Dilbert creator Scott Adams is coming under fire in the wake of the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting in California, with critics assailing a tweet that appeared to be using the tragedy to promote an app he created.
The cartoonist and vocal supporter of Donald Trump took to Twitter in the immediate wake of the mass shooting and told those who witnessed the shooting to access WhenHub, an app he co-founded that compiles and presents information. The tweet was met with immediate backlash, with many calling out Adams for trying to use the mass shooting to promote his own company.
“Grifting ghoulishly, or ghoulishly grifting, amirite?” one person wrote under his Twitter post.
Others noted that police in California had said the shooting was still active at the time Adams published his post, with victims being taken to hospitals at a time when he was encouraging them to download his app.
“So instead of calling the police or fleeing during a still ACTIVE shooting you propose they download your app (thus clogging network and other people’s legit needs to contact rescue), go through some name your price exercise, and then wait for ZERO news folks taking them up?” another commenter added.
As Adams explained in a blog on the company’s website, WhenHub is a way to create interactive displays that tell stories. Users can share these visualizations on social media or on the company’s website. The company posts tweets promoting it as a way for members of the media to connect with self-professed experts on various topics, including bagpipes and HVAC.
Dilbert guy Scott Adams is using the garlic festival shooting to direct market mass shooting survivors (at a time when public info on this was that the shooter was still at large) on his app pic.twitter.com/9EgGfSGkuz— LVL 45 CHAOS POTUS (@thetomzone) July 29, 2019
After first gaining fame as the creator of the office culture critiquing comic strip Dilbert, Adams has earned a reputation for being among the most vocal and dedicated supporters of Donald Trump, often finding controversy because of it. As Bloomberg reported in 2017, Adams coined the term “three-dimensional chess” to describe what he sees as Trump’s long-term strategic plans. Adams would frequently claim on his blog that Trump’s controversial or divisive statements fell into this planning, earning him mockery of those who claimed that Trump was simply impulsive.
But even Twitter users supporting Trump called out Adams for his tweet using the Gilroy shooting to promote his app, including some who said they were unfollowing the Dilbert creator.
Adams appeared to respond to the controversy on Twitter, adding a comment explaining that his app is a news-gathering tool, “like CNN or FoxNews.”
“No fake outrage necessary,” he wrote.