Semi-Obligatory Dilbert Commentary

By | Monday, February 27, 2023 Leave a Comment
The big comic news over the past several days has been that Dilbert creator Scott Adams went on a racist screed on his YouTube channel, explictly calling Black Americans collectively a "hate group," and a number of outlets have stopped running his strip in response. You can find a variety of reports online talking to this, but I'm going to point to this one at Mother Jones because it puts a little more context on the survey that sent Adams on his rant. (Notably, the "it's okay to be white" statement Black people were reacting to was deemed by the Anti-Defamation League as a "hate slogan" expressly used as part of a racist, targeted campaign on 4chan. Adams notably does NOT make this reference at any point.)

Chris Quinn of The Plain Dealer has probably posted the earliest and strongest message from a newspaper on why they're dropping Dilbert.
We are not a home for those who espouse racism. We certainly do not want to provide them with financial support.

Adams’ reprehensible statements come during Black History Month, when The Plain Dealer has been publishing stories about the work being performed by so many to overcome the damage done by racist decisions and policy.
Interestingly, though, he notes that 77 newspapers dropped Dilbert last year for Adams' anti-LGBTQ and anti-woke messages. Curious that so many newspapers are only dropping the strip now; it's as if being against one minority is okay but being against another is not. 😒

And that speaks to a lot of the individual responses I've seen. A number of people have responded to news of papers dropping Dilbert by saying, "Good!" but immediately following it up with, "About damn time!" citing that people have been calling for exactly this for a decade. I double-checked my own blog here -- I didn't start pointing out Adams' racist and sexist tendencies until 2015 and didn't openly start questioning why he hadn't been cancelled yet until 2016. So... not quite a decade, but if I've been able to see his bullshit that long, there is NO reason anyone else couldn't.
I can't find an actual number of outlets that have formally dropped Dilbert at this point. I've seen a couple headlines that vaguely refer to "hundreds" but I expect that's largely a guess extrpolating from the USA Today network of over 100 local papers collectively dropping the strip. I see that neither the current or "classic" strips are available on (the official outlet for Andrews McMeel Universal, the syndicate that offers Dilbert) any longer. A statement Andrews McMeel issued, I believe, last night states they are "severing our relationship with Dilbert creator Scott Adams" and that includes "all areas of our business with Adams and the Dilbert comic strip." The only place anyone can continue reading new Dilbert strips -- assuming he chooses to continue making them -- is Adams' own website.

That said, Adams will be fine. He's made a shit-ton of money off Dilbert already and will still get royalties from however many books and calendars and remain in print. He's got fifty books out just reprinting Dilbert strips, plus another two dozen on various business-related topics. Unless Andrews McMeel specifically recalls and pulps everything currently in bookstores, Adams will continue to receive royalties off those sales for some time. Plus whatever he makes off YouTube and his own site. There are a lot of people who don't care about what Adams says or does, and will keep buying his books because they (wrongly) think they're funny. Not to mention that I suspect Adams will be able to play the victim card to at least his right-wing audience and will become a periodic talking head on Fox News or draw cartoons for the Ku Klux Klan's newsletter or something.

It's nice that he's finally seeing some repercussions for his attitude and behavior, but it will be hardly enough and will, in fact, likely just cause him to double-down on his racism. But, hopefully, there are enough people who finally say, "fuck this guy!" that he can be relegated to a minor footnote in the history of comic strips.
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