Aflac spokesman unable to duck fallout from Japan jokes


Gilbert Gottfried, who has voiced the famed Aflac duck in commercials for years, was fired after making widely-panned jokes about the crisis in Japan via Twitter, and has now issued a public apology for his remarks.

Gottfried, a comedian who has a grating voice and stage presence and has often used material to match, took the earthquake-generated tsunami that has Japan reeling and used it as a backdrop for jokes tweeted to his followers.

Aflac, which does most of its business in Japan (75%, according to Huffington Post report), was not amused. “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,” said the company in a statement. “There is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times.”

Gottfried issued the following statement: “I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my attempt at humor regarding the tragedy in Japan. I meant no disrespect, and my thoughts are with the victims and their families.”

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s rough enough for public figures these days. Just about everybody is walking around with some kind of recording device and some are just waiting for or have even set you up for a slip-up – just talk to George Allen or Ron Schiller.

It makes it all the more amazing, in a time that calls for great care in front of the public eye that a public figure would indulge in a self-inflicted wound such as this. We’ll be interested in seeing if the old “no such thing as bad publicity” adage holds true for Gottfried going forward.