In the Monday edition of newspapers across America, readers of the funny pages were greeted by a distinctly serious note. Instead of a new edition of “Dilbert,” the long-running cartoon strip about the travails of a disgruntled office worker, they saw publishers’ notes announcing that the comic had been dropped. The Associated Press reported that Attleboro, Massachusetts, paper The Sun Chronicle simply printed an empty box. Last week, the comic’s author, Scott Adams, made headlines for a February 22 tirade in which he called Black Americans a “hate group” and urged white people to “to get the hell away from Black people.”
In response, newspapers across America began to drop the cartoon, and on Sunday, “Dilbert” was dropped by its distributor, Andrews McMeel Universal. According to NPR, the cartoon previously appeared in 2,000 newspapers in 65 countries and 25 languages. The comic has been removed from Andrew McMeel’s website, and on Monday, Adams announced that it would now only be available via a subscription to his Locals page.
In statements posted to Twitter, Andrews McMeel said it supported free speech but that Adams’s comments weren’t compatible with the company’s values. “We are proud to promote and share many different voices and perspectives,” read a statement cosigned by chairman Hugh Andrews and CEO and president Andy Sareyan. “But we will never support any commentary rooted in discrimination or hate.”
Those who have been keeping up with the worlds of newspaper comics or right-wing guys with YouTube channels may have known that Adams has a lot of opinions, and by 2016, he had become a full-throated supporter of Donald Trump. But until now, his political commentary hasn’t had a huge impact on his main gig, the comic that he has written since 1989. Though Adams’s racially insensitive remarks have caused outcry before—he has claimed that UPN’s desire to appeal to African American viewers is the reason why the 1999 Dilbert animated series was canceled, and in 2021 he introduced a Black character who identifies as white to mock “wokeism”—last week’s comments on his channel seemingly crossed a line for newspapers across the country.
The segment from the February 22 episode of Real Coffee With Scott Adams that led to the uproar began with Adams reading the results of a poll from Rasmussen that claimed that 47% of Black Americans were not willing to agree with the statement “It’s okay to be white.” (Putting the metaphysics of the question aside, the Anti-Defamation League documented the phrase’s journey from a 4Chan board to a white supremacist poster campaign back in 2017, and it has been spotted at demonstrations by hate groups and supporters of Confederate symbols ever since.)
“If nearly half of all Blacks are not okay with white people—according to this poll, not according to me, according to this poll—that’s a hate group,” Adams said in response to the survey results. “And I don’t want to have anything to do with them.”
He added that he moved to a neighborhood with a “very low Black population,” in order to escape. “It makes no sense whatsoever as a white citizen of America to try to help Black citizens anymore. It doesn’t make sense; it’s no longer a rational impulse,” Adams said. “I’ve been doing it all my life, and the only outcome is that I get called a racist.”
On Monday, Adams continued to respond to the fallout on Twitter, saying that he had previously lost two corporate jobs to “direct racism,” adding that “white people in the media are also the main source of worsening race relations.” According to Axios, his upcoming book with Penguin Random House has also been canceled.
Of course, no Twitter-mediated downfall would be complete without Elon Musk himself. In response to a post about Adams’s comment, the CEO tweeted, “The media is racist.” He continued, “For a very long time, US media was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians. Same thing happened with elite colleges & high schools in America. Maybe they can try not being racist.”
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