Dilbert comic strip dropped by US newspapers over creator’s racist rant

Scott Adams, whose cartoon began syndication in 1989, made the comments this week on his own show

Sheila Flynn
Monday 27 February 2023 15:29 GMT
Dilbert creator says to be as 'racist as you need to be' as newspapers drop comic strip

Newspapers in Ohio and Texas have dropped the nationally syndicated cartoon Dilbert after its creator designated Black people as a “hate group,” seemed to favour segregation and made other racist comments on his online show.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer and San Antonio Express-News both announced that the papers would immediately stop publishing the cartoon following the comments this week by Scott Adams, 65. The cartoonist’s Dilbert began syndication in 1989 and has been popular worldwide for decades. Major newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post also announced they were dropping the comic.

Adams, meanwhile, fanned the flames, tweeting on Saturday: “Is it racist to avoid racists who are the same race as each other? Or is it only racist if the racists you are avoiding are white?”

Elon Musk replied: “Simultaneously, an interesting question and a tongue twister!”

Adams, whose cartoon forged a reputation on sarcasm about white-collar office life in America, has become more well known recently for controversial statements. He had expressed admiration for President Donald Trump while also suggesting that, following a Biden victory, there was a “good chance” Republicans would be hunted down and killed.

On Coffee with Scott Adams this week, he said that, “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*** away. Wherever you have to go, just get away. Because there’s no fixing this. This can’t be fixed.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer editor Chris Quinn, in a letter to readers, described Adams’ online comments as “mostly hateful and racist” and said that it was “not a difficult decision” to drop the cartoon.

“It’s a staggering string of statements, all but certain to result in the loss of his livelihood,” the editor wrote. “I hate to quote him at all, but I do so to dissuade responses that this is a ‘cancel culture’ decision.

“No, this is a decision based on the principles of this news organization and the community we serve. We are not a home for those who espouse racism. We certainly do not want to provide them with financial support.”

In Texas, the editor and publisher of the Express-News decried the cartoonist’s “hateful and discriminatory public comments.”

“These statements are offensive to our core values,” they wrote. “Dropping a comic strip from our pages is not censorship. Adams is entitled to his opinions. The Express-News is not obliged to give him a platform and financial support.

“Because the comics section is published in advance, we cannot withdraw it from our pages immediately. Readers will find it in their Saturday and Sunday papers. But as of Monday, ‘Dilbert’ will no longer appear in the Express-News.”

Dilbert plotlines had also featured anti-woke themes more recently, and the cartoon had already been dropped in September from 77 newspapers by publisher Lee Enterprises.

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