Gilbert Gottfriend will no longer be annoying you as the voice of the Aflac duck after the comedian published a series of insensitive jokes on his Twitter feed mocking the ongoing disasters in Japan, the Associated Press reports.
The tweets have since been taken down. But they included such gems as:
“”I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, ‘There’ll be another one floating by any minute now.'”
“Japan is really advanced. They don’t go to the beach. They beach comes to them.”
(For those of you who’d like to get a larger dose of Gottfried’s “tasteless” humor, Buzzfeed has compiled a list of the “top 10 worst Gilbert Gottfried tsunami jokes.”)
In a statement released on Monday, Aflac said that Gottfried’s jokes in no way represent the sentiments of the insurance company.
“There is no play for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times,” Alfac’s chief marketing officer Michael Zuna said.
While controversial humor by celebrities with corporate affiliations never seems to go over well in times of tragedy, Gottfried’s jokes seem to have hit a particular nerve with his former employer, which does 70 to 75 percent of its business in Japan.
With all the damaged caused by the earthquakes and tsunamis that continue to cause widespread disaster across the island country, the insurance company has taken a particularly hard hit. Its stock prices have fallen 11 percent this week, making it the worst stock on the S&P 500, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Needless to say, news of Gottfried’s firing ranks extremely low in importance compared to the rest of the news coming out of Japan today.
The country is still struggling to gain control of areas demolished by the record-breaking 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the resulting tsunami that hit Japan this weekend. Nuclear power plants have begun to have complete meltdowns, and officials are working furiously to contain the harmful spread of radiation that is the result of multiple explosions at the nuclear facilities. Millions of people have been displaced from their homes. Food and water have become scarce. And the discovery of people killed by the disasters has become an increasingly common occurrence.