Off-color jokes about Japan cost two people their jobs

Aflac canned the voice of its duck, comedian Gilbert Gottfried, for tweeting a wisecrack, while a president hopeful’s PR rep resigned after sharing a joke about the disaster.

Of course, you know better. Too bad a couple of spokespeople—one in the advertising realm and another in politics—do not.

The insurer Aflac fired comedian Gilbert Gottfried—the voice of the duck in its commercials—for tweeting several off-color jokes about Japan on Saturday. The tweets, which have been deleted, included:

“Japan called me. They said ‘maybe those jokes are a hit in the U.S., but over here, they’re all sinking.'”

“I was talking to my Japanese real estate agent. I said ‘is there a school in this area.’ She said ‘not now, but just wait.'”


In a statement, Aflac Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer Michael Zunda said:

“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. 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.”

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