The Tampa Bay Times no longer carries the comic strip “Dilbert.”
We made the decision last week after the author and creator posted racist remarks on his video podcast “Real Coffee with Scott Adams” on YouTube, Google, Apple and other platforms.
Adams called Black people members of a “hate group.” Then he added this: “The best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people. Just get the f--k away.” He went on to say that “it makes no sense whatsoever as a white citizen of America to try to help Black citizens anymore.”
Adams, 65, launched “Dilbert” in 1989, with the characters inspired by his personal workplace experiences. Long ago, I was a fan of his satirical take on office life. And I’ll bet some of you still enjoy it and may miss it.
But there’s no place in the pages of the Times for people who behave or think as he does. And we have no desire to financially support anyone who holds these views.
Adams posted Episode 2027 of his podcast Wednesday, which quickly drew condemnation. We became aware of it Thursday afternoon when a Twitter user flagged us. Once we verified the video’s authenticity, we notified the Andrews McMeel syndicate that we planned to cease publishing “Dilbert.” Because Sunday’s comics were printed before we learned of Adams’ remarks, the earliest we could remove it was Monday.
Hundreds of other newspapers also have discontinued the strip. On Friday, Gannett’s USA Today Network, with more than 200 local newspapers and the company’s flagship USA Today, announced it was pulling the plug. That same day, Advance Local newspapers — which include The Oregonian in Portland, The Star-Ledger in New Jersey, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and news outlets in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Alabama and New York — canceled.
On Saturday, The Washington Post joined the growing list. So did the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Boston Globe, the Houston Chronicle, The Seattle Times and the San Antonio Express-News. On Sunday, The New York Times said it will no longer carry “Dilbert” in its international print edition. (It hasn’t featured the cartoon domestically.)
Then the final shoe: The comic’s distributor, Andrews McMeel, announced Sunday that it was parting ways with Adams.
The syndicate said it supports free speech but that the comments the artist made were not compatible with its core values. By then, most of the newspaper clients had already dropped “Dilbert.” At its peak, the strip ran in about 2,000 newspapers around the globe.
This isn’t the first time we’ve ended a comic because of an author’s actions. In 2019, we stopped running “Non Sequitur” when creator Wiley Miler embedded the words “go f--k yourself Trump” into the corner of his comic. The message got past his editors and ran in newspapers across the country, including ours.
Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines
Subscribe to our free DayStarter newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
We aren’t sure if we will replace “Dilbert” or apply the savings to local news. For now, though, we are moving forward without the work of a man whose words violate the basic principles of common decency.
You can email me at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter at @markkatches.