“Dilbert,” Scott Adams draws ire from fellow cartoonists

NEW YORK – Cartoonists defend themselves against racist statements by “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams, One artist even used his own strip this week to satirize the disgraced cartoon, which has now been dropped by newspapers nationwide.

Darrin Bell turns his flick “Candorville” – which typically stars young black and Hispanic characters – into a way to address Adams’ racism by mimicking the look and style of “Dilbert,” complete with a wayward tie.

“The only reason anyone would know who Scott Adams is is because of the comic page. So I figured someone on the comic page should reply to him on the comic page,” Bell, the 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner for illustrated coverage and commentary, The Associated Press said.

In the strips that run Monday through Saturday, Bell paired Dilbert with one of his own characters, Lemont Brown. In one, Dilbert hopes Lemont will join him in his quest for a laundry room at work.

“You could wash your hoodie,” says Dilbert. Replies Lemont: “And you could wash your hood?”

Adams, who is white, has long been an outspoken — and controversial — presence on social media before calling black people a “hate group.” last month on YouTube. Adams has repeatedly labeled people who are black as members of a “hate group” and said he “won’t help black Americans anymore.” He later said he was exaggerating but continued to defend his stance.

“When someone goes too far like Scott Adams, everyone who knows better should stand up and draw a line with their First Amendment — to say that’s unacceptable,” said Bell, whose new graphic novel “The conversation” examines growing up as a multiracial male in white culture.

Other cartoonists have come forward to denounce Adams, such as Bill Holbrook, creator of “On the Fastrack,” a strip that features a multiracial family and, like “Dilbert,” focuses on a modern workplace.

“One of the things I wanted to emphasize with my characters is that people rise above their differences. It can work,” Holbrook said. “That’s the spotlight I wanted to focus on and still do. It just depends on where you want to put your focus.”

Holbrook said the Adams case was not a case of so-called abandonment culture, but of consequences.

“I fully support him saying anything he wants, but then he has to face the consequences for saying them,” he said. “It will not be cancelled. He experiences the consequences when he speaks his mind.”

Individual newspapers have discontinued “Dilbert,” and Adams dealer, Andrews McMeel Universal, said he was cutting ties with the cartoonist. While some outlets replaced “Dilbert” with another strip, The Sun Chronicle in Attleboro, Massachusetts decided to leave the space empty until March “as a reminder of the racism permeating our society.”

The “Dilbert” controversy has rocked a community of daily cartoonists, often working from their homes several months before publication. While they’re staunchly pro-free speech, they say they’re also focused on a brighter future — or at least a chuckle.

“We believe that comics are a powerful medium and that cartoonists should perpetuate laughter, not racism and hate,” said Tea Fougner, editor-in-chief of King Features Syndicate – which includes movies like “Candorville,” “Zits,” “Mutts,” and ” Mutts” is distributing “Dennis the Menace” — in a statement to AP.

“We are proud of our cartoonists who use their platforms to denounce the hate Scott Adams is spreading and to encourage others to join us as we stand together as a community to keep the world of cartoons a safe and welcoming space for all “, the statement said.

Bell credited King Features Syndicate and its editors with allowing him to rip up the strips scheduled for that week and switch to the “Dilbert” send-ups, an unusual request.

“They seemed to think it was important enough to take a risk and make sure it got out in time,” Bell said.

Many comics creators have said they’ve stopped reading “Dilbert” in recent years, finding the strip’s tone darker and its creator’s descent into misogyny, anti-immigration and racism alarming. But Adams had hundreds of newspaper poles just a week ago.

“We cannot move forward and move forward as a culture and as a society if there are still people in these gatekeeper roles who hold onto these archaic ideas,” said artist Bianca Xunise, who co-authors the strip “Six Chix” and is the second black woman in comic book history to be nationally syndicated.

Xunise noticed that the fallout was much faster as she drew a strip who commented on both the Black Lives Matter movement and the coronavirus pandemic. More than 120 publications immediately dropped the strip.

She said being black in the cartoon world always seems to trigger a backlash from hateful readers and those afraid of “awakened” messages, but is heartened that Heart of the City – now penned by black cartoonist Steenz – Replaced “Dilbert” in The Washington Post.

“We don’t want to push it to the point where it becomes another form of fascism to censor everyone’s ideas just for fear of being offensive,” Xunise said. “But some things need not be said, especially when it comes to direct blows at the marginalized.”

“Macanudo” Creator Ricardo Liniers Siri, known professionally as Liniers, said Adams is venturing into unfunny territory and that this is a cartoonist’s third rail.

“Complaints are generally not fun. The funniest guy at a party isn’t the one who complains about everything. That’s the annoying guy,” he said.

“I am not complaining. I’m just trying to focus on the good we have,” he added. “Because in the context of a newspaper with so much bad news, I try to have an optimistic space.”


Mark Kennedy is there http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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https://www.local10.com/business/2023/03/06/dilbert-scott-adams-draw-ire-from-fellow-cartoonists/ “Dilbert,” Scott Adams draws ire from fellow cartoonists

Sarah Y. Kim

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