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News / Clark County News

From the Newsroom: We are dropping ‘Dilbert,’ too

By Craig Brown, Columbian Editor
Published: February 28, 2023, 6:05am

Today I am making an exception to a couple of my rules. First of all, I try to consume valuable newspaper space only once a week, on Saturdays. And second, I try not to write when I am angry.

But I am angry about the outrageous things cartoonist Scott Adams said in a social media podcast, and it can’t wait. (I’m not going to follow my usual practice of linking to the asset, because what he said has no place in civil society.)

Here’s how The Associated Press reported it on Monday:

“ ‘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 …

“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.”

That includes The Columbian. He’s done. Our last “Dilbert” strip appeared on Monday, on a page that was prepared before Adams’ social media comments came to light over the weekend.

We’ve reached out to his syndicate, Andrews McMeel Universal, which also dumped him on Monday, to see about a replacement. We hope to have a few good candidates within the week. Our harried sales representative said it was pretty busy Monday at Andrews McMeel, which, in addition to “Dilbert,” syndicates a number of other features our readers enjoy.

In a statement, Andrews McMeel said, “We are proud to promote and share many different voices and perspectives. But we will never support any commentary rooted in discrimination or hate.”

Meanwhile, our comics section for Sunday, March 5, had already been printed with “Dilbert” included. But Publisher Ben Campbell feels so strongly about the issue he has ordered those sections to be recycled. We will print a new section without “Dilbert,” even if that means we just have an empty spot. He considers it money well spent.

The Columbian is not going to do business with a racist jerk.

Not that Adams will miss us. We paid about $3,800 a year for “Dilbert.” But I am guessing it will add up.

All the major chains, including those that publish The Oregonian and The Daily News in Longview, dropped “Dilbert.” So did the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.

Here’s some more of what the Associated Press had to say on Monday:

“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 had previously defended himself on social media against those whom he said ‘hate me and are canceling me.’ He also drew support from Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who tweeted that the media previously ‘was racist against nonwhite people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians.’ ”

With all due respect to Musk, that last point is bunkum. What has actually happened is that news media has become more attuned to the fact that diverse groups — women, racial and ethnic minorities, people who identify as LGBTQ+, and others — have a lot to offer and we need and deserve to hear their stories.

We talk too much about “cancel culture.” What we need to talk more about is uplifting all voices.