ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gottfried Gottfired Because Ducks Shouldn't Tweet

Gottfried Gilbert Gottfried, pictured at left, is a comedian, but he is probably best known for providing the voice of that delightful duck in those Aflac commercials.  Who knew insurance companies could be so charming?!?  On the right, we have a picture of a duck, but this duck is not the actual Aflac duck, as far was we know.

Duck The New York Times reported this week that Aflac has fired its spokesduck -- or at least its voice -- on the ground that Mr. Gottfried posted some insensitive jokes on his Twitter account about the earthquake and tsunami that have had devastating effects in Japan.  Aflac did not find Mr. Gottfried's jokes funny -- his jokes rarely are -- but the company found these particular jokes especially unfunny, given that Aflac derives 75% of its revenue from the Japanese market, according to the Times.  Friends of the blog will not be surprised to learn that, in canning Gottried effective immediately, Aflac invoked a morals clause, according to the Times.  These clauses raise no end of interesting issues.  I mean, is it really credible for Aflac to claim that it is shocked, shocked to learn that Gottfried posted tasteless jokes on his Twitter page?  What else does Gottfried post?

Interestingly enough, the same week, Cappie Pondexter, a member of the WNBA's New York Liberty team, made a series of posts on her Twitter page reasonably construed to indicate that Pondexter believed that the Japanese deserve whatever happened to them.  As reported in the New York Times as well, the Liberty and the WNBA seem to have elected not to discipline Pondexter for her tweets.  Pondexter has apologized and both the league and her team seem to think the apology suffices.  Safe to say that Japan does not account for 75% of the WNBA's market.  


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