Scott Adams, creator of the long-running comic book strip “Dilbert” received backlash on Twitter after saying his TV series based on the iconic office character was canceled because he was white.
The conversation started when Adams, 63, replied to actor and writer Ahmed Best’s tweet on Sunday night, during which he shared an article from The Hollywood Reporter published in 2017 with the caption, “@LenaDunham was 23 when she sold #Girls to HBO with a page-and-a-half-long pitch, without a character.”
Best retweeted the article and said, “I have a master’s degree in film and teach film at a top tier university, An over twenty-five-year professional career and I walk into pitches with a fully realized bible pilot and seven-season arc, and often times told it’s not enough. But Lena Dunham, cool.”
I have a masters degree in film and teach film at a top tier university, An over twenty five year professional career and I walk into pitches with a fully realized bible pilot and seven season arc, and often times told it’s not enough. But Lena Dunham, cool. https://t.co/E530jn5EJw
— Ahmed BEst (@ahmedbest) June 28, 2020
Adams then tweeted to Best, “I lost my TV show for being white when UPN decided it would focus on an African-American audience. That was the third job I lost for being white. The other two in corporate America. (They told me directly.)”
Comedian Laurie Kilmartin was one of the first people to respond to Adams’ statement. She tweeted directly at him saying, “Your writing on twitter is pretty bad, I can’t imagine it improves that much in Final Draft.” Filmmaker James Gunn tweeted, “I’m offended that Scott Adams seems to be using “white” as a euphemism for ‘not funny.'”
According to Scott Adams this show was cancelled because he's white. pic.twitter.com/v940rztFzH
— Jesse McLaren (@McJesse) June 29, 2020
TV writer Mike Drucker tweeted, “Hey, Scott. Just want to say I appreciate you taking out the time to angrily respond to every tweet about this thing that didn’t happen.” Writer Jason Ross tweeted, “That’s not “being white.” That’s “making a bad TV show. Even black people lose their shows for that.”
‘Dilbert’ Won an Emmy for ‘Outstanding Main Title Design’ & Despite the Comic’s Continued Success in Print, The Show was Canceled After 2 Seasons
Dilbert, the TV series, premiered on UPN on January 25, 1999, and was canceled after two seasons. During this time, the comic strip was running in 2,000 newspapers in 65 different countries. In 1995, it was the first comic to go digital at dilbert.com and became the most widely read syndicated comic on the Internet.
The animated series featured a star-studded cast of voice actors including Daniel Stern in the titular role, Chris Elliot as Dodgebert, Larry Miller as The Pointy-Haired Boss, Kathy Griffin as Alice, and Jason Alexander as Catbert. Adams told SF Gate that he chose to go with UPN as the show’s network because, “If we had gone with NBC, they would have given Dilbert a love interest with sexual tension.”
In a 2006 interview with Ground Report, Adams said that Dilbert was canceled due to poor management at the network.
He said, “It was on UPN, a network that few people watch. And because of some management screw-ups between the first and second seasons, the time slot kept changing and we lost our viewers. We were also scheduled to follow the worst TV show ever made: Shasta McNasty. On TV, your viewership is 75% determined by how many people watched the show before yours. That killed us.”
Adams Stood By His Statement & Defended Himself on Twitter With an Hour-Long Explanatory Video
Let’s talk about all the bad people and funny people https://t.co/TLS2ihkxLj
— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) June 29, 2020
Adams, the author of multiple New York Times bestselling books, put out a video statement on Monday saying, “f*** you,” to all the haters on the Intenet.
He said, “Sometimes I put a tweet out there, I’ll just put it out there and then say… that might come back to me.” He also discusses why he felt the need to share his controversial tweet response to Best. Adams said he was triggered to see Lena Dunham was trending because “black people don’t believe you deserve your success.”
Adams was not daunted by the onslaught of criticism he received on Twitter. He tweeted, “Next time someone asks you if black lives matter, I recommend this response: “Yes, and f*** you for asking. It shows you have doubts.”
I successfully stirred up a hornet's nest of unsuccessful artists. They don't know they are part of the show. Don't tell them.
— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) June 29, 2020