As newspapers across the country cut ties with “Dilbert” comic strip creator Scott Adams after a livestreamed racist rant, one influential Twitter user has doubled-down on defending him: Twitter owner Elon Musk.For Musk, it all started with a fairly innocuous question.”What exactly are they complaining about?” he asked in a reply to the “Dilbert” creator. Adams was criticizing a reporter for sharing a story about the comic strip being dropped by newspapers.Shortly after, Musk deleted his tweet to Adams, ostensibly finding out what the discourse was about: Scott Adams went on a racist rant on his livestream, calling Black people a “hate group” and telling white people to stay away from them.However, Musk would return to defend Adams in a series of tweets.Responding to a right-wing Twitter account attacking the media for reporting on the Adams story, Musk tweeted “the media is racist.” Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab) “For a very long time, U.S. media was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians,” Musk continued. “Same thing happened with elite colleges & high schools in America. Maybe they can try not being racist.”When another Twitter user replied that Adams’ comments were “not good” but had an “element of truth,” Musk simply responded “exactly.”Musk’s most recent comment, posted on Twitter right before this article was published, opined about Adams being “canceled.” Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab) “I don’t agree with everything Scott says, but Dilbert is legit funny & insightful,” tweeted Musk. “We should stop canceling comedy!”Beyond those comments, Musk offered no condemnation of what Adams said.
“Dilbert” creator’s racist rant
On Wednesday, Adams was hosting his livestream show, “Real Coffee with Scott Adams,” when he started ranting about a poll from the right-leaning pollster Rasmussen. Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab) The poll asked surveyed participants if they agreed with the phrase “It’s OK to be white.” The phrase started as a troll campaign on 4chan in 2017. Whatever the originators’ actual intent was, not long after the 4chan campaign, actual white supremacists began adopting the phrase as well. The Anti-Defamation League lists the phrase as a symbol of hate.Regardless, the Rasmussen poll found that a majority of Black Americans (53 percent) polled agreed with the statement, with 26 percent disagreeing and 21 percent saying they weren’t sure. It’s not hard to imagine that some who disagreed with the statement may have been familiar with the actual meaning of that very specific phrase.However, the creator of the “Dilbert” comic was outraged over the poll.“If nearly half of all Blacks are not OK with white people, according to this poll, not according to me…that’s a hate group and I don’t want to have anything to do with them,” said Adams. “And I would say, 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, just get the fuck away. Wherever you have to go, just get away because there is no fixing this. This can’t be fixed.”Within days, hundreds of newspapers announced that they would be dropping the “Dilbert” comic strip.”Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip, went on a racist rant this week on his Coffee with Scott Adams online video show, and we will no longer carry his comic strip in The Plain Dealer,” said its editor, Chris Quin, in a post at the outlet’s website Cleveland.com. “This is not a difficult decision.””The Times has decided to cease publication of ‘Dilbert,’ announced the L.A. Times. “Cartoonist Scott Adams made racist comments in a YouTube livestream Feb. 22, offensive remarks that The Times rejects.”By Monday, even Andrews McMeel Universal, the distributor of the comic, had severed ties with Adams.
Par for the course for Musk
Seeing Musk so openly wade into a conversation to defend Adams, well, it’s not completely surprising.For years, Black workers at Tesla, where Musk is CEO, have come forward with allegations of racism experienced while at the company. Just one of the many examples includes slurs and racist harassment reportedly leveled at Tesla’s Black employees from their superiors at the car maker’s factories. Lawsuits have been filed over the years, one resulting in a single employee receiving $137 million in a jury verdict. However, the former Tesla worker is going back to court for a new trial after a judge cut the amount to $15 million.Since Musk took over at Twitter, many formerly suspended accounts belonging to far-right users and white supremacists were reinstated and allowed back on the platform. Shortly after Musk’s acquisition, researchers discovered that the usage of racial slurs on Twitter were up as much as 500 percent. Musk also mocked the “Stay Woke” T-shirts printed up under former CEO Jack Dorsey’s reign in order to show the company’s support for Black Lives Matter. Musk’s actions have resulted in Twitter losing around half of its biggest advertisers. Although, with his most recent defense of Adams’ racism, it doesn’t seem to have deterred the billionaire’s behavior much.