Why has Dilbert comic strip been dropped? Backlash against creator Scott Adams explained

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Scott Adams sparked outrage after making racist comments and Dilbert has been dropped by newspapers

The comic strip Dilbert has been dropped by many US newspapers following racist comments made by its creator.

Scott Adams who is white said in a video that black Americans were part of a “hate group” and that white people should “get the hell away” from them. The 65-year-old has since acknowledge that his career was destroyed and that most of his income would be gone by next week.

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Dilbert has been dropped by the Washington Post and many other papers after publishers denounced his comments as racist, hateful and discriminatory while saying they would no longer provide a platform for his work.

Andrews McMeel Syndication, which distributes Dilbert, did not immediately respond on Saturday to requests for comment. But Adams defended himself on social media against those whom he said “hate me and are cancelling me”.

Dilbert is a long-running comic that pokes fun at office-place culture.

Why has Dilbert been dropped by US newspapers?

The backlash began following an episode this past week of the YouTube show, Real Coffee with Scott Adams. Among other topics, Adams 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 were not sure.

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Dilbert comic strip has been dropped by US newspapers.  (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)Dilbert comic strip has been dropped by US newspapers.  (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Dilbert comic strip has been dropped by US newspapers. (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images) | SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

The Anti-Defamation League says 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”. In his Wednesday show, Adams added: “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.”

In another episode of his online show on 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.

Which newspapers have dropped Dilbert?

The Los Angeles Times cited Adams’ “racist comments” while announcing on Saturday that Dilbert will be discontinued on 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 on Saturday that it will drop the Dilbert comic strip, effective from Monday, “because of hateful and discriminatory public comments by its creator”.

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The USA Today Network tweeted on Friday that it also will stop publishing Dilbert “due to recent discriminatory comments by its creator”.

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and other publications that are part of Advance Local media also announced that they are dropping Dilbert.

“This is a decision based on the principles of this news organisation and the community we serve,” wrote Chris Quinn, editor of The Plain Dealer. “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 organisation 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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