The ‘Dilbert’ Artist’s Downfall, Triggered by a Reckless Commentary
Ah, Dilbert, we hardly knew ya.
Scott Adams, creator of the popular “Dilbert” comic strip, has faced a backlash of cancellations after a tirade on his YouTube livestream in which he described Black people as members of “a hate group” from which white people should “get away.”
Instead, hundreds of newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, where I work, decided to get away — from Dilbert, even though it has ranked as one of the nation’s most popular comic strips.
A devastating blow hit the comic Sunday evening when its distributor, Andrews McMeel Universal, severed ties, citing the company’s policy of rejecting “commentary rooted in discrimination or hate.”
Discrimination? Hate? Dilbert? Who would have expected such ugly allegations would rise up around dutiful office drone Dilbert, his faithful pet-pal Dogbert and the other familiar characters in the 34-year-old strip, as well as a bonanza spinoff of Dilbert books, calendars and toys that decorate office cubicles around the globe?
Alas, things turned ugly after Adams posted a YouTube livestream last week in which he riffed on a Rasmussen Reports poll of racial attitudes.
My ears perked up as soon as I heard the name Rasmussen. The firm often has been accused of a pro-conservative, pro-Republican bias, but it also comes up with polling questions too provocative to be ignored by talk shows or sociopolitical columns like mine.
Or by YouTube livestreams like “Real Coffee with Scott Adams,” in which Adams flew into a rage over a Rasmussen poll that found only a slim majority of Black Americans agreed with the statement, “It’s OK to be white.”
As a Black American who believes it’s quite OK to be whatever color the Almighty made you, I thought the question was “simple” and “uncontroversial,” as Rasmussen’s head pollster described it to The Washington Post.
But as a news junkie, I knew the phrase “It’s OK to be white” has a loaded history in light of today’s racial politics.
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