Readers will see a change on our comics page today. We are dropping the Dilbert comic following racist, hateful and discriminatory rants by Dilbert’s creator, Scott Adams.
We are not alone in this decision. Hundreds of newspapers across North America, including the Toronto Star, the Washington Post, the Seattle Times and the Los Angeles Times, made the same call.
The comic has been one of the most popular in the Times Colonist for three decades. It pokes fun at mindless office culture and office politics.
Its popularity means nothing, however, given what Dilbert’s creator said last week on an episode of his YouTube show, Real Coffee with Scott Adams. Adams, who is white, described people who are Black as members of “a hate group” from which white people should “get the hell away.”
This is not the first time Adams has drawn attention for his comments about race. He previously declared he would begin self-identifying as Black “because I like to be on the winning team.”
In May 2022, Adams drew complaints when he introduced Dilbert’s first Black character, a new engineer named Dave who said he identifies “as white.”
Adams has drawn criticism for cartoons that offend people of colour, LGBTQ+ people and transgender people.
Given his record, Adams’s rant last week cannot be dismissed. It was not a spur-of-the-moment comment. He has also refused to apologize or retract what he said.
He cannot regain his previous audience without understanding that what he said was wrong, and that it only inflamed the racial divide that undercuts society throughout North America.
Adams would also need to take responsibility for the damage he has done in spewing racist thoughts. He has been highly respected for many years; his words carry a lot of weight.
We support free speech, but freedom goes hand in hand with responsibility. There are limits to what should be said.
We believe that a news organization has a role in bringing people together, not driving them apart. We believe in a free exchange of ideas to encourage meaningful debate on major issues.
We respect and honour the diversity of the community — and that includes speaking out about racism and dealing with it when it rears up.
Our decision to drop his comic from the Times Colonist does not mean we are censoring Adams. His remaining fans will be able to find him on the internet.
With all that said, what about Dilbert’s spot on the pages?
Starting today, we are bringing back Baby Blues, a daily comic we published until about a year ago. On Sundays, look forward to Foxtrot.
— Dave Obee, editor and publisher
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