The “Dilbert” comic strip named after its title character struggling to make it up the corporate ladder and often pokes fun at office culture with satirical humor and social commentary has been canceled in nearly 80 markets, its author told Fox News.
Scott Adams, who has written and illustrated the popular comic since 1989, said Lee Enterprises stopped printing it this week. The media company owns nearly 100 newspapers throughout the United States.
“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,” he told Fox News.
Fox News has reached out to Lee Enterprises.
Adams noted that other comic strips were also permanently canceled but the decisions on which ones to get rid of were made individually.
“Dilbert” appears in thousands of newspapers across 57 counties in 19 languages, according to Adams’ website. The comic strip has been one of the most popular for many years and more than 20 million “Dilbert”-themed books and calendars have been printed.
In recent years, Adams has poked fun at themes related to the workplace, most recently Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues and the introduction of a new character named “Dave,” who is Black but identifies as White.
Dave, who is named after Adams’ brother, is a prankster who likes to mess with the boss, who is happy he has met his diversity quota, Adams said of the cartoon.
“All of the wokeness and anything that permeated from ESG… so that stuff made its way into the business world, and then it became proper content for Dilbert,” Adams said. “The problem is that people see that even though it’s a workplace-related joke, but it’s more about how they implement it.”
He said some newspapers voiced concerns after receiving complaints about the content, but he was not sure if that had anything to do with the removal of “Dilbert.”
In Tuesday’s strip, the supervisor is seen explaining to Dave how to increase the company’s ESG rating.
“Dave, I need to boost our company’s ESG rating, so I’m promoting you to be our CTO. I know you identify as White, so that won’t help our ESG scores, but would it be too much trouble to identify as gay?” his boss asks.
“Depends on how hard you want me to see it,” Dave responds.
“Just wear better shirts,” the supervisor replies.
“What I do is I talk about how the employees handle the situation. It’s not about the goal of it. But that’s enough to make people think that I must be taking sides politically,” he said.
Overall, the cancelation has dealt him a financial blow, Adams said.
“It’s substantial,” he said.