Aflac Duck Gets Docked

The Story

Gilbert Gottfried, comedian and voice of the Aflac Insurance duck, got fired for what the company considered inappropriate jokes about the Japanese earthquake. 

Gilbert Gottfried 1
Gilbert Gottfried 2

Discussion Starters

  • What's your reaction to Gottfried's tweets? Do you find them inappropriate, offensive, or no big deal? 
  • Do you agree with Aflac's decision to fire Gottfried as the voice of the duck? Consider that Aflac does 75% of its business in Japan.

Assignment Ideas

  • To practice your skills in revising writing, rewrite Gottfried's brief apology. Imagine that you have to deliver a longer statement -- in person. Write a script and prepare to deliver it in class.


  • Evaluate Aflac's response to Gottfried's tweets: "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. Aflac Japan -- and, by extension, Japan itself -- is part of the Aflac family, and there is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times." Rewrite this statement in your own words. What would you say differently and why? Submit your revision and explain your changes to your instructor.