This is for when a character or group of characters intends to help another character or group of characters, but because of the circumstances, or because of what it seems like
, or the reputations of those who happen to be offering the help, the very characters they are trying to help mistake it for intent to cause harm.
Not to be confused with Stab the Scorpion
, as that's typically associated with giving the audience a misleading first impression as well.
is a subtrope.
- The Rescuers Down Under has Marahoute the eagle trapped under rope, and when Cody arrives to free her, and he takes out a knife, Marahoute seems to (temporarily) interpret this as an attempt to wound or kill her rather than to free her.
- Karate Kid 2 has Sato trapped under a long piece of wood during a storm, and when Miyagi walks over, Sato thinks the idea is to finish him off while he is trapped, only to find out that Miyaki just wanted to free Sato from the rubble.
- During Austin Powers in Goldmember, Austin returns to his hotel room to find Mini-Me grinning at him while holding up a letter opener. The audience knows that Mini-Me is here because he defected from Dr. Evil (the "help") and that he was just using the letter opener to open some mail, but Austin immediately reads it as an ambush (the "attack").
- In X3: Terran Conflict and X3: Albion Prelude, the player's space suit is equipped with a repair laser for patching up hull damage (otherwise you have to pay a shipyard to have it fixed, and that can be prohibitively expensive in the early game). Mechanically it works by going through shields and dealing negative hull damage. Thing is, the game still treats it as a weapon, so if you use it on ships you don't own they'll react as if they're being attacked, and Hilarity Ensues.
- In Battle Royale Hiroki tries to help save his crush, but the minute he approaches her in the game she shoots him down, mistaking it for attack.