘not now, but just wait.”


Even though the jokes were deleted, the company said his comments “were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac.”


After deleting the tweets, Gottfried made the following statement, “I was born without a censor button. My mouth and now e-mail will continue to get me into trouble.”


Aflac’s swift decision is completely understandable especially when looking at their revenue share, of which 75% comes from Japan. They are currently the top foreign insurance company in Japan and such insensitive jokes aren’t exactly the public relations image they want there.


The real problem is that celebrities, for whatever reason, keep on using Twitter to shoot themselves in the foot. Nir Rosen was forced to resign from NYU after making offensive tweets and now Gottfried has faced a similar fate. It’s as if they don’t realize that it’s a public social service open to the world. Or they just don’t care, at least until they lose their jobs.

Related articles: (Gilbert Gottfried, Aflac, Insurance, Japan, Twitter)
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