Publications drop 'Dilbert' comic after artist's racist comments

Scott Adams defended his comments about Black people, saying they were a "hate group," then said his statement was an exaggeration.
Posted at 9:00 PM, Feb 27, 2023

The career of artist Scott Adams, the man behind the popular "Dilbert" comic, may be over after he defended racist comments he made, leading to his work being dropped from multiple publications.

Adams caught fire this weekend after a YouTube rant about a poll from the group Rasmussen Reports that showed 47% of Black respondents were unsure of or disagreeing with the statement, "It's okay to be White."

"As of today, I'm going to re-identify as White because I don't want to be a member of a hate group. I've accidentally joined a hate group," Adams said.

Adams, who said he identified as Black for several years, said his effort to support Black Americans wasn't worth it.

"The best advice I can give to White people is to get the hell away from Black people. Just get the f*ck away," Adams said. "Wherever you have to go, just get away, 'cause there's no fixing this. This can't be fixed. This can't be fixed. You just have to escape."

The popularization of the phrase "It's OK to be White" can be traced back to the forum 4Chan, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which calls the phrase a hate slogan.

It says, "The original idea behind the campaign was to choose an ostensibly innocuous and inoffensive slogan. Put that slogan on fliers bereft of any other words or imagery, then place the fliers in public locations. Originators assumed that "liberals" would react negatively to such fliers and condemn them or take them down, thus "proving" that liberals did not even think it was "okay" to be White.

Rasmussen Reports tells Scripps News respondents were not given additional context on the origin of the phrase. The firm says it was part of an automated online and phone poll.

Major newspapers, including the massive USA Today network, were quick to pull the plug on "Dilbert" over the weekend, especially once Adams started defending his statement, repeating his assertion or at times calling it an exaggeration. 

"Does that mean that I think everybody should avoid their neighbor? No," Adams said on on the Hotep Jesus podcast. "Does that mean that I'm never gonna talk to a Black person? No. Does that mean I'm never gonna hire Black people? No. Doesn't mean any of that. And also I assume people know hyperbole when they see it."

The Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post are among those joining the newspapers dropping Adam's comic, likely putting him out of business.

It's a move the head of the USA Today networks says is in line with its defense of free speech.

"It was, frankly, an easy decision," said Mike Reed, the CEO of Gannett / USA Today Network. "We found the remarks hateful, hurtful, and they just crossed the line."There's a line that gets crossed where things become racism, and that's not an area we choose to traffic in or participate in."

A comic book character is shown.

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