Gilbert Gottfried fired by Aflac over Japan tsunami jokes


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Aflac considers Gilbert Gottfried, for years the voice of its trademark duck, to be ‘lacking in humor’: The company fired Gottfried on Monday in reaction to jokes he’d tweeted making fun of tsunami victims and the situation in Japan following last week’s massive earthquake.

‘Gilbert’s recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac,’ Michael Zuna, a senior VP and chief marketing officer, said in a statement Monday. ‘Aflac Japan -- and, by extension, Japan itself -- is part of the Aflac family, and there is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times.’


Three-quarters of Aflac’s business is in Japan. The company, which says it is Japan’s No. 1 insurer based on policies in force, on Friday donated 100 million yen -- a little more than $1.2 million -- to the International Red Cross toward recovery efforts.

On Monday, the magnitude of the March 11 Tohoku quake was upgraded to 9.0 from 8.9, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Maybe it was all funnier to Gottfried before the thousands of bodies began to wash up onshore -- his dozen or so messages (which have since been deleted from the @RealGilbert page, but for a time Monday were still visible online for some users not logged in to Twitter), were sent Saturday and Sunday. We’d repeat his words, because you know the Ministry is pretty much OK with tasteless stuff, but honestly we found a distinct lack of humor in what we read as well. (Not often we find ourselves agreeing with Heidi Montag.)

(Updated, 2 p.m. March 15: For those who’ve asked in comments, ‘How can you have a poll if you don’t tell us what he said?,’ click the link on the word ‘dozen’ to see a couple of the jokes. They’ve been hiding right there in plain sight./cdz)

It’s not the first time Gottfried has gotten topical inspiration from tragedy. He sent out a joke about comedian Greg Giraldo‘s death on Sept. 29, the day Giraldo passed away. That tweet was still posted Monday.

And still not funny.



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Photos: Before and after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan

-- Christie D’Zurilla