UPDATE: Mark Sumner
The Washington Post, USA Today, and others have also dropped Adams’ content this week.
At some point, back around the turn of the century, the “Dilbert” comic strip from Scott Adams seemed to capture the zeitgeist of America’s office-cube culture. In particular, it skewered a kind of environment and management methodology that was momentarily dominant in the IT department of large corporations.
That moment in which the strip was relevant and capable of producing a vague smile passed in about a heartbeat. However, like the aftereffects of a Dagwood sandwich, the strip itself lingered on and on, despite declining interest and a lack of anything that even resembled effort on the part of Adams.
Meanwhile, Adams himself was increasingly revealed as bitter, angry, and deeply foolish. His appearances and public statements over the last decade have been frequently related to rambling on about conspiracy theories wrested from the morass of Q-Anon, or in support of demeaning people on just about every basis imaginable. Frustrated that a weekly national platform didn’t give him enough room to pass on all his odious believes, Adams started a “Coffee with Scott Adams” podcast where he could rail at greater length—though at no improved depth—than the space provided by a thought balloon.
The reach of Adams and his strip has been declining for more than a decade. Still, no matter how distasteful his statements became, his core business of making meaningless iterations of strips that ran twenty years ago seemed to be intact. Until this week.
On Friday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer announced that they were dropping Adam’s strip after he used his coffee time show to engage in a racist rant. As he sprayed coffee around whatever passes for a studio, Adam’s declared that Black people, as a whole, are “a hate group” and gave his 2023 spin on segregation, saying that, “the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people.”
Much to the credit of the Plain Dealer …
“This is not a difficult decision. … No, this is a decision based on the principles of this news organization and the community we serve. We are not a home for those who espouse racism. We certainly do not want to provide them with financial support.”
As the announcement points out, Adams made his vile statements during Black history month, which wasn’t lost on Adams, because complaining about the existence of Black history month was already part of his rant.
The only thing wrong with the Plain Dealer’s decision is that it’s coming late in the game. Last year, 77 other papers owned by Lee Enterprises dropped Adam’s scribbles after he introduced the strip’s first Black character in over 25 years; a character which he used to make fun of “woke culture” and to attack the LGBTQ+ community.
As Hunter covered back in 2016, Adams was a rabid supporter of Donald Trump. Just how violent and disconnected from reality Adams already was seven years ago can be seen in his statements at the time.
My promise: If Trump gets elected, and he does anything that looks even slightly Hitler-ish in office, I will join the resistance movement and help kill him. That’s an easy promise to make, and I hope my fellow citizens would use their Second Amendment rights to rise up and help me kill any Hitler-type person who rose to the top job in this country, no matter who it is.
Adams regularly justified his opposition to Hillary Clinton through outright misogyny, saying that electing a woman would “diminish” the role of men — though at one point he claimed he had temporarily supported Clinton because he feared his liberal neighbors would kill him for supporting Trump. In a repeated statement, Adams compared women seeking equal pay to “children demanding candy.”
Other cartoonist, including Tom Tomorrow, have long pointed out that Adams’ cartoons have always been anti-worker, depicting its characters as lazy, incapable parasites for their corporate betters.
In previous episodes of his podcast, Adams has claimed that the idea Trump supporters were involved in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol has been “debunked” and instead argued that this was a conspiracy, a conspiracy he blamed on the racist and anti-Semitic “replacement theory.”
At one point in “Dilbert” was a regular feature in over 2,000 newspapers. There was even a short-lived animated series in 1999 and for years a film was in development. Those plans have been dropped. Since 2010, Adam’s strip has been bounced around between several distributors. How many outlets still remain isn’t clear. But at least, that number dropped again this week.