Government Watch / Politics

The Woke Mob Comes for Comic Strips

AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Shirley


Amid Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter and renewed hope for protection of conservative voices on the platform, cartoonist Scott Adams has become a particularly prolific voice on the site poking fun at progressivism and the inanities of woke culture. Adams, who is best known for authoring the Dilbert comic series, which has appeared in thousands of newspapers worldwide since 1989, made headlines in late September when the strip was pulled from 77 papers throughout the United States following several cartoons in which took aim at so-called “environmental, social, and governance,” or ESG policies adopted by many American companies. Since then, Adams has continued to call out the mainstream media for effectively censoring any criticism of the left, while also exposing how news outlets work hand in glove with far-left politicians to push their agenda.

Adams developed the Dilbert comic while working his way up the corporate ladder in the emerging office culture of the 1980s. The humor of the strip – and its relatability – was derived from highlighting the tediousness of HR meetings, team-building exercises, and the general nonsense of the modern office workplace that millions of Americans have to deal with each day.

The comic quickly became a hit, and by 2016 it was running in more than 2,000 newspapers in almost 70 countries. The decline of newspaper readership around the globe saw the comic pulled from some markets, but Dilbert remained a familiar favorite for most American readers. Dilbert’s paperback compilations and Adams’s other books still have strong sales to this day.

Adams himself has said that he identifies with neither Republicans nor Democrats, but has proven to be an astute observer of American politics. In 2015, he predicted that Donald Trump would win the presidency and was highly critical of Hillary Clinton’s campaign strategy.

As Adams has explained, Dilbert was always meant to be a reflection and critique of office culture. That the comic strip has become more political in recent years is simply an echo of the fact that companies have intentionally infused more politics into the workplace. It wasn’t Adams who got more political, but the HR managers and woke executives who insisted that employees show their fealty to progressive values.

In a September 15 YouTube video, Adams announced that he would be taking a “hard run” at ESG, or the practice of companies using non-financial standards (like fighting “climate change” or meeting “diversity quotas”) to make financial decisions. ESG policies have, among other things, led investment banks to divest from fossil fuel companies and invest heavily in “green” energy, despite traditional oil and gas companies continuing to turn healthy profits and renewable energy companies still being highly volatile and risky.

ESG has come under fire from conservatives in recent months for violating shareholders’ interests, as companies which people entrust with their money to create maximum return on investment instead use those funds to advance a left-wing agenda. States like Missouri have withdrawn hundreds of millions of dollars from pension fund managers like BlackRock for investing retirement funds of public employees according to ESG principles rather than to make a profit and thus benefit the government employees.

Soon after his YouTube announcement, Adams began releasing a number of comic strips mocking the absurdities of ESG corporate culture. In one cartoon, Dilbert’s loyal talking dog, “Dogbert,” described ESG investing as “if a crooked politician and a crooked financial advisor got married and had a baby.” In another, Dilbert says that he plans to “balance out” opening a factory that adds CO2 to the atmosphere by adding more diversity to the company’s board.  

Just a few weeks later, Adams revealed that Dilbert had been removed from 77 newspapers across America, all operated by Lee Enterprises. Although the company said that it had canceled the comic strip because of “budget cuts,” Adams – and most clear-eyed Americans – weren’t buying it. Two days after the comic was removed, Adams sarcastically tweeted that “the timing of Dilbert getting canceled by 77 newspapers (one large chain) is probably a coincidence” alongside an image of a Bloomberg article titled “’Dilbert’ Becomes the Voice of ESG Opposition.”

Adams also pointed out that while Lee Enterprises canceled multiple comics, the decisions about which ones were cut and which remained were entirely subjective. Given the popularity and cultural relevance of Dilbert, it seems likely the move to oust Adams wasn’t just a “business decision.”

Despite the setback, however, Adams has refused to back down, and has become a constant critic of “cancel culture” and progressivism on social media. He has continued to release cartoons on his Twitter account, and hosts a daily live chat called “Coffee With Scott Adams.” However, Adams has said that expressing his views publicly has cost him, by his estimates, 30 percent of his income and 75 percent of his friendships.

From comedian Dave Chapelle to comic Scott Adams, the left has made clear that they are willing to use their activist base and every institutional lever of power they control to silence all opposition. Instead, however, the left has unintentionally re-affirmed the power of humor to tear down tyrants by exposing the fragility and absurdity of their own worldview.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.

We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...

Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.

Donate Now

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter
and Download the AMAC News App

Sign Up Today Download

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

Wonderful website. Plenty of helpful information here. 

2 months ago

I guess if this is happening to Scott Adams, I will have enemies everywhere.

2 months ago

What a bunch of whiny, illiterate asshats! Dilbert was dropped (along with a number of other comics) by a media company NONE of you clowns ever heard of before. But that decision is woke because…why? Oh yeah, because you #MAGATs are pussies.

2 months ago

Adams endorsed Clinton and Libertarian Gary Johnson before settling back in the Trump camp about a month before the election. He’s wherever he wants to be and always has been. His focus is on the absurdity of corporate culture and regular readers know he roasts the right as well as the left. Here, we have an anonymous writer screeding on this low-rent, trailer-park version of AARP, cherrypicking facts to fit his preordained conclusions. Dilbert would roast his ass, too.

2 months ago
Reply to  Danny

AMAC is better for America than AARP. It’s not low-rent trailer part like the one that endorsed Obamacare.

2 months ago

Hmmm. Now his website is down (for last 3 days).

2 months ago

So we should all buy his published books to support him and his losses, and not from Lee Enterprises. Whatever happened to free speech and press. He should Sue their asses!

2 months ago

Playbill announced that it will no longer use Twitter and urges everyone else to avoid Twitter.
Because Musk wants to open it up to free speech and no longer censor what is said. To Playbill opening up and allowing all points of view is wrong. Playbill will not sanction wrong ideas that could pollute the discussion.

Is that funny or what?

George Washington's Admirer
2 months ago

Note who is destroying democracy here? Note who is infusing fear to express one’s opinion? Notice the blanket of hesitancy; to have an opposite view. Notice the demonization of Conservatism. Notice the advancement of anathema. Notice who and what is destroying the First Amendment to the Constitution. America is being taught not to express their mind; (or, even to think independently.)

El Ey
1 month ago

And to add to your comment is the indoctrination of our children. Parents of young children please be involved in your children’s growing years 100%. They are the future and if we allow these liberals/progressives aggressively pushing their evil ideas, our country will be no more. May God forever bless our country.

2 months ago

We all need to follow Scott Adams example of patriotism. You may not be popular with some, but you will feel good about being an American Patriot. Do what’s right not what’s easy.

K. Martin
2 months ago

Good on Scott Adams! Now, does anyone know what happened to Sabo? He was (is?) the Los Angeles, California street artist that was so popular among conservatives a few years ago.

Craig Driver
2 months ago

WOKE culture is communism.

Philip Hammersley
2 months ago

DIMMS think (rarely!) that hate-speech is humor. Just look at their late-night “comedians.” They have no idea of what real humor is!

anna hubert
2 months ago

Humor reflects the society and often is the only way to fight back in the oppressive regime Dictators will not have it

Pete from St Pete
2 months ago

Self deprecating humor has long been a staple of comedians. Progressives have no sense of humor. Their idea of a good laugh is savagely attacking anyone who disagrees with them.

Nick Murphy
2 months ago

If you are subscribing to a newspaper that canceled Dilbert for making fun of ESG, cancel your subscription. Hit them in the wallet

2 months ago

If your so called friends left, they where not friends in the first place. Just goes to show some people do not want the freedom to speak.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x