The long-running Dilbert comic strip was dropped by its distributor and hundreds of U.S. newspapers after creator Scott Adams made racially charged remarks on his YouTube show.
The long-running Dilbert comic strip, famous for poking fun at office culture, was dropped by its distributor and hundreds of U.S. newspapers after creator Scott Adams made remarks about race that many outlets from left, right, and center described as racist.
- In a Feb. 22 episode of his YouTube show, Adams described Black Americans as a “hate group” and urged white Americans to “get the hell away from Black people.” “If nearly half of all Blacks are not OK with white people … that’s a hate group,” said Adams. He added, “And I don’t want to have anything to do with them.”
- In another episode, Adams doubled down on remarks and even agreed with some of his critics. “We have now a thoroughly racist society. So all yesterday, people were calling me racist, and I thought, ‘Well that’s true.’ That’s exactly what I said.”
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer was one of the first newspapers to drop the comic strip. In an editorial explaining the move, editor Chris Quinn wrote that after Adams “went on a racist rant this week on his Coffee with Scott Adams online video show, and we will no longer carry his comic strip in The Plain Dealer. This is not a difficult decision.”
- Additionally, the USA Today Network of more than 200 newspapers, the Washington Post, and the San Antonio Express-News all dropped the comic strip after his remarks.
- Hugh Andrews and Andy Sareyan, the chairman and CEO of Dilbert distributor Andrews McMeel Universal, respectively, issued a joint statement announcing the company would be “severing our relationship with Adams.” Andrews and Sareyan insisted Andrews McMeel supports free speech, but Adams’ comments “were not compatible with the core values of the company.”
- Adams has largely refused to comment on his remarks, aside from directing people to his YouTube channel. In his Saturday show, he doubled down on his comments, insisted he was being “canceled,” said that “you should absolutely be racist whenever it’s to your advantage” and insisted that any changes to society are a “racist change.” Adams acknowledged the repercussions he would face over his comments, saying “my reputation for the rest of my life is destroyed” and “most of my income will be gone by next week.”
- Elon Musk weighed in on the controversy on Sunday, blasting the media as “racist.” “For a *very* long time, US media was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians,” Musk tweeted. “Same thing happened with elite colleges & high schools in America. Maybe they can try not being racist.”
- Scott Adams insists that observers need to see the “full context” of Adam’s remarks, which the Guardian helpfully provided. In his Wednesday video, Adams also said, “Wherever you have to go, just get away. Because there’s no fixing this. This can’t be fixed. So I don’t think it makes any sense as a white citizen of America to try to help Black citizens anymore. It doesn’t make sense. There’s no longer a rational impulse. So I’m going to back off on being helpful to Black America because it doesn’t seem like it pays off.” Whatever will Black America do without Adams’ “help?”
- Adams told the Washington Post that he expected “around zero” newspapers would still be carrying his comic strip by Monday. The Post noted that some of the newspapers in the USA Today Network that would be dropping the comic strip include the Arizona Republic, the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Detriot Free Press, the Indianapolis Star, the Austin American-Statesman, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- The New York Times elaborated with additional newspapers that are no longer carrying Dilbert, including the Times itself, the Boston Globe, and MLive Media Group, which publishes eight news outlets in Michigan. Adams refused to be interviewed by the Times and merely said “everything you need to hear” was on his YouTube channel.
- The Wall Street Journal picked up the statement from Gannett Co., the publishers of USA Today Network. “Recent discriminatory comments by the creator, Scott Adams, have influenced our decision to discontinue publishing his comic,” Gannett wrote on Twitter. “While we respect and encourage free speech, his views do not align with our editorial or business values as an organization.”
- Fox News noted it was not just Adams’ “racist comments” that got him in trouble – it was his decision to double down on them in the following days that helped sink the good ship Dilbert. Fox News also observed that the poll Adams was referencing when he made his racist comments does not even say what Adams claims it said.
- National Review added further context to Adams’ remarks by publishing additional comments from the Feb. 22 YouTube show. Adams added, “I’m also really sick of seeing video after video of black Americans beating up non-black citizens.” The fact that videos of Black Americans beating up non-Black Americans are apparently significantly worse in Adams’ eyes than videos of an American of any skin color beating up another American of any skin color makes it all the more puzzling why Adams believes that adding the “full context” of his remarks would help his case.
© Dominic Moore, 2023