The cartoon “Dilbert” has been dropped from numerous US newspapers in response to racist comments by its creator, Scott Adams, on his YouTube channel.
Adams called Black Americans a “hate group” and suggested white Americans “get the hell away from Black people” in response to a conservative organization’s poll purporting to show that many African Americans do not agree with the statement: “It’s OK to be white.”
The Anti-Defamation League says the phrase was popularised in 2017 as a trolling campaign by members of the discussion forum 4chan and was then used by some white supremacists.
“If nearly half of all Blacks are not OK with white people … that’s a hate group,” said Adams, who is white, on his YouTube channel on Wednesday. “And I don’t want to have anything to do with them.”
The comments ignited a furor on social media, along with calls for the conservative cartoonist’s work to be dropped from publishers’ rosters.
His once-popular comic strip, which lampoons corporate culture and was launched in 1989, will no longer be carried by the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the USA Today-affiliated group of newspapers and others, the newspapers announced in statements on Friday and Saturday.
“In light of Scott Adams’s recent statements promoting segregation, the Washington Post has ceased publication of the Dilbert comic strip,” the newspaper said on Saturday, noting that readers had contacted the newspaper calling for the cartoon to be dropped.
On Friday, the USA Today Network, which runs more than 300 newspapers, said it “will no longer publish the Dilbert comic due to recent discriminatory comments by its creator”.
“This is not a difficult decision,” Chris Quinn, editor of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, said in a letter to readers posted on Friday. “We are not a home for those who espouse racism.”
The Los Angeles Times on Saturday said it too would drop the strip. “Cartoonist Scott Adams made racist comments in a YouTube livestream Feb 22, offensive remarks that the Times rejects,” the newspaper said on its website.
The Times said it had removed four Dilbert cartoons from its pages in recent months because they violated the newspaper’s standards.
Adams could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters on Saturday. But on his YouTube channel, he confirmed his comic was being dropped – and said he had expected that to happen. “By Monday, I should be mostly canceled. So most of my income will be gone by next week,” he said. “My reputation for the rest of my life is destroyed. You can’t come back from this.”
Andrews McMeel Syndication, which distributes Dilbert, did not immediately respond on Saturday to requests for comment by the Associated Press.
Adams’s initial remarks came in response to a conservative Rasmussen Poll that appeared to show that 26% of Black respondents said they disagreed with the statement “It’s OK to be white”. Another 21% said they were not sure.
However, Rasmussen also said the online and phone survey last week of 1,000 likely US voters showed that 72% of Americans overall agreed with the statement, compared with 12% who disagreed.
Adams said on Wednesday that he had moved to a different location to get away from Black people, and urged others to do the same.
“I’m not saying start a war or anything like that,” he said. “I’m just saying get away.”
With Reuters and Associated Press