Scott Adams, creator of the popular “Dilbert” cartoon, claimed in a tweet Sunday that his short-lived television series on UPN was canceled because he was white.
“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.),” Adams wrote in response to one of several replies to a 2017 tweet from The Hollywood Reporter that touted Lena Dunham for selling her show “Girls” to HBO with nothing but a “page-and-a-half-long pitch, without a character nor a plot” when she was 23.
Ahmed Best, who created, wrote, directed and produced his own TV show, “This Can’t Be My Life,” also responded the tweet about Dunham, suggesting that her white privilege may have helped her get a leg up over creators of color who rarely get so lucky.
“I have a masters degree in film and teach film at a top tier university, [and] 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,” Best wrote.
That’s when Adams decided to chime in. His claims that he was “discriminated against” drew heavy criticism, resulting in his name becoming a trending topic on Twitter Monday.
Requests for comment and clarification from Adams and his team were not answered. “Dilbert” ran for two seasons, from 1999-2000. UPN went off the air in 2006.
As one user pointed out, in the past, Adams blamed the show’s cancelation on low ratings and time slot changes.
“And it had nothing to do with the show being the second lowest rated show IN ALL OF TELEVISION that season? Nah … probably reverse racism,” the user continued.
Former “Daily Show” and “Tonight Show” writer Jason Ross also responded, writing, “That’s not ‘being white.’ That’s ‘making a bad TV show.’ Even black people lose their shows for that.”
Jesse McLaren, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama, tweeted a clip of “Dilbert” with the caption, “according to Scott Adams this show was cancelled because he’s white.”
As of Monday, Adams continued to respond to criticism in the thread of the original tweet, and to tweet separate comments alluding to his views on the subject.
“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,” he wrote, presumably referring to the negative response to his tweet from artists of color.
“The biggest difference in life outcomes is strategy. The smallest difference is skin color. Which one will be headline news again today?” he wrote in another tweet.
Read these and more responses to Adams’ tweets below.
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.)
— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) June 29, 2020
According to Scott Adams this show was cancelled because he's white. pic.twitter.com/v940rztFzH
— Jesse McLaren (@McJesse) June 29, 2020
Ah so? So … you were lying when you said this? pic.twitter.com/hGhvfnEDxS
— Robert Clarke-Chan (@999RPMs) June 29, 2020
That's not "being white." That's "making a bad TV show."
Even black people lose their shows for that.
— Jason Ross (@jasonjross) June 29, 2020