Dilbert comic strip cancelled after creator sparks racism row

The distributor of the Dilbert comic strip says it will sever ties with creator Scott Adams over his recent racist comments about black people in the US.

Feb 28, 2023, updated Feb 28, 2023
Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, works on his comic strip in his studio in Dublin, California. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, works on his comic strip in his studio in Dublin, California. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Dilbert creator Scott Adams continues to see his reach shrink as dozens of newspapers and a major comic strip platform say they will no longer publish his long-running office workplace comic strip over his recent racist remarks.

Newspaper readers across the United States were greeted by notes from publishers – and, in at least one instance, a blank space – alerting them to outlets’ decision to stop running the popular comic.

Adams’ fate was effectively sealed Sunday evening when Dilbert distributor Andrews McMeel Universal said it was severing ties to the cartoonist. By Monday morning, Dilbert was gone from the GoComics site, which also features many top comic strips like Peanuts.

In a February 22 episode of his YouTube show, Adams described people who are black as members of “a hate group” from which white people should “get away”. Various media publishers across the US denounced the comments as racist, hateful and discriminatory while saying they would no longer provide a platform for his work.

Readers of The Sun Chronicle in Attleboro, Massachusetts, found a blank space in Monday’s edition where Dilbert would normally run. The paper said it would keep the space blank throughout March “as a reminder of the racism that pervades our society”.

Newspapers ranging from the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post to smaller papers like the Santa Fe New Mexican and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette have also said they would cease to publish Dilbert.

The strip, which lampoons office culture, first appeared in 1989.

While Adams’ strips are no longer on GoComics, he maintains an extensive archive on his own website. In a YouTube episode released on Monday, Scott Adams said new Dilbert strips will only be available on his subscription service on the Locals platform.

“They made a business decision, which I don’t consider anything like censorship,” he said of Andrews McMeel Universal, adding that his comments about black people were hyperbole.

Adams had previously defended himself on social media against those whom he said “hate me and are cancelling me.” He also drew support from Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who tweeted that the media previously “was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians.”

Adams, who is white, 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”.

In another episode of his online show Saturday, Adams said he had been making a point that “everyone should be treated as an individual” without discrimination.

“But you should also avoid any group that doesn’t respect you, even if there are people within the group who are fine,” Adams said.


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