Following a nearly hour-long interview with beleaguered Dilbert creator Scott Adams on Monday night, NewsNation anchor Chris Cuomo suggested the pro-Trump cartoonist shouldn’t be canceled for the racism scandal that’s derailed his career.
“He’s not David Duke,” Cuomo said Monday evening.
Late last month, Adams suddenly came under fire after he went on a lengthy racist rant that included him telling white people to “get the fuck away” from Black people. Referencing a conservative poll that found 53 percent of Black people agreed with the phrase “it’s okay to be white”—a trollish “hate slogan” with roots in white supremacy—Adams labeled African-Americans a “hate group” and claimed it “makes no sense to help Black Americans if you’re white.”
Since then, hundreds of newspapers have dropped his long-running comic strip, and Adams was dumped by both his comic distributor and book publisher. Despite that, the 65-year-old author has continued to double down on his remarks, lamenting his “cancellation” while insisting that what he said “was the opposite of racism, but also racism.”
He’s also asserted that there is “no disagreement about my point of view” and “everyone agreed” with his tirade. (The comic strip artist has long considered himself a “persuasion” expert.)
During his primetime interview with Cuomo, which ran nearly the entire length of the program, Adams claimed with a straight face that “Black America is actually completely fine” with his rant and have reached out to tell him so.
“Black people are contacting me and saying, ‘Come over to the barbecue, let’s talk,’ and all these things,” he declared.
While stating that his comments were “taken out of context,” Adams contradicted himself by also admitting that he “intentionally courted controversy” and he launched his rant in an effort to “attract attention so that I could have a productive argument.” Furthermore, he refused to apologize for the outburst.
“I offended people so that they would be drawn to the solution,” Adams said.
Handing off his broadcast to fellow NewsNation host Dan Abrams, Cuomo maintained that the Dilbert artist doesn’t “believe” that “white people shouldn’t live near Black people” since his “work is very clear.” Instead, Cuomo claimed that Adams was merely making his comments “for effect” even though he knew they were hurtful because “he believed they would work for him.”
Cuomo added: “I just don’t know why a guy that smart would get the same opportunity to talk about the solution when he was exacerbating the problem.”
Abrams, for his part, noted that “there’s no defending him” while pointing out the blaring contradictions in Adams’ dual arguments that he was taken out of context but that he also intentionally made those remarks to spark a debate.
“I’m so desperate for the conversation,” Cuomo reacted. “I think that there’s such weaponizing of the division that it’s so easy to cancel him. But all it does is feed the people out there who are selling the same thing.”
After Abrams wondered what the solution was, Cuomo repeated that “conversation” was the answer before insisting that Adams isn’t as insidious as a former Ku Klux Klan leader.
“Because he’s not David Duke. David Duke doesn’t get airtime,” the former CNN anchor proclaimed.
“I’m not challenging you having him on the show,” Abrams responded. “I’m challenging, now, you think that all those places that said we don’t want to have anything to do with him should reinstate him?”
Cuomo, meanwhile, said that if it were up to him, he “would” reverse the cancellations of his comic strips and books.
When pressed on Adams saying he fired off his racist rant on purpose, Cuomo also wondered whether it was even necessary for the cartoonist to apologize. “Apologizing is a sign of weakness these days,” Cuomo stated.
Cuomo, of course, was on the receiving end of a very public cancellation not too long ago. In late 2021, he was fired from his primetime gig at CNN over his involvement in his ex-governor brother’s battled against sexual harassment allegations. The one-time Cuomo Prime Time host was “livid” at the time of his termination and later sued CNN for $125 million over his lost salary.
Since landing a new hosting slot at NewsNation, Cuomo has publicly bemoaned his “embarrassing” ratings on the fledgling cable news network, which have regularly trailed little-watched right-wing network Newsmax.
The former CNN star, perhaps in an effort to generate controversy and buzz, has also been open to platforming and boosting disgraced stars on his show. Besides regularly featuring Bill O’Reilly, who was booted from Fox News in 2017 over sexual misconduct allegations, Cuomo also brought on Kanye West during the rap superstar’s antisemitic tirade.