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Musk defends ‘Dilbert’ creator, says media is ‘racist against whites’

Feb. 26, 2023 Updated Sun., Feb. 26, 2023 at 9:03 p.m.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk speaks during a T-Mobile and SpaceX joint event on Aug. 25 in Boca Chica Beach, Texas.  (Michael Gonzalez)
SpaceX founder Elon Musk speaks during a T-Mobile and SpaceX joint event on Aug. 25 in Boca Chica Beach, Texas. (Michael Gonzalez)
By Will Oremus Washington Post

Twitter and Tesla chief Elon Musk defended Scott Adams, the under-fire creator of “Dilbert,” in a series of tweets Sunday morning, blasting media organizations for dropping his comic strip after Adams said that white people should “get the hell away from Black people.”

Replying to tweets about the controversy, Musk said it is actually the media that is “racist against whites & Asians.” He offered no criticism of Adams’s comments, in which the cartoonist called Black people a “hate group” and said, “I don’t want to have anything to do with them.”

Musk previously tweeted, then later deleted, a reply to Adams’s tweet about media outlets pulling his comic strip, in which Musk asked, “What exactly are they complaining about?”

The billionaire’s comments continue a pattern of Musk expressing more concern about the “free speech” of people who make racist or anti-Semitic comments than about the comments themselves. Musk’s views on race have been the subject of scrutiny both at Twitter, where he has reinstated far-right accounts, including those of neo-Nazis and others previously banned for hate speech, and at Tesla, which has been the subject of multiple lawsuits alleging a culture of rampant racism and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Musk did not immediately reply to an email Sunday morning requesting comment.

The Spokesman-Review is among newspapers around the country, including the Washington Post, that dropped Adams’ “Dilbert” strip in recent days in the wake of an episode of his YouTube show that aired Wednesday. In that video, Adams expressed outrage at a Rasmussen poll that found 26% of Black Americans disagreed with the statement “It’s okay to be white,” compared with 12% of the general population. Another 21% of Black respondents said they were “not sure” about the statement.

The controversy over the statement may be explained in part by the fact that it originated as part of an online trolling campaign by the alt-right and was subsequently embraced by white supremacists, according to the Anti-Defamation League. But Adams suggested it proves that Black Americans hate whites.

“If nearly half of all Blacks are not okay with white people … that’s a hate group,” Adams said. “I don’t want to have anything to do with them. 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 … because there is no fixing this.”

Musk in the past has decried what he calls a “woke mind virus.” In November, he posted a tweet in which he appeared to mock T-shirts created years earlier by a group of Black Twitter employees that he said stemmed from the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri., after the fatal shooting by police of a Black teen, Michael Brown. Musk said that the slogan “Hands up don’t shoot” was “made up” and that “the whole thing was a fiction,” in a tweet he later deleted.

Since taking over Twitter in October, Musk has softened its policies against hate speech and scaled back the company’s content moderation efforts at a time of drastic cutbacks in its workforce.

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