Gilbert Gottfried the Latest Person Fired for Tweets

Gilbert Gottfried was fired for tweets about JapanComedian Gilbert Gottfried's insensitive jokes on Twitter about the Japan earthquake and tsunami is among the latest Tweets to get someone fired, but it has a small silver lining: there's a job opening to be the voice of the Aflac duck.

Aflac started a national casting call Wednesday for applicants to send in a 30-second demo over the Internet, or apply in-person on March 31 or April 1 at six sites around the country. If you can sound like a duck while quacking "Aflac!" it's an easy way to make a six-figure income for working a few days a year.Aflac was smart to fire Gottfried for offending Japan, where Aflac does about 75% of its business. The company is turning a negative into a positive with its quirky casting call, although it may take more than that to sway Japanese customers to come back.

tweetHere's some of the Tweets Gottfried made on March 12:
  • "Japan called me. They said 'maybe those jokes are a hit in the US, but over here, they're all sinking."
  • "What does every Japanese person have in their apartment? Flood lights."
  • "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.'"
  • My Japanese doctor advised me to stay healthy. I need 50 million gallons of water a day."
Celebrities aren't the only people to get fired for Twitter postings. At about the same time Gottfried was canned, Chrysler fired not only a contractor who posted an obscene tweet on the Chrysler brand's official account, it also didn't renew a contract with his employer, according to the Associated Press.

Scott Bartosiewicz's Twitter posting read: "I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to (expletive) drive." It was meant to appear on his personal account, but Bartosiewicz mistakenly sent it to the Chrysler brand's feed while he was stuck in traffic.

Juggling multiple Twitter accounts and mixing them up and getting yourself fired is one thing, but a post by actress Kristin Chenowerth about a rude Starbucks barista may have led to the firing of a stranger, Chenowerth worried on David Letterman's show.

CNN correspondent Octavia Nasr was canned last summer after calling a Muslim cleric associated with the terror group Hezbollah a "giant" in a Twitter post after the cleric's death. An Indiana deputy attorney general was fired in February after he used his Twitter account to urge police to use live ammunition against Wisconsin protesters.

Perhaps one of the most infamous firings over 140 characters or less was two years ago when a women who was interviewing for a job at Cisco didn't get the job after this post:

"Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work."

A "channel partner advocate" for Cisco Alert shared this open response: "Who is the hiring manager. I'm sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web."

The day may come when human resource departments forgive a mistake on social media, but until then Aflac isn't taking any chances. For applicants who answer the duck's casing call, the position that's posted on Monster.com requires instilling trust and behaving ethically. Tweeting about it, we presume, should be left alone.

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Learn about investing from the comfort of your own home.

Portfolio Basics

Take the first steps to building your portfolio.

View Course »

Investment Strategies

Learn the strategies you need to build a winning portfolio

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum