A popular comic strip has been canned by 77 newspapers after its creator Scott Adams started incorporating anti-woke plotlines, including a black character who identifies as white.
Adams’ much-loved ‘Dilbert’ comics have been in circulation since 1989 and frequently pokes fun at office culture, but he announced he was sensationally dropped by publisher Lee Enterprises.
The media company owns nearly 100 newspapers across the country – including The Buffalo News, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the Arizona Daily Sun – and has been publishing Adams’ jokes about the corporate ladder for years.
One of his most recent controversial comic strips included a black worker, who identifies as white, being asked to also identify as gay to boost his company’s environmental, social, and governance ratings.
Dave, his reoccurring character, replies: ‘Depends how hard you want me to sell it,’ before the boss responds: ‘Just wear better shirts.’
Adams, 65, is believed to be worth nearly $70million – a fortune he amassed thanks to the popularity of his characters, as well as his non-Dilbert related works.
Another satire, posted on Monday, showed the same character in charge of the fictional firm wondering how he can open a new factory without contributing negatively to the environment.
As a solution to stop him being bashed by ‘woke’ commentators, the boss concludes that he’ll add a non-binary worker to his board to increase diversity.
Adams’ satirical strips feature in newspapers across 57 countries, and in 19 languages – and there are over 20 million Dilbert books and calendars in print.
The character Dave, named after the creator’s brother, is a prankster who messes with his boss, Adams said.
He told Fox News that some newspapers voiced concerns after receiving complaints about his comic content.
But he could not say for sure if that had anything to do with the removal of ‘Dilbert.’
Adams said: ‘It was part of a larger overhaul, I believe, of comics, but why they decided what was in and what was out, that’s not known to anybody except them, I guess.’
The Daily Cartoonist reported that the comic strips ‘Baby Blues,’ ‘Red and Rover,’ ‘Mutts’ and ‘Bizarrro’ were also cut.
Cartoonist Dan Piraro, who created ‘Bizarro,’ spoke about getting the axe.
‘Lee Enterprises, a newspaper group that is majority-owned by a large investment firm, stopped running ‘Bizarro’ and many other comics in their papers this past week,’ Piraro wrote on his webpage.
The removal of the strips has had a ‘significant’ financial impact on Adams, but it’s unclear how much money he was making from the partnership to begin with.
Responding to claims that Lee Enterprises were just making changes to their syndication, the cartoonist added: ‘Do you think they flipped coins to decide what to keep and what to delete? It wasn’t about popularity or cost. (That I know.)’
‘But it could have been a normal business decision of another type that is a huge coincidence. All possible.’
In another of his anti-woke comics, one boss told workers: ‘We are replacing traditional performance reviews with a wokeness score assigned by human resources.’
They explain the idea that ‘the more woke you are, the more you will get paid.’
But one confused worker buts in, saying: ‘That feels too subjective.’
And the boss bites back: ‘That’ll cost you two points off your wokeness score, bigot.’
Lee Enterprises – who own local media outlets from 26 different states – has been contacted for comment.