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"In a good story, we're angry at the villain. In a bad story, we're angry at the creators!"

In TV shows or other works produced by a team of people, or where a Long Runner has a long succession of different creators, the fandom or part of it sometimes decides to hate one individual creator to an unhinged degree and blame him or her for everything that ever went wrong with the work. Often, the alleged flaws in the person's run/episodes are more generally present in the work as a whole, or habitual to the genre. Still, it is easier to focus the rage upon a single entity, than to admit to that.

Often the result of actual or perceived taking sides in a Broken Base situation. Frequently the result of perceived responsibility for a Dork Age or Canon Dis Continuity. Can happen when a person becomes a lightning rod for general Fan Disillusionment, resulting in them being Mis Blamed.

Of course, if you set yourself up as the public face concerning a work, franchise or even a particular decision, you have to expect this to come with the territory. And if you've made a habit of deliberately needling fans in other areas, it is not wise to expect much charity from them.

Contrast Protection From Editors and Creator Worship.

No Real Life Examples, Please

Examples of Scapegoat Creator include:


  • An odd example is Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, with the husband and wife team of director Mitsuo Fukuda and head script writer Chiaki Morosawa. They are responsible for some of the problems that afflicted the series; rather infamously, late in the show's run an animator blogged about Morosawa's perpetual tardiness with the scripts forcing them to add lots of Padding. However, the fandom tends to exaggerate this wildly, and gladly parrots off a number of unflattering and never confirmed rumors on request ("Fukuda hates America because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki"; "Cagalli got demoted to extra because Morosawa hates her voice actress personally", etc) and even invent whole supposed Morosawa "interviews" to make her look even worse. All this is on top of the accusation that Kira Yamato and Lacus Clyne are their Mary Sue Author Avatars, used to explain why they always win and look good doing so (The fact that Rie Tanaka said that Lacus is a difficult role for her in an interview certainly didn't help matters.) This led to people mock the actual reason behind Morosawa's tardiness: her horrible health, which ultimately killed her. And then, they mocked her demise.
  • Much like the Fukuda/Morisawa case above, Chiaki Kon is respnsible for most of the problems that plagued the anime adaptions of Higurashi and Umineko no Naku Koro ni (so much so that the original writer had to step on board and supervise the second season of the former). But that doesn't stop the fans of the Sound Novels for portraying her in the most negative light possible and some even take the blame also on Studio DEEN as well, never mind the studio only produces the anime of the 2 adaptations.
  • Many Bleach fans hold Kubo Tite responsible for the anime fillers (and for the anime in general, including openings/endings), despite the fact that he has nothing to do with the anime aside of sometimes designing characters for fillers. Probably because he's said he's "more involved" with the anime than normal mangakas. But that doesn't mean he has to be much more involved.
  • For that matter, similar to the Bleach example, manga authors are often credited with/blamed for anything that happens to the animated version of their work. Yes, some like Kubo Tite actually do have involvement with the anime, but sometimes, they're often blamed for parts of the anime that they don't have any control over, especially fillers and pacing.
  • Shoji Kawamori is a very strange example: around the time Macross Frontier was airing, quotes and interviews popped up that annoyed fans so much it started the meme "Kawamori trolled my fandom!" Then it turned out that he never actually said any of those things, because they were fiction made up by a disgruntled member of the fandom. This doesn't stop people from treating Kawamori like mocking the fandom is his one true love.
  • To this day, many Utena fans still treat Chiho Saito like the devil for one comment in 2001 about how making Utena/Anthy explicitly romantic would make for a "joyless series", as well as bashing her for the manga adaptation being a more straightforward shoujo than the deconstructive Mind Screw the anime was.

Card Games

  • While Richard Garfield is largely exempt (he even had a card made of him with the art portraying him as Jesus) from the RAGE of the Unpleasable Fanbase, the current head designer of Magic: The Gathering Mark Rosewater is often blamed for breaking the game's balance.
    • This is especially funny because he's only the lead designer, not the lead of all of R. And while design tries to get in the general area, it's really development's job to hone the balance to just right.

Comic Books

  • Ron Marz reportedly received death threats from Green Lantern fans upset about the Emerald Twilight storyline (which had the hero going through a Face Heel Turn, massacring most of the secondary characters and then being killed off). This was especially unfair since Marz had the plot imposed on him by more senior writers. Marz himself has since gone on the record saying it was something he did for pay, and was rather glad when much of Emerald Twilight was retconned. Also, it was Gerard Jones who came up with the original concept for Emerald Twilight.
  • Dan Didio, DC Comics editor-in-chief, gets huge amounts of flack for any unpopular turn any DC title takes. While the man has made more than his share of editorial blunders, he gets the blame for just about everything, regardless of whether it was his idea, another exec's, or the writer's, or whether it was something that happened before he came to DC. His antagonistic statements to fans don't help.
    • And now that he's been bumped up to co-publisher, it's likely he'll get a lot more Mis Blame (Bob Harras is now DC's editor-in-chief while Geoff Johns is Chief Creative Officer).
  • And it's pretty much the same as Joe Quesada. Again, he did do some really bad stuff, just that many other things are the fault of others like Miller and Bendis. His antagonistic statements to fans don't help either.
  • ~Dwayne McDuffie~ during his run on Justice League of America. Fans would blame McDuffie for every change that happened in the series, such as John Stewart's inclusion over fan favorite Hal Jordan. In response to these complaints, McDuffie started a question and answer thread on message boards, where he would answer fans' questions. It was here that he revealed a lot of roster changes were the result of Editorial Interference. Though, after all his comments were compiled, DC Staff were not happy and he was promptly taken off the title.
    • What's especially odd is that he got the job after doing so well on the cartoon, but not allowed to do much in the comic. Neither fans nor staff forgave him for this.
  • Ken Penders for fans of the Sonic the Hedgehog comics. Whether it was for the much disputed events of Endgame, the Dork Age that some plagued the comic, or his later attempt to sue Archie for ownership of the characters he created despite them being derivative of Sega's creations, he attracts a lot of vitriol in the fandom. This tends to overshadow his contributions which were once widely appreciated by the fandom and still have an impact on the book today.


  • Steve Kloves, the screenwriter of all the Harry Potter movies (except the fifth), gets blamed for deviating from the books too much. This is despite earlier drafts of scripts being rather more faithful to the books than what appeared on screen, indicating other things at work.
  • Despite the many, many times that he's apologized and felt shame for what he did, Joel Schumacher's name is synonymous to Satan in the ears of many Batman fans. Most of the blame can be given to the executives for trying to shove product placement into the movie, and Akiva Goldsman for creating the blizzard of puns that Mr. Freeze spouted.
    • Joel Schumacher has also stated that the Batman films were so heavily storyboarded before hand that his creativity as a director was limited.
    • George Clooney has also apologized for his part in it, though he was really only doing what he was told.
    • Schumacher also gets most of the blame from fans who didn't like the Phantom of the Opera movie. Or he shares it with Andrew Lloyd Webber, depending on who you talk to.
  • A more general example is how whenever a movie is considered bad, the first target for criticism is always the director, even though hundreds of people work on any given movie. Combine that with the prominence of Executive Meddling from the higher-ups, and you start to feel sorry for them.
    • Although given how many directors have promoted the 'auteur theory' (in basic terms, the idea that the director is the primary or even sole guiding force for the movie's creative vision, regardless of how many people may have been involved in it's production), this could be considered a case of bringing it on themselves. You can see why this theory is promoted, as it's very flattering to a director's ego; they get to be considered the revolutionary genius with a unique creative vision, regardless of how many people may have contributed to either and may be getting stiffed on the credit in the process. But that's only if the movie works, however; if it bombs then according to this same theory it logically stands to reason that the creative failure of the movie was the director's fault, and thanks to this theory there's no one else they can hide behind; they're the sole creative guiding force, after all.
  • Then, of course, there's George Lucas, who has ruined Star Wars FOREVER every day since the 1990s and twice on Sundays. Undoubtedly, this is due to his taking the stance that any unpopular changes to the trilogy are specifically consistent with his original vision, leading many to assume he has a hand in unpopular spin-offs he had nothing to do with, besides cashing the checks. It got so bad that by 2015, Lucas retired from making Star Wars films, sadly noting that the fans had taken all of the fun out of it.
    • In any film where he and Steven Spielberg collaborate, he takes blame for whatever people didn't like about it far more than Spielberg does. In the DVD extras on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Spielberg himself seems to throw a little blame Lucas' way. ("I really don't want to do a movie about aliens, George, I already did two. So he says all right, and comes back, 'Okay, now they're not aliens.' Great! 'They're interdimensional beings." *Spielberg Facepalm*)
    • And just to add to the pile, Lucas generally gets the blame for ending the "New Hollywood" of daring, auteur driven films with his crappy little sci-fi megahit among film snobs. Somehow those arguments tend not to bring up Spielberg, who pioneered the summer blockbuster, or right around when Star Wars came out, the directors that defined the '70s weren't exactly hitting critical home runs.
    • In the Disney era, both J.J. Abrams (for It's the Same, Now It Sucks) and Rian Johnson (for They Changed It, Now It Sucks) have taken severe flack for their creative decisions. Kathleen Kennedy is also quite a popular target as many accuse her for being responsible of a perceived over-saturation of women and minorities in the era of the Sequel Trilogy.
  • Tim Burton received flak from Alice in Wonderland fans over the 2010 movie's script. However, Burton is merely the director. In no way was he involved with the writing of the script, merely the direction of it. What makes this ridiculous is that the film was produced by one of the companies most notorious for Executive Meddling, yet most people assume it's all Burton. Except for his fans. But fans are naturally stupid, don't you know.
  • Brett Ratner picks up a lot of hate from fans of the X-Men for his role in directing X-Men: The Last Stand. Said fans tend to ignore the fact that Ratner joined the film's production at a relatively late stage (replacing Matthew Vaughn, who had been attached to direct for most of the film's development phase), thus minimizing the amount of creative input he could have possibly had to the movie.
  • Catherine Hardwicke got this on the first Twilight film, though most of the film's problems were beyond her control (such as the writing and the lack of a budget to work with). She was later fired by the studio after signing on for the sequel because she asked for a higher budget.
  • Pretty much anyone (not just the Fan Dumb) who didn't like the live action Transformers films will heap most if not all of the blame on director Michael Bay, to the extent that the series was nicknamed "Bayformers" by its detractors. This is particularly unjustified in the case of ROTF, where a lot of issues completely beyond Bay's control (such as a writer's strike) played a significant role in the end result.
  • Jean Pierre Jeunet on Alien Resurrection. He was brought in late into a troubled production and ended up being thrown under the bus by Fox for the film's failure despite most of the film's problems being the fault of either the studio or the screenwriters. The experience caused Jeunet to swear off Hollywood, and he hasn't returned since.
  • David Fincher suffered this on Alien 3. From what is known about what happened, Fincher was brought in late to the production (after several directors and writers, including Renny Harlin and Vincent Ward, left the production due to creative differences). Fincher had to contend with overzealous studio executives who attempted to tell him what and what not to shoot, very little room to alter the script (which was several different drafts bashed together into a vaguely coherent narrative) - which in turn forced him to continually rewrite pages to match already-shot footage, reshoots and the experience of being locked out of the 20th Century Fox editing room during post-production. Almost 20 years later, you can still find fans who lay the entire blame of the film's aesthetic and plot on Fincher - who, at the very least, did what he could to try and salvage the film. An interview with Fincher in the early 00's had him explain that he would have started entirely from scratch if he had his way.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron was subjected to a lot of Executive Meddling that led to slashed roles for some Avengers, often hit pause on the plot for Foreshadowing, was hit by a case of Real Life Writes the Plot when Scarlett Johansson's pregnancy limited the amount of physical scenes she could be in, could not feature Jane Foster due to Natalie Portman's Creator Backlash from Thor: The Dark World along with Gwyneth Paltrow's (Pepper Potts) contract not having been renewed at the time. As far as the audiences, mainly the fangirls, were concerned, all of this was Joss Whedon's personal fault. Those last three even resulted in large scale accusations of misogyny against him, compounded by the initial lack of Black Widow action figures in the movie's tie-in toyline.[1]
    • Avengers: Endgame released to rave reviews but after the hype died down, people began taking a much more critical view of it, attacking the Russo Brothers for anything that they didn't like in the Grand Finale of the Infinity Saga.
  • John Lasseter and Ed Catmull have fell into this among some Pixar fans and especially Disney Animated Canon fans sometime after The Princess and the Frog was released. For example, they received a ton of flack for changing Rapunzel‍'‍s title into Tangled, canceling the production of Newt, ordering up sequels to previous Pixar films like Cars and Monsters, Inc., putting any fairy tale projects in development at Disney on hold, and changed the hand-drawn project The Snow Queen into a CGI film titled Frozen.
  • This phenomena, a lot like what happens in Real Life, is lampshaded in A Bug's Life

Hopper: "First rule of leadership: Everything is your fault."



  • In Star Wars, R.A. Salvatore got criticisms up to and including death threats for writing the death of Chewbacca, even though it was collectively agreed upon by the higher ups that someone had to die to establish that Anyone Can Die in New Jedi Order, and GL did not expressly tell them not to kill him. One can only imagine what would have happened had the higher ups been allowed to kill off their first (tentative) target, Luke Skywalker. This was reportedly nixed by George Lucas himself.
  • Among parts of the Warrior Cats Fan Dumb, Victoria Holmes gets blamed for everything that they think is wrong with the series. Insults range from calling her sexist, insulting almost every word that comes out of her mouth, and the most mindboggling of them all: Fans claiming that she steals all the credit from the other authors, despite the fact that they think she deserves to receive all the blame.
    • Their hatred of her is even more confusing since she is responsible for all the concepts and ideas behind the series, which the fans love, as well as the plotting and creating the characters. Kate and Cherith, on the other hand, are responsible for the actual writing of the books, which is generally agreed upon to be So Okay It's Average.

Live Action TV

  • A large portion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fandom, long after the series' conclusion in 2003, can still be guaranteed to meltdown at the name of Marti Noxon, whom they believe personally ensured that Season Six sucked. David Fury and Steven DeKnight sometimes also get this, although in their cases it's more down to off-screen interactions with fans that went bad.
  • The fandoms of iCarly and Victorious, the shippers in particular, have a large amount of contempt for their creator, Dan Schneider, blaming him for any Seasonal Rot, the Fan-Preferred Couples not being made canon, the perceived Spotlight-Stealing Squad tendencies of some characters, really just anything that mildly disagreed with what the fans thought the shows should be like.
  • For different factions of Doctor Who fans, either John Nathan-Turner, Eric Saward, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy or Bonnie Langford are personally responsible for everything that went wrong with the show in the later 1980s, up to and including the cancellation in 1989. In the new series, certain old school fans believe that Russell T. Davies personally planned his every sentence to defecate on their cornflakes (despite the fact there wouldn't be a new series without him).
    • The John Nathan-Turner example is particularly odd, as he was producer for a whole decade and there are nearly no fans who hate every single episode of that time. Amazingly, though, they find weird ways to argue JNT only had significant influence on the episodes they didn't like. Stuff like "Oh, for the first couple of years he was finding his feet and had a lot of help. For the last couple of years he'd given up and Andrew Cartmel did all the work." It's all a little far-fetched.
    • Some of the 'blame JN-T / Colin Baker for everything' stems from an interview Eric Saward gave to a fanzine in 1986, in which among other comments he basically called Nathan-Turner a complete incompetent and outright said that he thought Colin Baker was terrible in the role of the Doctor and should never have been cast. Fans were quick to use this as evidence that Nathan-Turner and Baker were complete incompetents who were deliberately ruining the show, apparently not stopping to consider that not only were Saward's actions incredibly unprofessional but that, as script editor, he had his own axes to grind and responsibilities for what was going on behind the scenes, both of which were curiously downplayed.
    • Naturally, when Steven Moffat took over, the official role of "Doctor Who Chief Scapegoat" passed to him. As well as the old-school types who blamed Russell T. Davies for absolutely everything bad ever, they were joined by a certain subset of hardcore RTD fans who seem to feel that he utterly destroying everything that RTD worked for and planned every single change he made to what went before to destroy the show and spite them personally.
      • The biggest example of this occurred in the 50th anniversary when the Ninth Doctor or any of his predecessors did not return for the special. The Moff originally wrote "The Day of the Doctor" with the Ninth Doctor as the one who ended the Time War. Christopher Eccleston, politely but firmly, made clear he had no intention of returning to the show and the BBC wouldn't let Moffat draft in a classic Doctor for fear of turning off younger audiences, resulting in the creation of John Hurt's War Doctor. As far the Moff's haters are concerned, Steven Moffat, the man who overworked himself trying to bring back old Doctors, is a hack who had no respect for anything in the classic era or the phenomenal acting talent of Christopher Eccleston that brought the show back from its hiatus.
    • And of course when the Moff left and Chris Chibnall took over, well you can see where this is going. Everything Chibnall wrote is clearly meant to destroy the show, the era of Steven Moffat in particular, entirely and leave it a hollowed out shell of itself.
  • A sizeable proportion of Star Trek fandom hates and despises Rick Berman and Brannon Braga. They are referred to jointly as "Bermaga", and if it weren't for the Fan Dumb throwing a hissy fit over the the new movie being in a new continuity, you might have been able to hear the squeals of joy that those two weren't involved in the movie in any way shape or form.
    • Oddly enough, the Berman-hating fandom didn't say a thing when Berman quit as head of Star Trek, about a year after Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled. You'd think there'd have been jubilation and dancing in the streets, such was the strength of the Berman-hate, but in fact almost nobody even noticed that he'd gone. As late as eighteen months later, elements of the Fan Dumb could still be found here and there on the internet complaining about how Rick Berman was in the process of killing Star Trek.
    • And now JJ Abrams is getting the same kind of crap from the Fan Dumb over the new movie
    • You forgot Ronald Moore. The guy's done Battlestar Galactica and The Dead Zone and still gets called a hack.
    • Some people hate Ira Steven Behr for taking a franchise about exploration and science fiction and turning it into a space soap opera.
    • Fred Freiberger inherited Star Trek: The Original Series from Gene Roddenberry for its 1968-1969 season. Yes, season three, which OPENED with "Spock's Brain" and later gave us "Plato's Stepchildren". This was also the season in which their per-episode budget was cut by (approximately) sixty thousand dollars, several of the original writers had left, and the show was moved to Friday night at 10. There was no fourth season. Freiberger was quoted in an interview in the mid-nineties that to the effect that he'd spent three years in a German POW camp during WW II, but that his time with Star Trek was well into its third decade, since many fans of the original series have continued to blame him for the show's cancellation.
    • Gene Roddenberry has been spared this, though his passing may have something to do with that. The two areas he had the most control of post-TOS were the first movie and the first season of Next Generation, and they are reviled by most fans. Yet most Trek fans seem to mostly forgive him for these (at least compared to what many Star Wars fans think of George Lucas).
  • Of both Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, Joe Mallozi and Paul Mullie have fallen into this too, even so far as fans looking down on an episode just because they wrote it.
  • Jim Mallon came in for a lot of this during Mystery Science Theater 3000's run, getting a reputation as a tyrannical producer who had personal issues with just about every cast member, resulting in each cast member being fired. It seems slightly more plausible when you consider that Mallon himself was the longest running original cast member, not relinquishing the role of Gypsy until mid-way through the eighth season... But when you consider that people accused him of firing Joel Hodgson, it seems a little silly — Hodgson created the show, confessed shortly before his departure that he was getting a little bored with it, and agreed to come back for a cameo appearance in the final season.
  • Doug Naylor gets bashed to no end for series VII and VIII of Red Dwarf, which were written after the splitting-apart of his writing partnership with Rob Grant and were not as well received as the previous six series. The lazy assumption is that Rob Grant was the source of all the best and most sophisticated humour and stories, while Doug Naylor was a lowbrow drooling dead weight leeching off Grant's success. Honestly, one has to assume they've never read Grant's Red Dwarf novel "Backwards", which contains more gross-out humour than all of Series VII and VIII combined.
    • A rather more charitable — if still probably somewhat simplistic — interpretation is that Grant was responsible for more of the 'comedy' aspect of the series whereas Naylor focussed more on the 'science fiction'. It's notable that these seasons (and season seven especially) tend to focus more on the science fiction concepts than the humour.
    • Alternatively, it could just be that they work better as a team than apart; it's worth noting that Grant's post-Red Dwarf CV, while more varied and somewhat better received, hasn't exactly set the world on fire either.
  • Ryan Murphy, one of the three creators/writers for Glee. To be fair, he arguably screws up the worst and he's appears to play Lying Creator the most.
    • Not helping is the fact that if an artist turns down having a song on "Glee" for whatever reason, Murphy tends to...overreact somewhat.
  • For fans of Power Rangers everything that went wrong between SPD and Jungle Fury can be blamed on Executive Producer Bruce Kalish. It didn't help his case that immediately after he left the show RPM was made which became an instant fan favorite.
    • Also not helping Kalish was an interview conducted early on into his taking over the reigns of the show. He actually did what was noted above: he made himself the face of the season (in this case, SPD). SPD is generally considered a Base Breaker season, so the critics latched onto his earlier statement when expressing their displeasure. As he has admitted, Kalish also hurt himself by not watching any of the preceding twelve seasons when he took over (though that was reportedly later rectified) and being under the misconception that he was supposed to outright translate (rather than adapt) Super Sentai.
      • Kalish is slowly getting vindicated due though thanks to the revelations of Disney's growing disillusionment with the franchise that led to the episode count and funding cuts and its near-cancellations and the fact his cut and paste tenure's looking more and more ambitious compared to the watered down translation Power Rangers Samurai. And Jonathan Tzachor was a base breaker in the first Saban Era...
  • Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, creators of How I Met Your Mother, got positively vilified by fans for the general shittiness of season 5, especially for breaking up the Barney/Robin pairing. This despite the fact that no one with even a modicum of perspective and understanding of how TV works should be able to realize there is no way in hell CBS would have ever actually allowed Barney Stinson to stay in a relationship, because that would mean no more jokes about his womanizing and over-the-top behavior. Yes, Barney had received a great deal of Character Development in season 4 that made the return to his previous behavior nonsensical, but when has that ever stopped network execs in the history of television?

Newspaper Comics

  • The For Better or For Worse "newruns." Creator Lynn Johnston had wanted to retire for real, but the syndicate, not wanting to risk losing a slot on the funny pages to another syndicate's strip, decided to put the strip in reruns, with various things updated for the times. However, the retconning that's been going on in these strips is definitely Johnston's own writing.

Professional Wrestling

  • Professional Wrestling has Vince Russo. Although a lot of his ideas (especially in 2000 in WCW) were mind-breakingly bizarre, anything that is even remotely wrong in TNA is blamed exclusively on him (when he's arguably the sanest of the writers there).
    • Likewise, Vince McMahon tends to get blamed for everything in WWE, as if he's the one who handles everything.
      • Given Vince's reputation for nepotism and micromanagement, the fandom may have a point here.

Tabletop Games

  • Holden Lee Shearer or John Chambers of Exalted get blamed by various circles for various things. Usually it goes like this: if you hate John Chambers, you blame everything bad about Exalted on him and sing praises of Holden. If you don't like Holden, he gets blamed for ruining favorite topics.
    • Holden has effectively performed a bait-and-switch with collaborator and fellow Ink Monkey John Mørke, which makes it harder to criticize.
  • Mike Mearls of Dungeons and Dragons gets blamed for every decision that the fans, Fan Dumb, and Fan Haters do not like.
  • Matt Ward is generally blamed for ruining the Ultramarines for the fans, turning the Grey Knights into Purity Sues and making the Necrons into Space Egyptians, though he's likely not the only one to blame.

Video Games

  • Any poorly received game that is released on any console or format is automatically blamed on Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft, regardless of whether or not they had any say in the actual creation of the game beyond funding and maybe localizing it. Likewise, any game that they publish is considered their responsibility. This also happens with other companies that have been known to work with indie or second-party game developers like Square-Enix. To further confound the cycle of hatred and blame, Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft often get blamed for games that don't get released elsewhere in the world when it's not their doing. (However, they aren't entirely blameless in at least THAT regard)
  • Surprisingly inverted with Metroid: Other M. Some uninformed reviewers blamed Team Ninja for most of the game's controversial bits, when in reality, it was Yoshio Sakamoto, the series co-creator, who was responsible.
    • Also played straight with the same franchise and the same guy: because of the Broken Base that developed around Other M, people are now trying to retroactively label whatever troubles or continuity errors the Metroid Prime subseries experienced as Sakamoto attempting to "sabotage" the games for not fitting with his "vision". Sakamoto wasn't even involved with the Prime games (Retro Studios contacted him once in a while, and that's it). Further more, they have even tried to retroactively suggest that he has been killing the series as early as Super Metroid, widely considered the crown jewel of the franchise, as well try to deemphasize his actual involvement in any other Metroid game for fear that it might paint his career and abilities in a better light than they're willing to admit.
    • As of 2011, Team Ninja was really let off the hook by the fanbase after the head of Team Ninja (Yosuke Hayashi) said his hands were tied by Sakamoto's control of the project and that he, himself, was a life long Metroid fan. Then when the 25th anniversary came and neither Nintendo or Sakamoto did anything about it, Hayashi and Jessica Martin (Samus's VA) both recorded personal messages of congratulations for the series. In addition, Martin, who's acting was controversial at the time, became an active member of the fandom, even recording a Happy New Years message for the 10/11 New Years to the fandom at the height of the backlash to her acting, really led to fans warming up to her. Those two things combined really forced the inversion of this trope on it's head and got it all redirected back towards Sakamoto, creating the Broken Base as seen above.
  • An arrant case is the hatred towards Square-Enix over the Lufia remake. The fact that Neverland is developing the game seems to go unheard of to must fans, who somehow believe the same team that's working on Kingdom Hearts or Final Fantasy XIII are working on Lufia...
  • The Hate Dumb of Pokémon would have you believe that Shigeru Miyamoto personally designs every single Pokémon and creates every single game - no mention of Game Freak, the company that DEVELOPS the games. He helped produce the Generation I games and was a friend and mentor of the actual creator Satoshi Tajiri, (a name that most people outside of the Pokemon fandom probably don't seem to recognize) but that was back in the nineties.
    • Nintendo also gets yelled at for not having [Insert Game here] on the Wii's Virtual Console, despite the fact that the submission is the original publishers' decision and permission. Nintendo merely licenses more games than it actually publishes and develops.
      • And not everyone seems to know that sometimes the publishers aren't actually still around. And sometimes, if they are, they may not always be second or third-party. (Sony and Rare, for example.)
    • And back to Nintendo again, there are people who believe the company consists solely of Shigeru Miyamoto and nobody else.
  • Electronic Arts...just Electronic Arts. If you want to be a game developer, it's pretty much a safe bet that you should work for Electronic Arts or get them to publish you; that way, any criticisms with your game will be treated like it was all EA's doing, even if their involvement in the game was limited to financial support and marketing at best.
    • This isn't to say they are never responsible. Sometimes they screw up marketing. "Brutal Legend" is a perfect example. It was supposed to be an RTS, but EA marketed it as a straight up action game. The game did horribly and EA blamed everything on "Double Fine", the company that developed the game, nearly causing them to go out business.
  • Statesman, also known as Jack Emmert, former lead designer of City of Heroes, is pretty much the de facto hate target for anything anyone dislikes (power changes, necessary or not, game direction, AT design, you name it) until roughly Issue 13, even after Issue 7 when he stepped down to focus on other things. To this day, he still is reviled, and his habit of being blunt to the point of club didn't help things any.
    • This perception of him hasn't improved since he started work on another superhero MMO, Champions Online, which intends to compete with City of Heroes. Especially as many of the design details revealed so far indicate that he's ready to make many of the same mistakes all over again.
    • Castle is rapidly becoming the new Hate Target for the playerbase, being the guy who works on (and consequently sometimes makes downward changes to) Powers. Keep in mind that eventually, pure distilled Fan Dumb drove the previous powers guy away from the forums, and Castle is trying really hard not to let that happen to him.
    • And now, the trope has come full circle - Matt Miller, AKA Positron, is now being blamed for everything bad about the game.
    • MMORPG lead devs in general are likely to end up targets of this. It's perhaps for this reason that the lead developer of Clichequest, the fictional MMO in The Noob, is portrayed as a Ted Baxter, Jerkass and Pointy-Haired Boss.
    • Speaking of which, Jack Emmert has teamed up with Bill Roper of Hellgate London infamy for a double dose of extra Fan Dumb for Star Trek Online.
  • Reggie Fils-Aimé, president of Nintendo of America, tends to get a lot of (mostly) undeserved flack from the Earthbound community, many of whom seem to have decided that he's the sole obstacle to an English release of Mother 3.
    • Some fans also claim that he was actively trying to prevent Xenoblade, The Last Story, and Pandoras Tower (the "Operation Rainfall games) from reaching North America. Just look at the comments made on Nintendo World Report's news page about The Last Story being published by XSEED for a North American release... Some fans take it even further, and claim that it's all Reggie's fault that there weren't a lot of games released for the Wii last year, despite the fact that NOA doesn't make the games.
  • Not one of the more high-profile examples, but there are those who blame any bad bit of level design in Doom II on Sandy Petersen. He also worked on quite a bit of the original Doom, but that game is generally more highly revered than its sequel.
  • Yoshinori Ono and Street Fighter. Fans got angry when he revealed that not only was Street Fighter IV a prequel, but that none of the beloved Street Fighter III characters would be appearing in it.
    • IV was a prequel because all three versions of III failed massively financially, and back in 1997-2000 SF fans wouldn't touch the series with a ten foot pole because it didn't play like more familiar titles such as Super Turbo and Alpha. The game didn't find its audience until almost ten years later, when fighting game styles had grown more diverse and the game was released on systems with more mass appeal (and was later emulated and distributed on PC.)
    • And Super Street Fighter IV has characters from III in it, so...
  • The title of scapegoat for World of Warcraft seems to change every expansion. In the first few years, people generally blamed developers Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan and Alex "Furor" Afrasiabi for any and all of the game's shortcomings. In the Burning Crusade era, this title shifted to Tom "Kalgan" Chilton. Since the release of Wrath of the Lich King, however, players have been calling for Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street's head whenever they're particularly unhappy.
    • Pretty much solely due to the now-famous "To the ground!" nerf of Retribution Paladins. Oddly enough, Ghostcrawler's existence has rather neatly bisected the community between those that dislike him for nerfing/ruining their favourite class and those that appreciate that at least one member of the development team is supportive enough to at least publicly inform them that their favourite class will be Nerfed/ruined beforehand. That, and he is funny, which in itself is a dividing factor ("OMG be serious!"/"Hahah, cool.").
    • Way back in WOW classic, Eyonix was the laison between the shaman community and developers. Just after promising that shamans were to be reviewed and have some problems fixed, he was laid up in the hospital for weeks. Lacking his input, the developers didn't make the promised changes. He came back to the forums to face a metric ton of hostility, including a wish for him to be hit by a bus. This inspired a "Bus Shock" meme, based on the shaman's fire/frost/earth shock spells.
    • A good potion of the fanbase will blame every misstep on Chris Metzen, the Vice President of Creative Development, even when it's obviously outside of his department.
  • And nowadays, almost everyone's pointing fingers at Activision for stuff Blizzard does. DPS Being "Dumbed down" in World of Warcraft by making Intellect function the same way as Strength and Agility, meaning Mages will actually look at it when determining their gear? Activision's fault! Never mind that even before the merge people were screaming for that.
    • Nevermind, either, that Activision-Blizzard is still essentially two distinct entities that are united on paper for record-keeping purposes. Neither group is in charge of the other, and both operate independently. The most that they share besides a letterhead is likely a pool of playtesters and artists.
    • And likewise, Diablo III's "Always online". look at all the comments and you'll see "It's Activision's fault." No, that was Blizzard's choice.
  • Most people who voice disappointment at later Final Fantasy games tend to heap their scorn on Tetsuya Nomura, despite the fact that Nomura was only the character designer for most of these games and not the director. And even then, he wasn't the sole artist, or even the art director for these games that he's credited with directing. They will even blame him for games he wasn't even involved in, such as Final Fantasy XII.
    • This is probably because of at least one interview in which Nomura himself claimed responsibility for a huge array of overall design decisions in the Final Fantasy series, despite many of them being nothing to do with character design (and almost certainly nothing to do with him). Scapegoating from within the company, perhaps?
    • The same thing happens with the Kingdom Hearts series (though there he is at least the director), and some of the Hate Dumb even seems to claim he does the art for Dragon Quest. Chew on that for a little while.
    • This especially got bad for people saying Final Fantasy XIII was a "Nomura game" when his involvement was drawing pictures of the characters. He did not direct it, he was not even the sole artist for the even says so RIGHT THERE IN THE OPENING CREDITS WITHIN THE FIRST TEN MINUTES OF GAMEPLAY. When you're talking about XIII, at least mention the game he's actually directing. (Eg, Final Fantasy Versus XIII)
  • The Final Fantasy XI community tends to blame all problems with the game on global online producer Sage Sundi due to him being the target of most interviews about the game. The truth is that the reason interviews are so uninformative is more due to Executive Meddling from the higher-ups. Sundi does know about the problems with the game and has tried to get them fixed but for the most part, the devs don't listen to him.
    • Similarly, everything wrong with Final Fantasy XIV is Hiromichi Tanaka's fault, despite who's really responsible for any of the game's many troubles between the executives, the developers, and sheer misfortune being very muddy indeed. This is somewhat understandable given Tanaka volunteered to take responsibility for all of the game's problems (his fault or otherwise) when he stepped down as producer.. except he still sometimes gets loudly and enthusiastically blamed by the community for issues introduced since Naoki Yoshida replaced him.
  • John Romero gets a lot of flak for his blunders with Daikatana, many of them justified, but a lot of the level design's failures can instead be attributed to the head level designer... Romero's wife.
    • Not to mention the people calling him some sort of egotist for the tag line "John Romero Is About to Make You His Bitch", even though that and the general exaggeration of his involvement/how much he did was more marketing than anything else.
    • All of this culminating in a ridiculous event where ex-Romero fans rallied behind Ion Storm's marketing director for insulting him over the phone in an over the top way...even though the marketing director was one of the people responsible for running Ion Storm into the ground and putting the game into Development Hell.
  • You know the 2008 Prince of Persia? If you're one of the fifty percent that didn't like it, odds are you blame or know people who blame Ben Mattes for this. For most true PoP fans Ben Mattes has been a curse to the franchise ever since he came in with The Two Thrones, and built fan expectations for the 2008 game just so he could crush them with the actual product. The kicker? He's the producer!
  • Yuji Naka may be responsible for a number of Sonic the Hedgehog quality issues, but he'll even get blamed for games he was clearly never involved in. Especially since he hasn't been at Sonic Team since 2006, but takes undeserved flack for Sonic Unleashed.
  • Natsume is often blamed for every bad thing in the Harvest Moon franchise. While their localizations do tend to have glitches the originals don't, features are sometimes taken out, they Bowdlerise, and their translations are far from perfect.. They do not make the games. Marvelous does, and even then they began with the Game Boy Advance (before it was in the hands of Pack-In-Video and later Victor Interactive Software; the latter which was eventually acquired by Marvelous).
  • LJN Toys is blamed on the games they published, even though Rare made them.
  • David Gaider is this to certain portions of the Dragon Age fandom, mostly because he is the most well known person involved with the franchise (having written the accompanying books and well as writing for the games). Despite the fact that he is a writer, he will often be blamed for programming mistakes and blamed for characters that he didn't write. When fans aren't blaming him for every fault in the story anyway.
  • Insomniac Games have been blamed for Spyro Enter the Dragonfly even though they had nothing to do with it or any of the following Spyro games.
  • Fire Emblem:

Western Animation

  • John Kricfalusi is widely blamed for the failures of The Ripping Friends and Ren and Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon--ignoring that the former show suffered from horrific meddling (which included throwing out all of the custom poses that Spumco is known for), and the latter show was pushed to be Darker and Edgier due to Spike TV wanting it to be another money maker along the lines of South Park.
  • Showrunner Mike Scully is usually blamed for The Simpsons‍'‍ nadir in quality and characterization in seasons 9-12. Of course, the fans have been saying the most recent season is the worst ever more or less since the series began (Comic Book Guy's catchphrase "worst episode ever" was coined in relation to The Simpsons in response to a fourth season episode, the fourth season now being considered to be something of a Golden Age). Also, the last episode he wrote was "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation" - which first aired in 2002.
    • Creator Matt Groening also gets a big heap of blame from unhappy fans. The primary complaint is that he should have ended the show years ago. But Matt was complaining as early as season 5 that how long The Simpsons continues is totally out of his hands. He doesn't have the power to end the show and never did. That's Fox's call. He instead went on to create Futurama and be heaped with praised for taking a more hands-on approach.
    • Current showrunner Al Jean gets a lot of blame for the latest quality drop, especially considering the fact that he has been the showrunner for over seven years, far longer than anyone else, not to mention that Al Jean was, with then partner Mike Reiss, showrunner on Seasons 3 and 4, as well as some episodes produced on the side for Season 6 when they did The Critic and Seasons 8 & 9 when they did Teen Angel for Disney. Jean decided to return to The Simpsons in Season 10 when he felt he wanted to return to the show, and Reiss has since returned to The Simpsons as a co-producer.
  • Transformers: Beast Machines head writer Bob Skir is generally blamed for not doing much to make the series a continuation of Beast Wars, even though then Mainframe Entertainment president Dan Didio (yes, THAT Dan Didio) told him not to watch Beast Wars before becoming involved. His strong online presence at the time backlashed (in part thanks to the jerkass admin of his message board) into him getting most of the blame, while his writing partner Marty Isenberg, who kept a low profile, was spared most of the flak (and went on to be the head writer for Transformers Animated).
  • Seth MacFarlane is mistakingly thought to be responsible for everything and anything wrong with the Uncanceled Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show. Everything good is someone else's work. Fans of American Dad! in particular seem to believe the show is superior and that this is because Seth has checked out of it. His power over all three shows is equal.
    • You know "Not All Dogs go to Heaven"? The one that's most criticized here for being an Author Tract for Macfarlane? Yeah, he neither wrote nor directed that episode. Same with the second-most-criticized episode, Road to the Multiverse. Both episodes were directed by Greg Colton, and the writers of "Heaven" and "Multiverse" were then showrunner Danny Smith and Wellesley Wild, respectively.
    • Whether or not he's credited as writing or directing an individual episode isn't as important as one might think. As the executive producer, he oversees the creation of the scripts and approves them before they enter into production, sometimes rewriting them. That said, the original writer(s) tend to escape any blame in favor of targeting Seth.
    • He is very frequently Mis Blamed for the chicken fights and repeated callbacks. Per DVD Commentary, he's not a big fan of either and must be convinced by the rest of the writing staff that those jokes should go in to a given episode.
    • He even gets blamed for FOX's cash-grab DVD releases. Which is totally within his control and has never been mocked or bitched about on the show itself at all.
  • Don Bluth has often been blamed for allowing several of his movies to have been made into sequels. While Fievel Goes West is sometimes considered watchable (Partly due to Nostalgia reasons), all the other stuff, especially Secret of NIMH 2, is sometimes blamed on him. Other than Bartok the Magnificent, Don Bluth had very little to do with any of these sequels. (Despite that, interestingly, he said that if he would direct a sequel for Secret of NIMH, he listed a few ideas that were present in the sequel, but flipped around, ie, he wanted Timothy to be the villain and Martin to be the protagonist.)
    • Of course, some of the films he was responsible were almost as bad, so it's not surprising that people would be unable to tell the bad writing from the other bad writing.
      • Though in those cases, there's a lot of Executive Meddling, so it's still played straight.
  • "The Mysterious Mare Do-Well", a major Base Breaker episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, induced so many Periphery Demographic fans to rant against its credited writer, Merriwether Williams, that the lead moderator of Equestria Daily, the fandom's major news and fanwork blog, had to tell the fans to cut it out. Never mind the huge chain of people from executive producer Lauren Faust down to each individual writer and animator who are actually responsible for each episode.
  • Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim dos Santos have been this for quite some time among much of the Voltron: Legendary Defender fandom, but especially after the final season dropped. Fans who were displeased with the ending (particularly the shippers) went nuts demonizing the pair, twisting their words after both post-series interviews to mean the worst possible thing, trying to get them fired from directing the next Spider-Man installment, and going so far as to claim the two were responsible for fans committing or attempting suicide! Of course these fans offered no actual proof of this, only counted on their fellow fans being gullible and upset enough to take them at face value and spread the word.
  • The vast majority of the Danny Phantom fanbase has nothing but disdain for the show's creator Butch Hartman. While there is some leg for this to stand on; Hartman took on a much more prominent writing role in Season 3, leading to a very noticeable Denser and Wackier Seasonal Rot; most fans seem to conveniently forget that the prior two Darker and Edgier seasons had failed to pull sustainable viewing figures or reach mass-market appeal (even as they were the figurines for Burger King's kids' meals) and blame Hartman for driving the show into the ground when Nickelodeon had already decided it was non-viable and had pulled the plug, being contractually obligated to let Season 3 air.
  1. They were barred because Isaac Perlmutter felt the superhero market was more for boys and a female action figure wouldn't sell
  2. whether they were his numbers or Lucas' is open for debate as movie novelizations supposedly have closer consultations with Lucas