'Dilbert' creator Scott Adams says he won't apologize for offending people with comments on race: 'No, because I did it intentionally'
In his first network TV interview since being kicked off the pages of hundreds of newspapers for comments widely perceived as racist, the creator and writer of the Dilbert comic strip declined to apologize.
"No, because I did it intentionally," Scott Adams told Chris Cuomo on Monday night's edition of NewsNation's Cuomo, after Cuomo asked whether he felt he owed people who were offended an apology. "I offended people so that they'd be drawn to the solution."
Adams repeated again and again that he'd meant to rile people up when he said on the Feb. 22 edition of the YouTube show Real Coffee With Scott Adams, while discussing a Rasmussen poll, that white people should "get the hell away from Black people" and called Black people a "hate group."
Within days, Adams's cartoon, which riffed on office culture before The Office or even the movie Office Space, was pulled. Dilbert had, at its peak, run in an estimated 2,000 newspapers worldwide, and the comic was spun off into books and other merch, a video game and even a TV series followed.
Adams told the Washington Post in a story published Monday that he'd lost 80 percent of his income as a result. He insisted then that he's against racism.
The latter is the same message that he brought to Cuomo's show.
Adams said only white people, specifically white liberals, are mad at him, and that Black people have been inviting him over for barbecues. They told him, he claimed, that they understood what he was doing.
During the time when viewers could call in, a woman who identified herself as a Black teacher and a longtime fan of Adams's comic strip called in to say that she had been hurt by his comments. She asked how she should explain this kind of rhetoric to her students.
"So here's the quick summary: I was concerned that there was a lot of anti-whiteness. I used some hyperbole, but my purpose was to teach them and anybody else who wants to listen the tools for success," advised Adams, whose books include Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter and Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America. He wanted her to urge her students to stop looking backwards and look forward.
"Tell your students that they have a perfect path to success as long as they get good grades," he said. "I'm assuming you're a good teacher and you have a good enough school that they can get a good education, and if they employ a strategy, and don't look backwards as a strategy, they'll do great. Now they'll still be way too much systemic racism, but you'll be able to just slice through it like it didn't exist."
Later, the interviewee asked that, if a Black man or woman had said what he said exactly or in reverse, did people think that person would be canceled.
"Everybody knows the answer is rhetorical," Adams said, laughing. "There's not a chance in the world they'd have been canceled. So I wanted as much free speech as Black America. I'm the only one who has it. I'm the only one in the whole — I wanna swear, but I won't — in the whole country who can say what I mean and have a productive conversation."
At the end of the interview, Cuomo asked Adams if he would do it again.
"Would I do it again to get to this place?" he answered. "I have to tell you I feel like I'm supposed to be here. It's a weird feeling. Like I never felt bad about being canceled, and I can't explain that, except that I feel like I was supposed to be here. I feel like the race relations in the country are so broken that you just have to stir up some crap to get anybody's attention and maybe convince them to look forward and maybe work together with people who have exactly the same goals."
He's announced that his most famous character's adventures will continue in Dilbert Reborn, on his subscription website beginning March 13.