Aflac is an insurance provider with their largest client being the country of Japan. The insurer announced on Monday that it would be firing Gottfried due to the remarks he posted over the weekend that poked fun at Japan and the recent earthquake and tsunami disasters there. Gottfried had been the voice of the duck since 2000.
According to media reports, Gottfried sent off at least a dozen tweets over the weekend which made fun of or mocked the disasters in Japan. Many of them, according to reports, were crude and sexual in nature. One of the mildest ones stated that Japan needed an urgent shipment of rubber ducks.
Aflac released a statement that said Gottfried’s remarks were “lacking in humor” and that they did not present thoughts held by the company for the people of Japan. Aflac made much of its money during the 1970s by selling insurance in Japan. It is still a country where the company sells large numbers of insurance policies. About three-quarters of Aflac’s money comes from Japan.
So far, there has been no comment from Gottfried or his agent about the firing. Aflac has announced that it will soon launch a nationwide campaign to find a new voice for the duck. Aflac has already changed the voice of the duck for commercials that run in Japan.