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Gilbert Gottfried fired by Aflac over Japan tsunami jokes [Poll]

AFLAC fires Gilbert Gottfried Aflac considers Gilbert Gottfried, for years the voice of its trademark duck, to be "lacking in humor": The company fired Gottfried on Monday in reaction to jokes he'd tweeted making fun of tsunami victims and the situation in Japan following last week's massive earthquake.

"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," Michael Zuna, a senior VP and chief marketing officer, said in a statement Monday. "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."

Three-quarters of Aflac's business is in Japan. The company, which says it is Japan's No. 1 insurer based on policies in force, on Friday donated 100 million yen -- a little more than $1.2 million -- to the International Red Cross toward recovery efforts.

On Monday, the magnitude of the March 11 Tohoku quake was upgraded to 9.0 from 8.9, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Maybe it was all funnier to Gottfried before the thousands of bodies began to wash up onshore -- his dozen or so messages (which have since been deleted from the @RealGilbert page, but for a time Monday were still visible online for some users not logged in to Twitter), were sent Saturday and Sunday. We'd repeat his words, because you know the Ministry is pretty much OK with tasteless stuff, but honestly we found a distinct lack of humor in what we read as well. (Not often we find ourselves agreeing with Heidi Montag.)

(Updated, 2 p.m. March 15: For those who've asked in comments, "How can you have a poll if you don't tell us what he said?," click the link on the word "dozen" to see a couple of the jokes. They've been hiding right there in plain sight./cdz)

It's not the first time Gottfried has gotten topical inspiration from tragedy. He sent out a joke about comedian Greg Giraldo's death on Sept. 29, the day Giraldo passed away. That tweet was still posted Monday.

And still not funny.


Reports: Comedian Greg Giraldo dead at 44

George Clooney, MTV team for Haiti quake relief telethon

Photos: Before and after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Gilbert Gottfried arrives with the Aflac duck at the 14th Annual Webby Awards in New York on June 14, 2010. Credit: Charles Sykes / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (97)

Why should the duck suffer because Gottfried is an _ _ _?
I can do the voice too.
Many comics can.

And you can’t fire him for it anyway! He's a Democrat!
It’s not like he is a republican governor!

I've never been big fan of Gilbert's, but I am on his side here. Jokes may have been a little insensitive and too soon, but they were just jokes. They were also on his twitter account, not affiliated with AFLAC. What ever happened to free speech?

OK, so 75% of their business is in Japan. But Gottfried is not even the voice of the duck in the Japan commercials.

Some have stated if he had been a corporate spokesman after 9/11 he would have been fired for his jokes then. Well guess what, he's been the AFLAC duck since 2000. Evidently 25% or less of your business in USA doesn't justify firing.

Good for him. I'm sick of these "comedians" who are for the most part generally not very funny anyway. Thing is it's the comedian's JOB to be funny, if people were offended it's because you suck at being a comedian. These guys are always complaining about how people who complain have no sense of humor blah blah blah...uh no, buddy YOU have no sense of humor as a comedian if you can't make your jokes funny. People have joked about way worse things and get away with it because they are talented. Not to mention if you go into a comedy club on any given night you will see one of these losers cursing some woman out for supposedly "heckling". I'm sorry but back in the day we had talented comics who were actually funny, now all we have is these idiots that other guys prop up telling everyone they are funny and we are supposed to find them funny and if you don't it's because YOU have no sense of humor. Sorry, it's the other way around.

Shocking, shocking...Gilbert Gottfried, stop making us laugh.

The guy is a moron. The jokes are not even remotely funny no matter what the circumstances. Why ruin your career with such bad jokes, he has no talent except looking, talking and acting like an idiot. Good riddence....

but the jokes were not even remotely funny, at all, no matter what the situation, they just s*cked. the guy has no talent, he is just a voice and a squint. glad his career is over. one by one these losers dig their own graves..... see ya.

Oh my gosh James Taylor. The past is the past. I certainly would not want to be accused of slavery and the terrible mistreatment of black people. I did not exist then and neither did the wonderful people of Japan today exist during the terrible war. This is why people have so much hate. We need to get past past mistakes and move on. Japan is one of our closest friends. Please Get over it. I pray for the people in Japan.

OK, I just read a couple of Gottfried's Japan "jokes" and they're only mildly amusing. Gottfried is funnier than that, although much of his material is raunchy and occasionally downright tasteless.

But what's really happened here is that by firing Gottfried, AFLAC just got themselves LOTS of free publicity. If that was part of their intention, it worked, but I'm also betting that AFLAC felt a need to be politically correct. It's not nice to make jokes, funny or not, about tragedy, and no doubt AFLAC decided that this kind of damage control would be good for their reputation.

Now the question is, do they recast the voice or delete the duck and go in a completely different direction?

He is a comedian.....I don't see anyone getting fired for making jokes about Jesus Mohamud God etc...

If you aren't going to tell us what he said why bother with the poll or the story?

75% of Aflac's business is in Japan, so obviously there's a close relationship to Japan. Aflac donated 100 million yen to aid the Japanese citizens. Gottfried is an idiot for making jokes. He def deserved to be fired, he should've known better!!

I had no idea he was the voice of this duck, it's just a person yelling "Aflac!", right?

I'm not so sure I'd categorize him as a comedian..­..

Well they can hire Ben Afflac(k)!...but kidding aside...my prayers go out to the people of Japan, New Zealand, and always Haiti as well and Chile. They all suffered major devastations and should be not forgotten..

How can you ask us if he should be fired without telling us what he said?

The jokes were not that offending per say, not very good ether. But for a spokesman to use these in the main market for AFLAC, YES that is a firing offense.

@ Ken......It's sad you are comparing 9-11 with this disaster... imagine that new york, miami, and more big city's are completley vanished... and how do you think that the poorest country of all like the US can help???

So much for the freedom of speech. It shouldn't matter if it is in poor taste.

What happen to free speech in this country? Dog the Bounty Hunter is back on t.v. after his outburst.

I don't think it was funny, and I do think what he said was insensitive.

However, I don't believe it's right to fire someone what they say on their own twitter account. He was not pretending to represent Afflac as far as I know, nor was he claiming that Afflac doesn't care.
None of us would like it if our employers fired us for something we put on our twitters or facebooks, would we?

It will take a cloaca to replace this man. Sad.

Yeah sure it's funny. I go into other people's funerals and make jokes about their tears. I laugh at people in NYC about buildings falling. I laugh at Jews about the Holocaust. I make jokes with old disabled veterans about Commies making a comeback. I laugh at the chaos after suicide bombings. It's funny as long as it's not me or someone I care about. Isn't that an unwritten rule? If he was Japanese, then we'd have reason to be concerned about his mental health...but man, when so many people die at once, who could pass up the opportunity to laugh? It's like everyone living near you in a 8 mile radius dropping dead in an instant. Instant-gold! Well good thing Karma is just a myth...

I'm with Glen Beck on this one...I wasn't Aflac that fired Gilbert Gottfired, it was an act of God that worked out better for the rest of us. Now if we could just get God to fire Glen Beck.

Gilbert Gottfried is the funniest and greatest comedian in show business because he takes such colossal risks. If he played it safe he would never offend anyone but he would never come up with those insanely brilliant routines that expand the meaning of the word comedy.

Even Comedians must have RESPECT.
if they do not want to be just GARBAGE

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