Gilbert Gottfried's jokes about Japan just cost him his job as the Aflac Duck
The disaster in Japan continues to function as basically one big “guy walks into a bar” for the entire Internet, apparently, and no one can resist its thrall—even those whose celebrity all but ensures they’ll get in trouble for it. For example, in addition to the online outcry over 50 Cent’s remarks, despite the fact that he is a Rabelaisian wit whose existence is a necessary counterpoint to moralistic tyranny, Family Guy writer Alec Sulkin sparked controversy for his tweet, “If you wanna feel better about this earthquake in Japan, google 'Pearl Harbor death toll,’” which he deleted the next day with an apology. And it still made the national news, even though "Family Guy writer" is fairly low on the "celebrity" list.
But Gilbert Gottfried, a noted non-believer in “too soon,” has so far suffered the biggest blowback: His series of 12-in-a-row mocking tweets about Japan just got him fired by Aflac, for whom he’s provided the voice of the insurer’s spokes-duck for over a decade. (Although Gottfried has since deleted them from his Twitter page, The Hollywood Reporter shares a couple of the offending jokes, like, “Japan is really advanced. They don't go to the beach. The beach comes to them,” and, “I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, 'There'll be another one floating by any minute now.”) Aflac, who does 75 percent of its business in Japan, swiftly issued a statement saying that Gottfried’s statements “certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac,” and pledging $100 million toward disaster relief. It’s also announced a nationwide casting call to find a new voice to play the duck, so here’s your big chance, guy who does a passable Gilbert Gottfried impersonation but knows when to keep his mouth shut.