'Dilbert,' Scott Adams lose distributor over racist remarks

FILE - Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, works on his comic strip in his studio in in Dublin, Calif., on Oct. 26, 2006. Syndication company Andrews McMeel announced they were severing ties with Adams after he made comments about race on his YouTube show, “Real Coffee with Scott Adams.” (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)


Associated Press

"Dilbert" creator Scott Adams continued to see his reach shrink Monday as dozens of newspapers and a major comic strip platform said they would no longer publish his long-running office workplace comic strip over his recent racist remarks.

Newspaper readers around the country were greeted by notes from publishers -- and, in at least one instance, a blank space -- alerting them to outlets' decision to stop running the popular comic. Adams' fate was effectively sealed Sunday evening when "Dilbert" distributor Andrews McMeel Universal said it was severing ties to the cartoonist. By Monday morning, "Dilbert" was gone from the GoComics site, which also features many top comic strips like "Peanuts" and "Calvin and Hobbes."

In a Feb. 22 episode of his YouTube show, Adams described people who are Black as members of "a hate group" from which white people should "get away." Various media publishers across the U.S. denounced the comments as racist, hateful and discriminatory while saying they would no longer provide a platform for his work.

Readers of The Sun Chronicle in Attleboro, Massachusetts, found a blank space in Monday's edition where "Dilbert" would normally run. The paper said it would keep the space blank throughout March "as a reminder of the racism the pervades our society."

Newspapers ranging from the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post to smaller papers like the Santa Fe New Mexican and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette have also said they would cease to publish "Dilbert." The strip, which lampoons office culture, first appeared in 1989.

"This is a decision based on the principles of this news organization and the community we serve," Cleveland Plain Dealer Editor Chris Quinn wrote. "We are not a home for those who espouse racism. We certainly do not want to provide them with financial support."

The Andrews McMeel Universal statement said the distributor supports free speech, but Adams' comments were not compatible with the core values of the company based in Kansas City, Missouri.

"We are proud to promote and share many different voices and perspectives. But we will never support any commentary rooted in discrimination or hate," the statement jointly signed by the chair and CEO said.

While Adams' strips are no longer on GoComics, he maintains an extensive archive on his own website. In a YouTube episode released Monday, Scott Adams said that new "Dilbert" strips will only be available on his subscription service on the Locals platform.

"They made a business decision, which I don't consider anything like censorship," he said of Andrews McMeel Universal, adding that his comments about Black people were hyperbole.

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."

Christopher Kelly, vice president of content for NJ Advance Media, wrote that the news organization believes in "the free and fair exchange of ideas."

"But when those ideas cross into hate speech, a line must be drawn," Kelly wrote.