Aflac Fires Gilbert Gottfried Over Japan Tweets

March 15th, 2011 // 90 Comments

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.)

Photos: Getty

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  1. mos rough

    Another spokesman? Who’s more annoyingly funny than Gilbert? Are they going to replace him with James Earl Jones?

  2. The Price of Freedom

    I stand by Gilbert’s first amendment right. If Gilbert wants to tweet stupid offensive shit (and it is stupid and offensive shit), I’m glad he can. We have the freedom to ignore him.

  3. crazypants

    He’s a comedian and he’s made jokes about worst stuff (dead friends, 9/11, etc) immediately after the fact. Its part of his shtick. The point of humor is there are no limits, there are no sacred cows. If you find the jokes distasteful, that is your right. If AFLAC wants to fire him, that is their right. If the entire world-wide comedy viewing audience decides that they will never watch a Gottfried performance, that is their right.

    But Gottfried, and anyone else for that matter shouldn’t have to shut up about anything ever. That is is his right.

  4. Yoda

    The idiots at Aflac hired Gottfried knowing damn well that this type of ill-timed shock humor is his thing–he did it after 9/11, Katrina, etc. Yet they still hired him as their voice and then act all shocked and offended when he does exactly what he always does?

  5. Hugh Jass

    A person should always be allowed to make a joke about anything no matter what the topic is or how bad the joke is. It’s a freedom you have to say anything you want, there are no exceptions. Regardless of whether YOU think it’s right or wrong to say. Yes it’s an absolutely horrible tragedy but don’t sit their behind your computer screens ridiculing someone for something they’ve always done.

    • Michael Jackson's Brain

      Actually, Hugh Jass, there ARE exceptions, one of them being defamation/slander/libel. The first amendment doesn’t apply here.

      Regardless of whether it’s a right or wrong thing to say, if someone is pissed off enough or petty enough, you can find yourself spending your hard-earned cash on a lawyer to defend you right to make an ass out of yourself, if you don’t have concrete evidence to back up your allegations, or state it’s your opinion.

      I’m not a lawyer; I’m someone who sought advice on-line about a legal problem and have been paying for it ever since. Be smarter than me and don’t make the same mistake!!

      • Michael Jackson's deformed penis

        dear “Michael Jackson’s Brain”

        you just slandered Michael Jackson I’m calling the police on you

  6. Ron Mexico

    How comes there isnt no looting in Japan?

    • Because your grammar makes them cry.

    • Cos it would be unthinkable there.

      Social order was strictly enforced during the Tokugawa period (few hundred years ago), after years of warlords turning their country to shit. Society was stressed over the individual. Look up at the shogun while he rode by and you’d be beheaded on the spot! So a lot of bad elements were removed from their gene pool. Not all of course, but a great percentage.

      I read that during this earthquake people had run out of malls with things they’d intended to purchase, and after the shaking ended, they went back inside to pay for them. Zippy chance that would happen in America.

    • Johnny Cage

      Cuz there’s no black people.

    • V Smith

      Who says there isn’t? Maybe they’re too busy taking care of their dead to loot. It’s not a flood, it’s a goddamn tsunami coupled with an earthquake. Maybe what was there to loot was washed away or crushed.

      • Johnny Cage

        STFU you stupid Crackers. It’s not racist if it’s said against blacks. Black people make fun of every other race—I can make fun of them. How many times do you white people make fun of Asians and Hispanics and you consider it funny? Get off of your self righteous high horses you honkies.

        Besides I murder hundreds of black women every year. So how the fuck am I a racist?

  7. Duke

    With that disgusting face wouldn’t you be mad at the world too?

  8. This seems like a silly overreaction by Aflac for one very important reason…nobody knew he was the duck voice in the first place.

    • tits

      tru’ dat

    • i knew, and i’m shocked at how that wasn’t obvious to everyone? in fact didn’t aflac firing him before? something about a blue freakout at a event full of teenage girls who hadn’t found him funny..

      • Hugh Jass

        They’ll probably do the same thing all companies do when things like this go down. He’ll get rehired again in the future when everyone forgets about this in a few weeks.

  9. Michael Jackson's Brain

    GG can wait until the radiation cloud from three nuclear reactors exploding in Japan comes drifing into the LA smog.

    Let’s see how funny he thinks it is then.

    • Hugh Jass

      If he tells jokes about his dead friends why would you think he’d care what happens to anonymous people in LA?

    • Sagey

      He lives in NYC so he’ll probably think it’s funny. Not nearly as funny of course as a super funny name like Michael Jackson’s Brain. Oh how I LOL!

    • reality check

      “Let’s see how funny he thinks it is then” – you mean, like, when nothing happens?
      Buy into the media hype much???

  10. noooooooo

    If he made a single joke people would have considered looking the other way. Instead, he got all Chris Brown and just beat on the subject until it was lifeless and everyone was pissed.

  11. Randal(l)

    How the hell are they surprised by it. He made September 11th jokes when it was still September. I thought a lot of them were pretty funny. If people aren’t allowed to make jokes if they offend someone then there would be literally nothing to joke about.

  12. DrunkRussian

    He’s fucking hilarious. I laughed at the jokes because I knew they were wrong and it was wrong to think those things and really wrong to write them – which made it even funnier.

  13. See Alice

    Gilbert is one of the best comedians ever .When he is on Stern, it’s incredible .
    He rocked as Johhny Crunch in the Anventures of Ford Fairlane .

  14. The Most Interesting

    Exactly what has gone wrong with this country that a money-grubbing Schlomo can’t make fun of a bunch of squishy Nips?

  15. James

    Seriously, who Fuckin cares what he tweeted? I thought the jokes were hilarious. Why did he tweet them in masse? He’s a comedian it’s his job, grow some thicker skin

  16. Candy

    I have 2 jokes for Gil:
    1. I feel so sorry for you…. Not – Quack! Quack! Quack!
    2. Looks like Gil Gott fried!!!

  17. Gilbert Gottfried Fired
    Bastard
    Commented on this photo:

    Time to eat duck soup or go duck hunting.

  18. you jokes are not as funny as your dad looked when he was making you lol aflac was laughing at the japanese too before they had to pay off all the claims

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