One day after being fired as the voice of Aflac's mascot, Gilbert Gottfried issued an apology for making offensive jokes about the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan that has claimed hundreds of lives.
"I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my attempt at humor regarding the tragedy in Japan," Gottfried said in a statement obtained by People. "I meant no disrespect, and my thoughts are with the victims and their families."
The 56-year-old comic, who has voiced the Aflac signature duck since 2000, tweeted tasteless jokes — which have since been removed from his Twitter feed — following Friday's devastation. "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," Michael Zuna, the company's Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, said in a statement Monday.
Aflac plans to start a nationwide casting call to replace Gottfried.