Gilbert Gottfried Apologizes for Japan Tweets

By DANIEL MACHT
|  Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011  |  Updated 11:42 AM PDT
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Gilbert Gottfried arrives with the Aflac duck to the 14th Annual Webby Awards in New York, Monday, June 14, 2010.

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His jokes were too soon, and his apology may be too late.

After being fired as the voice of the Aflac insurance company's duck mascot over controversial Tweets about the tragedy in Japan, Gilbert Gottfried has issued an apology, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my attempt at humor regarding the tragedy in Japan,” said the comedian in a statement. “I meant no disrespect, and my thoughts are with the victims and their families."

The Aflac insurance company axed Gilbert Gottfried as the voice of its promotional duck Monday after the comedian unleashed a barrage of tweets making light of Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Per TMZ, among the dozen messages Gottfried posted on his Twitter account over the weekend and later removed were:

  • "Japan is really advanced. They don't go to the beach. The beach comes to them."
     
  • “I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, “They’ll be another one floating by any minute now.”

As it turns out, Aflac relies on Japan for three-quarters of its business, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“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,” a company exec told THR in a statement. “There is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times.”

Gottfried’s not the only celebrity to get in trouble for insensitive tweeting over a disaster where the death toll is expected to reach 10,000.

Rapper 50 Cent drew ridicule online after tweeting that he had “to evacuate all my hoess from LA, Hawaii and Japan.”

And WNBA player Cappie Pondexter later apologized for her errant tweets, including one that suggested God had retaliated against the Japanese for being “tired of the way they treated their own people in there own country,” CNET reported.

“I didn't realize that my words could be interpreted in the manner which they were," she wrote.

Selected Reading: CNET, THR, Reuters, TMZ

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