Gilbert Gottfried, the voice of the Aflac duck, has been fired by the insurance company after the comedian made insensitive remarks on his Twitter account referring to the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The comments should come as no surprise to anyone who has listened to Gottfried's act. Inappropriateness is his schtick. Surely, Aflac was aware that something like this would come up at some point.
Still, the insurer felt it need to act, to quell a consumer uprising by distancing it from Gottfried's comments.
Aflac is the #1 foreign insurance company in Japan.
“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, the company’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “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.”
The New York Times' DealBook notes that "Several of the comments were sexual in nature, a common theme on Mr. Gottfried’s Twitter feed. The actor has previously used his account on the social media blogging site to post jokes, sometimes of questionable taste. The messages related to Japan have since been removed from Mr. Gottfried’s Twitter feed."
Aflac is reportedly looking for a new voice for the brand. It will be interesting to see if they choose this opportunity to evolve the character (maybe create a new one) or try to mimick Gottfried's well known vocals.