Ack! Gilbert Gottfried’s Aflac duck is no more: After the actor tweeted a series of insensitive jokes following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the insurance company announced it was parting ways with the actor, who famously voices the Aflac duck in the popular commercials. “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 press release. “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.” One joke that Gottfried tweeted: “I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, ‘They’ll be another one floating by any minute now.'” (UPDATE: Gottfried has apologized for his Tweets, while Joan Rivers defends him).
But don’t expect the duck itself to waddle away from your TV screens. Aflac — who noted that it has donated 100 million yen to the Red Cross following the disaster — also announced it would be conducting a nationwide casting call to find the next voice for the Aflac duck.