Gilbert Gottfried has apologized for his insensitive Twitter messages mocking the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
On the heels of losing his job as the voice of the Aflac TV duck, the comedian posted a mea culpa on his Twitter page on Tuesday.
“I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my attempt at humor regarding the tragedy in Japan,” Gottfried wrote. “I meant no disrespect, and my thoughts are with the victims and their families.”
On Monday, Aflac announced they were cutting ties with the actor, who has voiced their duck mascot in TV spots since 2000.
“There is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times,” Aflac’s Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Zuna, told the Associated Press.
The insurance company noted that a search had begun for Gottfried’s voice replacement.
Gottfried’s Tweets about Japan had been removed from his Twitter page. However, one Tweet which has been republished online and attributed to Gottfried was, “Japan is really advanced. They don’t go to the beach. The beach comes to them.”
In the wake of the controversy, the outspoken comedian received support from one of his fellow joke makers – Joan Rivers.
“Oh come on people-this is just outrageous! Gilbert Gottfried was FIRED from Aflac for making jokes about the tsunami in Japan,” Joan Tweeted on Tuesday. “That’s what comedians do!!! We react to tragedy by making jokes to help people in tough times feel better through laughter.”
Although, Rivers did add that she understood the company’s decision.
“Heard Aflac has 75% of it’s business in Japan. I stand by what I said but Gilbert-as a spokesperson-you should know who you represent!” she later added.
As of Tuesday afternoon, according to the Associated Press, at least 3,300 people have been confirmed dead in the aftermath of the 9.0-magnitude quake that rocked Japan on Friday.
The death toll is expected to top 10,000.