(CNN) — Newspapers across the country dropped the “Dilbert” comic strip over the weekend after the creator of the satirical cartoon went on a racist tirade, calling Black Americans a “hate group” and suggesting that White people should “get the hell away” from them.
The USA Today Network, which operates hundreds of newspapers, said it had pulled the plug on the long-running comic strip. The Washington Post and The Plain Dealer also in Cleveland said they would no longer carry the comic.
The move came after Scott Adams, the cartoonist behind “Dilbert,” effectively encouraged segregation in a shocking rant on YouTube. His comments came in response to a poll from the conservative firm Rasmussen Reports that said 53% of Black Americans agreed with the statement, “It’s OK to be White.”
The Anti-Defamation League has noted that the phrase emerged on the infamous message board 4chan in 2017 as a trolling campaign and has a “long history” in the white supremacist movement.
“If nearly half of all Blacks are not OK with White people — according to this poll, not according to me, according to this poll — that’s a hate group,” Adams said Wednesday on his YouTube show “Real Coffee with Scott Adams.”
“I don’t want to have anything to do with them,” Adams added. “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 f**k away … because there is no fixing this.”
Adams has since said on Twitter that he was only “advising people to avoid hate” and suggested that the cancellation of his cartoon signals that free speech in America is under assault.
Andrews McMeel Syndication, the company that distributes “Dilbert,” did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.
The newspapers that have cut the comic strip have been clear with readers.
“Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip, went on a racist rant this week … and we will no longer carry his comic strip in The Plain Dealer,” wrote Chris Quinn, editor of the paper. “This is not a difficult decision.”
“We are not a home for those who espouse racism,” Quinn added. “We certainly do not want to provide them with financial support.”
Gannett, which publishes the USA Today Network of newspapers, tweeted that it aims to “lead with inclusion and strive to maintain a respectful and equitable environment for the diverse communities we serve nationwide.”
The Washington Post said it had also pulled the comic strip from the newspaper.
“In light of Scott Adams’s recent statements promoting segregation, The Washington Post has ceased publication of the Dilbert comic strip,” it said.