Dilbert comic strip creator Scott Adams built a career based on his pointed and humorous views on the workplace. When it comes to describing his own current work environment, he summed it up on Sunday in two words: “train wreck.”
Adams, who is White, is facing serious repercussions after his recent comments about race, with newspapers such the Los Angeles Times and the USA Today network as well as distributor Andrews McMeel Universal announcing Sunday they would no longer work with the cartoonist or run his strip.
Adams, who quickly took to YouTube on Sunday to defend himself, disclosed details in the video about the impact of losing business. Adams said he is likely to lose 80% of his income from Dilbert due to the cancellations and expressed uncertainty about his future publishing career, which includes compilations of the comic strip as well as calendars and nonfiction books such as “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.”
“The big newspapers are 80% of your income, so the 20% of the newspapers are 80% of the income,” Adams said in the video. “The 20% that are the important ones are the urban big city newspapers — they are the ones that are going to cancel first, and they have.
If Elon Musk blames me, I’m sure I’m at fault
We in the media swiftly reported on these comments, and on the fact that most humans with functioning brains were labeling the comments racist because they are very, very racist.\
The blowback prompted Twitter owner Elon Musk, who, like Adams, is a senior member of the American Coalition of Aggrieved-For-No-Reason White Men Who Never Shut Up, to tweet in support of Adams: “The media is racist.”
Musk went on: “For a *very* long time, US media was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians.”
OK. When a noted media historian like Musk makes a statement like that, it’s incumbent on journalists like myself to devote at least several seconds to deciphering what he’s on about.
Hundreds of papers drop ‘Dilbert’
Though McMeel’s decision could be one of the most significant repercussions for the comic strip, hundreds of newspapers across the country already stopped running “Dilbert.”
Adams effectively encouraged segregation in a shocking rant on YouTube, calling Black Americans a “hate group” and suggesting that White people should “get the hell away” from them.
The USA Today Network, which operates hundreds of newspapers, said it had pulled the plug on the long-running comic strip. The Washington Post and The Plain Dealer also in Cleveland said they would no longer carry the comic.
Adams’ comments came in response to a poll from the conservative firm Rasmussen Reports that said 53% of Black Americans agreed with the statement, “It’s OK to be White.”
The Anti-Defamation League has noted that the phrase emerged on the infamous message board 4chan in 2017 as a trolling campaign and has a “long history” in the white supremacist movement.
“If nearly half of all Blacks are not OK with White people – according to this poll, not according to me, according to th is poll – that’s a hate group,” Adams said Wednesday on his YouTube show “Real Coffee with Scott Adams.”
“I don’t want to have anything to do with them,” Adams added. “And I would say, based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to White people is to get the hell away from Black people, just get the f**k away because there is no fixing this.”
Artists look to the future of cartooning for encouragement
In the wake of his controversial video, Adams has stood by what he said and even received support from people who are frustrated by what they call “cancel culture,” including billionaire Elon Musk.
Despite Adams’ unapologetic stance, Knight hopes that the Dilbert creator’s departure from newspapers will be an opportunity for a more diverse group of artists to share their work, adding that the industry can be tough for artists of color to break into.
“I say it all the time: Cats have better representation on the comics page than people of color,” Knight said. “Maybe this is an opportunity to diversify the comics page.”
During the Feb. 22 episode of his YouTube podcast “Real Coffee with Scott Adams,” he referenced a Rasmussen Reports survey that had asked whether people agreed with the statement “It’s OK to be white.” Most agreed, but Adams noted that 26% of Black respondents disagreed and others weren’t sure.
The Anti-Defamation League said the phrase at the center of the question was popularized as a trolling campaign by members of 4chan — a notorious anonymous message board — and was adopted by some white supremacists. Rasmussen Reports is a conservative polling firm that has used its Twitter account to endorse false and misleading claims about COVID-19 vaccines, elections and the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Adams repeatedly referred to people who are Black as members of a “hate group” or a “racist hate group” and said he would no longer “help Black Americans.” On his podcast Monday, he called his “hate group” remark “hyperbole,” but continued to defend his advice that white people “get the hell away” from Blacks.
In announcing that “Dilbert” would be cut from the Kansas City Star, the newspaper’s community engagement editor, Derek Donovan, said Adams’ “antagonistic, childishly macho persona” has been a constant for years.
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