Newspapers drop ‘Dilbert’ Scott Adams’ ‘racist rant’3 min read
Scott Adams’ long-running “Dilbert” comic strip has been pulled by multiple newspapers after the cartoonist called black Americans a “hateful group” and urged white people to “get away” from black people in a YouTube video.
Gannett Co. – the largest newspaper publisher in the United States – said on Friday USA TODAY Network will stop airing “Dilbert.” The immediate USA TODAY network includes USA TODAY and more than 300 local media outlets in 43 states. “Recent discriminatory comments by the creator, Scott Adams, influenced his decision to stop publishing the comic,” Gannett said in a statement. “While we respect and encourage free speech, his views do not align with our editorial or business values as an organization.”
The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post on Saturday were among other publishers who said they were dropping “Dilbert” because of Adams’ racist diatribes.
On Friday, Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer announced that “Dilbert” would no longer appear in the newspaper because of Adams’ “racist ranting.” Chris Quinn, VP of content at The Plain Dealer/Cleveland.com, wrote in a note to readers that other papers owned by parent company Advance Local also independently made the same decision to stop running the strip. It includes Advance local newspapers in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Alabama, Massachusetts and Oregon.
“It’s not a difficult decision,” Quinn wrote. “We are not the home of those who support apartheid. We definitely don’t want to give them financial support.” He added, “Until we decide what to replace ‘Dilbert’ with, you’ll likely see a gray box where it appears.”
On his YouTube show on Wednesday, February 22, Adams cited a survey showing that nearly half of black people disagree with the statement, “It’s okay to be white.” The Anti-Defamation League called the phrase a “hate symbol” that was popularized in late 2017 as a trolling campaign on 4chan.
“Based on the way it’s going now, the best advice I would give white people is to stay away from black people. Just stay away,” Adams said. “Wherever you have to go, stay away. Because there’s no solution. It can’t be fixed. . So I don’t think it makes sense as a white citizen of America to try to help black citizens anymore. It doesn’t make sense. There’s no rational emotion anymore. So I’m backing away from being helpful to Black America because it doesn’t feel like it. That will pay it off.”
Last fall, 77 newspapers owned by publisher Lee Enterprises dropped “Dilbert”; However, it appears to be part of a larger move by the company to scale comic strips.
Adams has previously claimed that some of his projects have been canceled because he is white, and he has made numerous racially charged “jokes”. Adams introduced the first black character on “Dilbert” in 2022, called Dave the Black Engineer, who he mocked the idea of workplace diversity and transgender identity (“I identify as white,” Dave the Black Engineer says in one strip).
In June 2020, Adams, referring to UPN’s cancellation of the “Dilbert” animated primetime TV series two decades earlier, Tweet, “I lost my TV show for being white when UPN decided it would focus on an African American audience. It was the third job I lost for being white.” (In reality the show’s ratings dropped and it was canceled after viewers tuned out.) In January 2022, Adams Tweet, “I’m going to identify as a black woman until Biden picks his Supreme Court nominee. I realize it’s a long shot, but I don’t want to completely remove myself from the conversation for work.”
“Dilbert” is syndicated by Andrews McMill Syndication (formerly Universal Uclick), which has handled sales and distribution of the comic strip since 2011. The strip is “the most photocopied, pinned, downloaded, faxed and e-mailed comic strip in the world,” the company claims on its website.
Adams, 65, became a fan of Peanuts comics and began drawing his own comics at the age of six, according to Andrews McMeel’s biography of the cartoonist. To date, more than 40 “Dilbert” reprint books have been published, with “The Dilbert Principle” becoming a New York Times best-seller. Total “Dilbert” book and calendar sales topped 20 million units, according to Andrews McMeel.