Comedian and AFLAC “duck” voice Gilbert Gottfried is given the boot after offensive tweets about Japan
As you may have read many times on my blog before, I think that celebrities need to fall back when it comes to using Twitter. Most celebs have been through PR training and know how to give a good interview, but when it comes to the 140 microbologging that Twitter allows, many tend to fall victim to the foot in mouth syndrome. With no muzzle in place and a forum in which they feel like they are “being a part of something”, celebrities, more often than not, tend to type some pretty idiotic things (only to delete them later of course).
Earlier this week, we learned that comedian and voice of AFLAC’s duck Gilbert Gottfried, had been let go by the long/short disability insurance giant because of racist remarks he tweeted against Japanese after the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis which has crippled their country.
I personally did not see the tweets because I do not follow Gottfried, but according to CNN, they went a little something like this:
“Japan called me. They said ‘maybe those jokes are a hit in the U.S., but over here, they’re all sinking.’ ”
“I was talking to my Japanese real estate agent. I said ‘is there a school in this area.’ She said ‘not now, but just wait.’ “
Japan makes up a large portion of AFLAC’s customers, and even though Gottfried isn’t the voice of their mascot in their country, the abrasive remarks were enough for AFLAC to back away from and not condone.
AFLAC’s Senior Vice President in a statement said, “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”.
Many comedians including my own beloved Whoopi Goldberg and The View cohort Joy Behar have come out in support of Gottfried after his firing. They are comedians themselves and understand that a job of a comedian is to make light out of even the most horrible situations, but even I cannot believe that they are co-signing his obviously distasteful tweets.
When you are a spokesperson for a brand, you don’t want to alienate them or their customers or constituents. What Gottfried did was reckless and cruel—and as a person who worked in HR, is grounds for termination.
Add to this that on March 11th, Gottfried sent these tweets to comic diva Lisa Lampanelli which were not for the faint of heart. (click at your own risk). His unfortunate Japan tweets were sent the next day on March 12th.
I don’t know when celebrities will understand that when they are on Twitter, they are still “ON”. There is no such thing as being off the record or under the radar. And even when a tweet is deleted, it has already been retweeted and screen captured for the world to see and then blog about.
If that isn’t a FAIL, I don’t know what is.
So Gilbert is now just another example of celebrity Twitter fail. If they keep this up, I will have enough examples to write a book.
Narcissistic celebrities beware—Twitter at your own risk, gamble with your “success”.