Dilbert comic strip creator Scott Adams experienced possibly the biggest repercussion of his recent comments about race when distributor Andrews McMeel Universal announced Sunday it would no longer work with the cartoonist.
Andrews McMeel Chair Hugh Andrews and CEO and President Andy Sareyan said in a joint statement that the syndication company was “severing our relationship” with Adams.
In the 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.
Andrews and Sareyan said Andrews McMeel supports free speech, but the comments by the cartoonist 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,” they said in the statement posted on the company website and Twitter.
The creator of the long-running comic that pokes fun at office-place culture defended himself on social media against those whom he said “hate me and are canceling me.”
The backlash against Adams arose following comments on “Real Coffee with Scott Adams.” Among other topics, Adams used the YouTube show to reference 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 percent of Black respondents disagreed and others weren’t sure.
The Anti-Defamation League said the phrase was popularized in 2017 as a trolling campaign by members of the discussion forum 4chan but then began being used by some white supremacists.
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.”
“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,” Adams said on his Wednesday show.
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.
Dilbert had already been dropped by several media outlets by the time of the announcement from its distributor.
The Bangor Daily News dropped Dilbert on Sunday. “Requiring a comic-strip artist to reject racist opinions is not too high a bar,” said Todd Benoit, president of the BDN. “The BDN won’t support those who spread that sort of poison.”
Other Maine newspapers, including the Portland Press Herald, Maine Sunday Telegram and Kennebec Journal, also dropped the comic strip.
“We have decided to no longer publish the ‘Dilbert’ comic strip in our international print edition following racist comments by Scott Adams,” said Danielle Rhoades Ha, a spokesperson for The New York Times who said Dilbert was published in the international print edition but not in the U.S. edition or online.
The Washington Post said it would stop publishing Dilbert in light of “Scott Adams’s recent statements promoting segregation,” although the strip could not be prevented from running in some forthcoming print editions.
The Los Angeles Times cited Adams’ “racist comments” while announcing Saturday that Dilbert will be discontinued Monday in most editions and that its final run in the Sunday comics — which are printed in advance — will be March 12.
The San Antonio Express-News, which is part of Hearst Newspapers, said Saturday it will drop the Dilbert comic strip, effective Monday, “because of hateful and discriminatory public comments by its creator.”
The USA Today Network tweeted Friday that it will stop publishing Dilbert “due to recent discriminatory comments by its creator.”
The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and other publications that are part of media company Advance Local also announced they are dropping Dilbert.
“This is a decision based on the principles of this news organization and the community we serve,” 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.”
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.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk defended Adams in posts on the platform, saying the media previously “was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians.”
Story by David A. Lieb.