‘Dilbert,’ Scott Adams lose distributor over racist remarks

“Dilbert” creator Scott Adams experienced possibly the biggest repercussion of recent racist comments when a major comics syndicator, which also operates the GoComics website, announced Sunday it would no longer work with the cartoonist.

Andrews McMeel Universal said in a statement that the syndication company was “severing” their relationship with Adams. By Monday morning, Adams no longer appeared in searches on GoComics and “Dilbert” comics were gone from the website, which also features many top comic strips like “Peanuts” and “Calvin and Hobbes,” as well as political cartoons.

Dozens of newspapers, ranging from the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post to smaller papers like the the Santa Fe New Mexican and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette—have said they would cease to publish “Dilbert.” The strip, which lampoons office culture, first appeared in 1989.

In a Feb. 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 U.S. denounced the comments as racist, hateful and discriminatory while saying they would no longer provide a platform for his work.

“This is a decision based on the principles of this news organization and the community we serve,” Cleveland Plain Dealer Editor Chris Quinn wrote. “We are not a home for those who espouse racism. We certainly do not want to provide them with financial support.”

The Andrews McMeel Universal statement said the distributor supports free speech, but Adams’ comments were not compatible with the core values of the company based in Kansas City, Missouri.

“We are proud to promote and share many different voices and perspectives. But we will never support any commentary rooted in discrimination or hate,” the statement jointly signed by the chair and CEO said.

While Adams’ strips are no longer on GoComics, he maintains an extensive archive on his own website.

In a YouTube episode released Monday, Scott Adams said that 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 canceling 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.”

During the Feb. 22 episode of “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 says the phrase at the center of the question was popularized as a trolling campaign by members of 4chan—an anonymous and notorious message board—and began being used by some white supremacists. Rasmussen Reports is a conservative polling firm 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, 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.

Christopher Kelly, vice president of content for NJ Advance Media, wrote that the news organization believes in “the free and fair exchange of ideas.”

“But when those ideas cross into hate speech, a line must be drawn,” Kelly wrote.

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7 thoughts on “‘Dilbert,’ Scott Adams lose distributor over racist remarks

    1. I was thinking the same thing, as well as “Mallard Fillmore”. Then I did a bit of poking around and learned that Mallard Fillmore had been largely dropped by one of the formerly highly relevant newspaper conglomerates (Gannett) for daring to make the ascientific assertion that men can’t be women, when we all know that they clearly can. I guess I would have known that Gannett dropped Mallard if I still read Indy Star (a Gannett newspaper) regularly, but like 80%+ of folks in Indyland, I don’t.

      Has any newspaper dropped Doonesbury for its edgy, anti-establishment views? That’s a rhetorical question; we know the answer.

      The joke is on these papers. Dilbert has considerably more viewership and clout than Mallard or Doonesbury, and Scott Adams is a fairly influential blogger on his own right. These papers sanctimoniously assume they’re arbiters and have moral influence, all while their numbers keep dropping. Does IndyStar even have a subscription number in the six figures? Does it even fill its downsized offices in the old Nordstrom building? For that matter, why does IBJ, which is drifting closer and closer to Gannett papers in terms of ideology, think this is going to be a winning model?

    2. It’s a reposted AP model…. Maybe read the words on the screen and learn how you’re consuming media before writing long diatribes?

    3. Thanks Frankie. You are so much smarter than me. I appreciate it.

      As I’ve noted before, IBJ clearly chooses to use syndicated articles from two primary sources: AP and WaPo. Given that these news sources are ideologically no better than Breitbart (partisan ragebait), why can’t the IBJ take a balanced approach and alternate between Washington Post and Breitbart?

      Rachael, I certainly agree with one element Scott Adams said: if 25% of one race think that it’s not okay to belong to that other race, it’s probably best to approach that race with caution. Being perfectly candid, it’s likely that 25% of whites don’t really think it’s okay to be black, which is why these white, affluent “progressives” treat blacks like a permanently, intractably disabled class. Granted, in both cases, the reason for this animus has everything to do with the onslaught of propaganda deliberately fomenting discord to curry political advantage, but which political wing controls 90% of the media messaging? It sure ain’t the MAGA chuds.

    4. Methinks you just call everyone who doesn’t ace your ideological purity test “woke”.

      Also, even in the era where I listened to Rush Limbaugh every single weekday and might have even been close to tolerable to you as a conservative, I didn’t think Mallard Fillmore was ever as funny as Doonesbury. Reading Mallard Fillmore was as fun as reading Hagar the Horrible.

    5. Joe, Doonesbury is better than Mallard Fillmore. But no less partisan. And, if you can’t lob things in both directions, the comedy is generally pretty lazy because it assumes one moral view holds up to scrutiny…and it doesn’t.

      Dilbert, by being largely apolitical through most of its time in the newspapers, is better than both Mallard or Doonesbury. Maybe not as good as the great comics of the 80s (Far Side, Calvin & Hobbes) but close.

      And the Onion was better than Babylon Bee by a country mile until about 4 years ago. Now the Onion is total cringe, but it’s vestigial. It’s basically as relevant as Stephen Colbert. (Who also used to be pretty solid.) BB will suffice in these times of dearth, but it’s pretty one-sided. (Though less than Mallard or Doonesbury) BB is at least funnier that Greg Gutfield.

      I never listened to Rush Limbaugh. But I wouldn’t begrudge people who did. I certainly don’t think they’re stupid. Neither, for that matter, are people who listen to NPR (as I did regularly). But I can tell you which one would act upon its desire to see the other eradicated from public life altogether, and it ain’t the Dittoheads. NPR is quite literally doing what it can to eradicate some worldviews from public discourse, but thankfully, it’s influence is diminishing by the day. Much deserved.

      I don’t need to initiate an ideological purity test. The wokies are already doing it for me. All they have to do is demonstrate their tolerance for something a hair’s breadth to their right and there’s the litmus test. Using this rubric, the average Bernie Sanders supporter is less likely to be woke than the RGB worshippers, who consistently refuse to accept that A) Saint Ruth didn’t support Black Lives Matter and B) she recognized that Roe v Wade was a badly conceived decision, even if she was ardently pro-choice. In other words, Saint Ruth, despite being a standard-bearer for wokies, was more ideologically consistent (and thus less woke) than many of her devotees.