It began with an ill-timed joke. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, who has served as the squawking voice of the Aflac duck in television commercials since 2000, rather unwisely posted a couple of one-liners to his Twitter account right after the tsunami hit Japan. Sample joke: “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.’ ” On an offensive scale of 1 to 10, that’s about a 5. On a funny scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 3.5, tops.