Gilbert Gottfried canned as Aflac Duck after insensitive Japanese earthquake tweets


Image Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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.

Comments (244 total) Add your comment
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  • Lake2

    I gasped at when I read his joke. So insanely offensive.

    • FromChicago

      Those darn “tweets”….get you in trouble every time.

      • Chris

        That’s why I love it. Brings out the stupidity of celebs everyday for us all to shake our heads at. The more they tweet, the more they stick their foot in their mouth and lose their job.

      • FromDC

        Narcissitic attention wh0res are dropping like flies! Duck!! AFLAC!!!

      • Cris

        Actually, his Tweets are no worse than his standup act.

      • cee

        His tweets and humor are really insensitive, but for goodness sakes, he was just a voice actor. Gottfreid doesn’t represent Aflac the duck does. Anyway, the duck is annoying.

    • sfday

      Comedians trying to amuse other comedians should remember that most of us aren’t comedians (see The Aristocrats), should remember that most of us won’t think it’s funny, especially those of us who’ve lost friends..

      • Tess Tickles

        You didn’t lose friends, they went skinny dipping and forgot to invite you

      • Das

        I like Gilbert no matter what he says or writes, the way he is makes him Gilbert, I think no one can argue with that.
        I like this Tess fellow too.

      • Tess Tickles

        I like you too… a lot. Got a Facebook?

      • Das

        Sorry dude, don’t get much time for socializing, all work and no play makes life go on…

    • Tim

      Damn it!!! I’m really not happy about this kind of radical change in my life people!!!!

    • Landrew

      My jaw dropped by the totally unsympathetic nature of Gilbert. I’d expect a demon to make a remark like Gilbert did.

      • Tess Tickles

        The fact that you believe in demons tells me all I need to know about your radioactive brain.

      • wiseguy

        Well, what do you expect from a guy who dared to make a joke about 9/11 in front of a live audience?

      • Tess Tickles

        That 9/11 joke was the best

      • NotSoGullible

        Tess, why do you even attempt humor? Your forays into a genre so alien to you are bitter, strained and humorless. Get a job in something that requires less creativity and you won’t suffer the humiliation of rejection and multi-firings that your lack of imagination suggest would be your future.

      • Jackson

        I like pushing the boundaries, but he should have known better. That 9/11 joke fell flat & got no good response from crowd. The only reason he’s even known for it is because he had to save his bit by pulling out the aristocrats joke. A good comic would have learned from that experience and clearly he didn’t.

      • Ken

        Did you grow up in a box? When I read, “My jaw dropped or I was so shocked”, I wonder what exactly has this person experienced in their lives. Comedians have a pass to crack jokes on everything… Everything. That is their job. I expect jaws to drop over real things like the greed of Republicans and the level of poverty in America.

    • Rush

      Yes, TOO SOON! But Gilbert is always the one for that. He told the first 9/11 joke after that tradgedy at Hugh Heffner’s roast.

      • maggie

        Gilbert got booed when he made the 9/11 jokes at the roast. He didn’t learn from that.

    • janie

      I have no opinion, other than, if it is so insanely insensitive why bother quoting the remark? We are led to believe that it was funny enough to print and profit from.

      • @janie

        He did a number of tweets, and the ones quoted above are the least offensive of the lot.

  • LOL

    Shock comedy still offends? Who knew?

    • Lazlow

      @ LOL
      That is hilarious!

    • Vi Huffman

      I thought comedians understood “timing”.
      These people “still” do not know if they will be alive tomorrow!
      Guys — we have nuclear reactors !

      Joan — I love you but your wrong on this one. Not while it is going on! THESE PEOPLE ARE FIGHTING FOR THEIR LIVES AND DONT KNOW ABOUT TOMORROW!

  • Matt

    He had a seriously great job and his mouth cost him it. What a freaking idiot.

    • niki

      Actually, his fingers cost him.

    • …And By Ironic I Mean Completely Ronic

      He said one word, the company’s name. I think they can use some old recordings and none would be the wiser.

      • Sherlock Holmes

        Yeah ‘m pretty sure they’d have to pay him for the use of his voice. Which would in fact defeat the purpose of canning him in the first place.

        I’d imagine the new voice will sound NOTHING like Gilbert

    • Deke

      The AFLAC gig was money for nothing. Gottfried might actually have to get a real job now.

  • Steve

    Wow. That tweet was really in bad taste.

    Who’dve thought that it would take a natural disaster to get Gilbert Gottfried out of those Aflac ads?

  • b

    Not to mention that his joke simply wasn’t funny to begin with. Unfunny and offensive is just about the worst combination for any comedian.

    • jessica

      “It was offensive and lame…so double offensive.”

  • BonBon

    So they’re apparently fine with his version of the Aristocrats joke, but this is where they draw the line?

    • frdgrvn

      The aristocrats is meant to be dirty, and doesn’t reference anything real.

    • Doremifah Solatido

      That didn’t come at the expense of the country Aflac does 75% of its business with. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

  • Alex

    Man, this sucks. You just can’t have the duck without Gilbert. It will never be the same.

    • tina

      No one is irreplaceable. And I mean NO ONE!

    • @Alex

      Seriously??!? This “sucks?” Dude, you need a frickin’ reality check. You want to see what sucks? Turn on CNN and see what’s left of Northern Japan.

      • Tess Tickles

        Turning on CNN does suck because it means you’re 80 years old and have nothing to live for

      • dlipy

        Yeah, current events and catastrophes are for seniors only.

        If it’s not on Facebook, or in a movie like 2012, I’m not interested!

        Now excuse me, I have to go see what crazy hijinks Charlie Sheen is up to now.

        LOL!!! ROTFL!!!

    • Jen

      I honestly had no idea he was the voice of the duck. Folks, Aflac will be OK.

      • Katja

        Same. I thought to myself “Oh, well I guess that makes sense; he does have the squawking voice and all.” But I never realized before that it was him.

      • Leilabeth

        Me too. He’s just an idiot so good riddance!

    • Kiki

      Considering that I never knew it was Gottfried, I’m pretty sure they can get buy without him. In fact, I bet they could walk out their door right now and grab a random person off the street to quack, “Aflac” for them.

    • maggie

      do we need him OR the duck.what a mindless and annoying commercial

  • Steve J

    How many people have lost jobs or spouses due to twitter/facebook?

    • Numbers Guy


  • Blue Silver

    Damn Gilbert! Why couldn’t you keep your twitter shut!

  • deedeedragons

    Oh well, you’ll always be Iago.

    • Yes

      So true

  • Puhleeze

    Aflac does a lot of business in Japan. They had no choice but to fire the moron for his sick (not funny) comments. Oooh, I have an idea. Let’s send him over there as an indentured search and recover guy. That might teach him to STFU.

    • Sioban

      AMEN to that. There’s a reason the Tragically Hip’s song with the words ‘New Orleans is sinking’ was temporarily banned from radio play after Katrina. It’s called RESPECT. It’s called COMPASSION. And I don’t blame Kanye one bit for saying that Bush doesn’t care about black people. It took way too damn long for help to come to those poor people.

    • Tess Tickles

      What a crybaby

      • @ Tess

        You are intelligent but pushing the wrong buttons. Perhaps you need a different forum.

      • jake

        tess is a loser

  • Mary

    I like Gilbert and follow him on Twitter, but even I thought he went too far. It wasn’t just the one joke, it was about 20 of them. Each one was more offensive than the first.

    • just sayin

      And each one a little funnier. Oh well. He should rake in some money from a lot more sources than AFLAC. Look at Sheen.

  • ObiHave

    Good for Aflac! Shame on Gilbert!

    • Terry

      Yeah, cuz if there is one industry known for its compassion, its the insurance industry.

  • chris

    Im going to hell for saying this, but I laughed hard at his tweet.

    If people can make jokes about New Orleans & Katrina, people can make jokes about this.

    • Cathy

      Don’t know what jokes you are talking about, but I would guess you are going to go to hell. His jokes were ridiculously in poor taste.

      • HIS FACE OMG

        Hell? There is no such thing. Stop believing in fairy tales, missy.

    • mons

      That’s what’s wrong with people today. We are not moved by anything anymore. If you went down to New Orleans you would see tons of homeless people still dealing with Katrina six years later. It’s terrible that no tragedy shakes people to the core to change their attitudes. You wouldn’t have laughed at any of these jokes if the tragedy affected you personally.

      • @mons

        Please don’t let a few sociopathic narcissists incapable of compassion make you think that most people are like that – pay attention to all the kindness and giving as well as compassionate comments. You’ll notice that there are more people like that – notice how decent and compassionate the Japanese people are handling their tragedy. Diane Sawyer was over there doing a story and a group of women at one of the shelters offered HER their food. There are more stories of that than the idiot morons, don’t take in their poison & treat it like real poison – stay away from it.

    • Jerry Saravia

      Exactly. A joke is all it is – we have to learn to deal with a crisis. Humor is one way. It may have been too soon to joke about it, though. Tragedy is comedy plus time.

      • Jerry Saravia

        I meant to say comedy is tragedy plus time.

      • abadstroller

        Gilbert? Um, wayyyyy too soon, dude. Timing, timing, timing….

    • sfday

      I’m guessing you don’t know anyone who lost their children in the tsunami. Enjoy hell.

    • sfday

      .. and I was there for Katrina too – that wasn’t particularly funny either.

      • Tess Tickles

        @sfday Weren’t you there for The Great Flood, Julius Caesars death, the birth of Christ, sinking of Titanic, birth of Justin Bieber, MLK’s assassination (and JFK), Lincolns inaugural, and the opening weekend of Glitter? winning!! Did it ever occur that maybe you are the black cloud causing these events that you ‘experience’.

    • lila

      You’re right, Chris. You probably are going to hell if you thought Gottfried’s joke was funny. Let me guess….you’re a young person, right? Your parents obviously weren’t high caliber people because they taught you nothing.

      • Tess Tickles

        Old people are high caliber, I just checked with Charlton Heston. Bang bang

    • Shawn

      I’m all about the ‘nothing is off limits” mantra – but you can’t expect to say such heinous things and not offend some people, especially your employer who does a huge amount of business in Japan. I just wonder how Gottfried would have reacted if I told him 20 tasteless jokes about Greg Giraldo ODing on pain killers a couple days after it happened.

      • Meier

        He would have told you his own offensive Giraldo jokes, maybe even recycling the ones he tweeted soon after his death.

    • Elliott

      I chuckled too…sorry it was kinda funny. If I were him I wouldn’t put it on a tweet for millions of people to see…but eh. At some point, all events become comedy material

    • just sayin

      I thought they were pretty funny. He didn’t cause the disaster. He is not causing hate.

    • Steven

      I laughed at the tweet. Whatever. People need to lighten up.

      • veronica

        The internet always brings out the sickos.

      • Candacetx

        Gilbert has every right to say/joke as he wishes. Conversely, Aflac has every right to decide who they want to represent their brand commercially. Free speech is a two-way street. Feel free to say whatever you wish and I will feel free to say whether or not I agree with it.

    • veronica

      If anyone thinks joking about Katrina or Japan doesn’t reveal something very deeply sick about these individuals, then they too are lacking in basic humanity.

    • maggie

      maybe ur next on the list chris. KARMA

  • johnnycakes

    he probably did write these knowing his humor, but has anyone else noticed that every one of those Tsunami (about a dozen of them) all came from an iPhone. I went back through about 2 months of posts and did not see one other post from an iphone.. just sayin…

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