Scott Adams, 65, had been producing nationally-syndicated Dilbert since 1989, but landmark papers such as the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post, as well as smaller titles around the country, have stopped publishing the cartoon in the wake of the artist’s description of Black people as a “hate group” and urging white people to “get the hell away from” them.
Mr Adams made the comments on Wednesday but appeared to double down on Saturday, tweeting: “Is it racist to avoid racists who are the same race as each other? Or is it only racist if the racists you are avoiding are white?”
Elon Musk replied: “Simultaneously, an interesting question and a tongue twister!”
On Sunday, the cartoonist published a video complaining that his quotes had been taken out of context while contradictorily insisting he knew what he was doing, what the reaction would be and claiming he didn’t “make mistakes.”
“Including the cancellations, this was all predictable, and I knew it when I said it, and I’m okay with it,” Mr Adams said in the rambling Sunday video. Hs insisted that even among his critics, “nobody disagrees” with the points he made.
The Twitter CEO jumped to his defence again on Sunday regarding news of newspapers dropping Dilbert, writing that “the media is racist.”
“For a *very* long time, US media was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians,” Musk tweeted. “Same thing happened with elite colleges & high schools in America.
“Maybe they can try not being racist.”
For a *very* long time, US media was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians.
Same thing happened with elite colleges & high schools in America.
Maybe they can try not being racist.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 26, 2023
The cartoonist did, however, admit during his show on Saturday that the controversy had harmed his career.
“Most of my income will be gone by next week,” he said. “My reputation for the rest of my life is destroyed. You can’t come back from this, am I right?”
Statements from newspaper executives across the country have indicated that any comeback for Dilbert would be highly unlikely.
Cleveland Plain Dealer editor Chris Quinn, in a letter to readers, described Adams’ online comments as “mostly hateful and racist” and said that it was “not a difficult decision” to drop the cartoon.
“It’s a staggering string of statements, all but certain to result in the loss of his livelihood,” the editor wrote. “I hate to quote him at all, but I do so to dissuade responses that this is a ‘cancel culture’ decision.
“No, this is a decision based on the principles of this news organization and the community that we serve. We are not a home for those who espouse racism. We certainly do not want to provide them with financial support.”
In Texas, the editor and publisher of the San Antonio Express-News decried the cartoonist’s “hateful and discriminatory public comments.”
“These statements are offensive to our core values,” they wrote. “Dropping a comic strip from our pages is not censorship. Adams is entitled to his opinions. The Express-News is not obliged to give him a platform and financial support.”
Mr Adams remained defiant throughout the weekend, however, tweeting on Sunday: “I’m accepting criticism from anyone who has seen the full context here” – he included a link to the original Wednesday YouTube video.
“The rest of you are in a fake news bubble but I trust you suspected that.”