Dilbert creator Scott Adams has been dropped by his syndicate Andrews McMeel Universal and his comic strip has been removed by several major publications after he made a series of racist comments on his Youtube show Real Coffee with Scott Adams.
What did he say? Adams’ video was posted on February 22 under the title “Episode 2027: Scott Adams: AI Goes Woke, I Accidentally Joined A Hate Group, Trump, Policing Schools.” In the parts of Adams’ show which have now gone viral, he references a recent Rasmussen Reports poll that asked if respondents agreed with the statement “It’s okay to be white.” According to the results, 26% of Black respondents said they disagreed and 21% said they weren’t sure if they agreed. Taking that data entirely out of context, Adams claimed that Black Americans who don’t agree with the statement are part of a hate group, and that:
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. Get the f–k away. Wherever you have to go, just get away. There’s no fixing this. This can’t be fixed. You just have to escape.
According to Adams, he followed his own advice and sought out a predominantly white neighborhood in which to live. The reason, he explained:
[U]nfortunately there is a high correlation between the density… and this is according to Don Lemon by the way, here I’m just quoting Don Lemon when he notes that when he lived in a mostly Black neighborhood there were a bunch of problems that he didn’t see in white neighborhoods. Even Don Lemon sees a big difference in your own quality of living based on where you live and who’s there.
Adams says that he has spent his entire life trying to be “helpful to Black America,” but that his efforts have only resulted in him being labeled a racist. “It makes no sense to help Black Americans if you’re white. It’s over. Don’t even think it’s worth trying.”
And finally, he expressed frustration about what he perceived as a wave of violent crimes that he witnesses “every damn day” when he logs onto his social media accounts:
I’m also really sick of seeing video after video of Black Americans beating up non-Black citizens. I realize this is anecdotal and doesn’t give you a full picture of what’s happening. But every damn day I look on social media and there is some Black person beating the shit out of some white person, and I’m kind of over it. I’m over it. I quit.
Over the weekend, Adams posted an update video in which he admits his comments were racist. He compared his claims to reparations and affirmative action – which he also claims are racist – and said, “Simply the fact that it’s completely racist, doesn’t automatically make it bad.”
How did Adams take the Rasmussen data out of context? The phrase “It’s okay to be white” means far more than the sum of its parts. According to the Anti-Defamation League, it first became popular in 2017 when used by trolls on 4chan before being quickly adopted by white supremacists. It’s entirely possible, if not probable, that many respondents objected to what the phrase now represents rather than its literal meaning.
Does Adams have a history of saying these kinds of things? In June 2020, Adams blamed his skin color for the cancelation of the Dilbert animated tv series. According to him, the network wanted to “focus on an African-American audience.” It’s worth noting that at the time of his show’s cancelation, it was the 152nd lowest-rated program on network television from a field of 153 shows.
I lost my TV show for being white when UPN decided it would focus on an African-American audience. That was the third job I lost for being white. The other two in corporate America. (They told me directly.)
— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) June 29, 2020
What’s the fallout been like since the video was posted? Adams’ has been dropped by his syndicate Andrews McMeel Universal. Chairman Hugh Andrews and president and CEO Andy Sareyan released a joint statement which reads:
Andrews McMeel Universal is severing our relationship with Dilbert creator Scott Adams. The process of this termination will extend to all areas of our business with Adams and the Dilbert comic strip.
As a media and communications company, AMU values free speech. We are proud to promote and share many different voices and perspectives. But we will never support any commentary rooted in discrimination or hate. Recent comments by Scott Adams regarding race and race relations do not align with our core values as a company.
Our creator-first approach is foundational to AMU, and we deeply value our relationships with our creators. However, in the case with Adams, our vision and principles are not compatible.
Numerous publications that were still running the Dilbert comic strip were quick to denounce Adams’ comments as racist, discriminatory, and dangerous, with many saying they will no longer publish the strip. Among them are:
- USA Today and other Gannet-owned publications.
- The Los Angeles Times
- The New York Times (international edition)
- The Washington Post
- The Plain Dealer and other Advance Local publications
- The San Antonio Express News