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The tainted legacy of cancelled creators

By Andrew Duval Apr. 5, 2023

USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the Cleveland Plain Dealer are just a few newspapers in the nation that have made the executive decision to drop the comic strip “Dilbert” after the creator, Scott Adams, made several controversial comments that people are deeming prejudiced and racist.

Inseo Kim Art

Although the comic strip mainly focuses on satire and workplace comedy, during a live stream on Feb. 23, Adams made many white supremacist statements such as “the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people.” In his rant, Adams claimed that Black Americans are a hate group because a Rasmussen poll found that a significant portion of Black Americans did not agree with the statement “it’s okay to be white.” Previously, Adams had posted several YouTube videos that contained far-right political messages.

The Adams incident reflects how content and media are judged today based on the creator—a phenomenon that has become more prevalent in recent years as cancel culture becomes increasingly influential. When creators are deemed controversial, their work is often boycotted, and the dropping of the Dilbert comic is a stark example of content being negatively impacted due to the unrelated actions of its creator.

“While Adams’s statements are highly offensive, the comic strip should not suffer for the actions of its creator. So long as Adams’s views don’t affect the material of the comic, the comic’s publication should be held separate from Adams’s,” Freshman Saanvi Gunukula said.

Another example of content being judged based on its creator’s actions is the game Hogwarts Legacy, which fans have boycotted due to J.K. Rowling’s controversial views, as well as accusations of hidden anti-Semitic imagery. Although Rowling did not have a significant influence on the creation of the game, she owns the Wizarding World franchise's intellectual property, meaning she will receive much of the profit that the game makes. Rowling’s reputation took a plunge in the past years, with a stream of transphobia that dates back to 2014 as stated by Vox. Most recently, Rowling called trans people “violent, duplicitous rapists.” Despite the efforts of many fans to boycott Hogwarts Legacy, it has become one of the fastest-selling video games ever, nearing one billion dollars in sales. The game is yet to release on several platforms such as PS4 and Xbox One.

“I would not judge content significantly differently if its creator made statements I find offensive. Whenever I see the content, I might think of the statements that the creator made, but aside from that, I do not think how I view the content would be affected,” Freshman Advitha Patil said.

In the case of Dilbert, judging content by its creators has effectively erased a beloved comic, which goes to show that this kind of judgment can have a negative impact on art and culture. Nonetheless, in the age of cancel culture, many people support holding creators’ values as a standard for judgment of materials, reinforcing the cultural prevalence of the practice.


About the Contributors

Andrew Duval

staff writer

Andrew Duval is a freshman staff writer for The Charger Account. He spends his spare time surfing Wikipedia, reading, and editing videos.

Inseo Kim

staff writer

Inseo Kim is a junior who is currently working as an artist and a page editor for Feature World. In her free time, Inseo enjoys doodling and crocheting. She also has a mildly impressive collection of stickers that continues to grow but is rarely used.

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