Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Aflac Inc. has severed ties with comic Gilbert Gottfried, the longtime voice of the insurer’s duck mascot, after he made a series of crude jokes about the Japan earthquake and tsunami via Twitter.
“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 Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Michael Zuna said in a statement Monday, reports TMZ
. “There is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times.”
A “nationwide casting call” is now underway to find a new voice for its duck.
Aflac, which does 75 percent of its business in Japan, also plans to donate ¥100 million to disaster relief.
Gottfried has yet to apologize for the jokes, which included: "I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, 'They'll be another one floating by any minute now.’”
Gottfried is no stranger to controversy.
Three weeks after 9/11, he made light of the tragedy at a Friars Club roast for Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, reports The New York Times
. He said that he had tried to catch a plane but couldn't get a direct flight because "they said they have to stop off at the Empire State Building." The joke prompted boos from the audience.