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TV Column
Posted at 02:23 PM ET, 03/15/2011

Tasteless Tweets cost Gottfried Aflac duck gig [updated]


Gilbert Gottfried arrives with the Aflac duck to an award show last summer. (Charles Sykes - AP)

[Updated with Gilbert Gottfried apology]

Comic Gilbert Gottfried Tweeted his remorse Tuesday afternoon for having posted those Tweets over the weekend that got him sacked from his cushy gig as the voice of the Aflac duck in TV commercials.

‘I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my attempt at humor regarding the tragedy in Japan,” Gottfried Tweeted, as well as, “I meant no disrespect, and my thoughts are with the victims and their families.”

You’ve heard the last of comic Gottfried voicing the Aflac duck in the insurance company’s TV ads. The insurance company sacked Gottfried after he spent the weekend tweeting a slew of gags about Friday’s magnitude 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that, as of this writing, had claimed 2,414 lives and counting. In the Miyagi prefecture along, the police chief has estimated the local death toll could rise to 10,000.

“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,” 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.”

Aflac is the No. 1 insurance company in Japan in terms of individual policies in force, according to Fox Business News. One in four homes in Japan buys health insurance from Aflac, according to the Associated Press. About 70 to 75 percent of Aflac’s earnings come from Japan, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

The Tweets had been scrubbed from the “Saturday Night Live” alum’s Twitter feed Monday after Aflac announced it had dumped him.

Gottfried’s was not the voice of the Aflac duck in the company’s Japanese TV commercials.

Among other comments, Gottfried had Tweeted: “Japan is really advanced. They don’t go to the beach. The beach comes to them.” He also Tweeted: “I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, ‘There’ll be another one floating by any minute now’.”

By  |  02:23 PM ET, 03/15/2011

 
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