The creator of the Dilbert comic strip faced a backlash of cancellations on Saturday while defending remarks describing people who are Black as members of "a hate group” from which white people should "get away.”
Various media publishers across the US denounced the comments by Dilbert creator Scott Adams as racist, hateful and discriminatory while saying they would no longer provide a platform for his work.
Andrews McMeel Syndication, which distributes Dilbert, did not immediately respond Saturday to requests for comment. But Adams defended himself on social media against those whom he said "hate me and are canceling me.”
Dilbert is a long-running comic that pokes fun at office-place culture.
The backlash began following an episode this past week of the YouTube show, "Real Coffee with Scott Adams.” Among other topics, Adams referenced a Rasmussen Reports survey that had asked whether people agreed with the statement "It's OK to be white."
Most agreed, but Adams noted that 26% of Black respondents disagreed and others weren't sure.
The Anti-Defamation League says the phrase was popularised in 2017 as a trolling campaign by members of the discussion forum 4chan but then began being used by some white supremacists.
Adams, who is white, repeatedly referred to people who are Black as members of a "hate group” or a "racist hate group” and said he would no longer "help Black Americans."
"Based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people,” Adams said on his Wednesday show.
In another episode of his online show on Saturday, Adams said he had been making a point that "everyone should be treated as an individual” without discrimination.
"But you should also avoid any group that doesn’t respect you, even if there are people within the group who are fine,” Adams said.
The Los Angeles Times cited Adams' "racist comments” while announcing Saturday that Dilbert will be discontinued on Monday in most editions and that its final run in the Sunday comics - which are printed in advance - will be March 12.
The San Antonio Express-News, which is part of Hearst Newspapers, said Saturday that it will drop the Dilbert comic strip, effective Monday, "because of hateful and discriminatory public comments by its creator.”
The USA Today Network tweeted Friday that it also will stop publishing Dilbert "due to recent discriminatory comments by its creator.”
The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and other publications that are part of Advance Local media also announced that they are dropping Dilbert.
"This is a decision based on the principles of this news organization and the community we serve,” wrote Chris Quinn, editor of The Plain Dealer. ”We are not a home for those who espouse racism. We certainly do not want to provide them with financial support."
Christopher Kelly, vice president of content for NJ Advance Media, wrote that the news organisation believes in "the free and fair exchange of ideas.”
"But when those ideas cross into hate speech, a line must be drawn,” Kelly wrote.