Elon Musk has accused the media of being racist against white and Asian people amid a backlash against a popular cartoon strip author who made discriminatory remarks about Black people.
Musk, the chief executive of Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX, made the comments on Sunday after a number of newspapers in the United States dropped the “Dilbert” comic strip following anti-Black comments by creator Scott Adams.
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“For a *very* long time, US media was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians,” Musk said on Twitter.
“Same thing happened with elite colleges & high schools in America. Maybe they can try not being racist.”
Musk made the comments in response to a Twitter user who accused the media of portraying Adams as a racist but not levelling similar accusations against Black Americans who said in a recent survey they did not agree with a statement asking if it is “OK to be white”.
Musk later tweeted his agreement with another user who said Adams’s comments “weren’t good” but US society had leaned into identity with “predictable results” and should return to colour-blindness around race.
Musk’s views on free speech, race and other contentious issues have been in the spotlight since the billionaire bought Twitter in October for $44bn.
Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter has relaxed moderation rules regarding hate speech and reinstated the accounts of far-right and other controversial figures, including neo-Nazis.
Musk, who has described himself as a free-speech absolutist, has pledged to encourage viewpoint diversity on Twitter and address the liberal bias he claims held sway under the platform’s previous management.
In an appearance on his YouTube show last week, Adams said that white Americans should “get the hell away from Black people” and it “makes no sense whatsoever as a white citizen of America to try to help Black citizens anymore”.
Adams, whose comic strip is widely syndicated in newspapers worldwide, also said he had moved to a primarily white neighbourhood to “escape”.
Adams made the remarks in response to a Rasmussen poll carried out earlier this month that found 26 percent of Black Americans did not agree with the statement “It’s OK to be white,” while 21 percent were “not sure”.
Overall, 72 percent of respondents, including 53 percent of Black people, agreed it was “OK to be white”, with just 12 percent of the general population disagreeing with the statement, according to Rasmussen.
The Washington Post, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and other US newspapers have dropped “Dilbert” in recent days in response to Adams’s comments.