Aflac Fires Comedian Gottfried for Japan Tweets
Insurance company Aflac announced Monday that it fired Gilbert Gottfried, after the actor and comedian lampooned Japan earthquake and tsunami victims on Twitter.
Gottfried is the voice of the iconic Aflac Duck, which makes appearances on Aflac’s commercials. In the aftermath of the disaster and amid fears of a nuclear meltdown, Gottfried fired off a dozen jokes on the social media service over the weekend, all riffing in one way or another on the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that officials believe has killed thousands.
Aflac shares fell almost 3 percent Monday and extended those losses in after-market trading.
The company said it would start a nationwide casting call to find a new voice and noted that it was already using a different voice in Japan, where it is the No. 1 foreign insurer.
The company’s Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Zuna, said that Gottfried's comments had been "lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac."
Last week, Aflac also announced that the company was donating 100 million yen to the International Red Cross for disaster assistance.
—Reuters contributed to this report.