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AFLAC Duck No More: Gilbert Gottfried Fired Over Japan Jokes

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By Jason Beahm on March 16, 2011 1:01 PM

Comedy is largely a matter of timing. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried missed that memo, and wound up losing a cushy voiceover job because of a lack of sensitivities.

Gottfriend, who was the voice of the Aflac duck, posted some off color jokes about the 8.9 magnitude Japan earthquake and tsunami on his Twitter account, Reuters reports.

Gottfried's jokes included:

"Japan is really advanced. They don't go to the beach. The beach comes to them."

Did we mention that according to the Associated Press, 75% of Aflac's business is in Japan? Ooops.

Naturally, Gilbert Gottfried was quickly back on Twitter apologizing, "I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my attempt at humor regarding the tragedy in Japan. I meant no disrespect, and my thoughts are with the victims and their families."

But it was already too late to save his job. Aflac promptly sent the controversial comedian packing.

"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," said Aflac Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Michael Zuna in a statement. It's yet another example of how social media gives celebrities, and everyone for that matter, the opportunity to get himself or herself in hot water over attempted humor.

There is one bit of good news in all of this: Aflac is about to launch a nationwide casting call for a new voiceover actor. Seems like a pretty sweet gig if you can get it. If you think that you're up for the job, keep your eyes open.

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