Because Gilbert Gottfried is a shock comic, he spent most of the weekend tweeting jokes about Japan (Viewable here. He’s since taken them down.) which were, yes, “insensitive,” he also did 8,000 of them which somehow made it funny. Comedy’s weird like that. Anyway, cut to yesterday where it turns out he’s been the voice of the Aflac duck for years – I honestly did not know that. – and Aflac does 75% percent of its business in Japan. So you can see where this is going and not just because I wrote it in the headline. Via The Hollywood Reporter:
“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,” Aflac Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Michael Zuna said in a statement Monday, reports TMZ. “There is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times.”
A “nationwide casting call” is now underway to find a new voice for its duck.
Aflac, which does 75 percent of its business in Japan, also plans to donate $100 million to disaster relief.
As others have pointed out, Gilbert Gottfried has a long history of going for the most offensive joke possible, so Aflac really can’t feign complete shock and surprise over this. Then again, this is a company that cast a celebrity for a talking duck that says one fucking word, annoyingly, and expects people to trust them with their money.
EXEC #1: How can we can make our company name offensive to the human ear?
EXEC #2: Hire Gilbert Gottfried?
EXEC #1: Perfect. *drops bag of money on desk* Here’s eight million dollars I found just sitting in a closet. Maybe draw up a budget or something, I dunno. Doesn’t really matter. Golf, anyone?
(How that went down.)