Columbus, Georgia-based insurer Aflac said today it has fired actor and comedian Gilbert Gottfried the voice of the companys famed duck because of insensitive remarks he made via Twitter following last Fridays catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Gottfried, 56, has been part of Aflacs duck advertising campaign since 2000, primarily spouting the supplemental life and health insurers name in a high-pitched tone ala Aflaaaaac! during television commercials.
Japan is such an important market to us. And with who we are as a company, thats just unacceptable behavior and there was really no decision at all not to let Gottfried know that his services are no longer needed, said Michael Zuna, Aflacs chief marketing officer.
The Columbus company employs 5,000 people in Japan, which was rocked Friday with a magnitude-8.9 earthquake that created a massive tsunami. The death toll reportedly could top 10,000.
Aflac said its advertising firm, the Kaplan Thaler Group in New York City and creator of the duck campaign, informed Gottfrieds management company of its split with the comedian after seeing his Twitter rants mid-afternoon today.
Read the complete story at ledger-enquirer.com