->''"Wow! Free burgers for everyone? Even the poor? That would be a very kind thing for them to do. And they're apparently the villains for some reason."''
-->-- '''Linkara''', ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall''

A villainous antagonist is a common driving force behind conflict in stories, so it makes natural sense to write one in. But villainy requires performing ''villainous acts''; a villain who doesn't really act on those is difficult to root against.

The result is a character who is treated as a bad guy by the principal characters, despite never actually doing anything as to justify that amount of hate. They might even be sympathetic by virtue of their social position. [[StrawmanHasAPoint Any astute arguments and observations]] by this character are to be dismissed by the audience, because they are Evil[[TradeSnark ™]].

Naturally, this can boomerang back onto the protagonist: in-story, a DesignatedHero is regarded as 'good' despite having no significant virtues. Conversely, ProtagonistCenteredMorality isn't a case of a having weaksauce villains; it's a personification of being an ass for its own sake, and being lauded for it.

Please note that TropesAreNotBad, as this can sometimes be done on purpose to add more shades of grey to a story, or to show that the heroes are not completely perfect. (See HeroAntagonist.) Keep in mind that antagonists and villains are ''very'' different things.

Not to be confused with UnintentionallySympathetic, which is where a villain ''does'' do bad things but gets audience sympathy despite this, or OffstageVillainy, which is where the bad guy did bad things... but not on screen.

Compare and contrast RootingForTheEmpire, PokeThePoodle (this trope PlayedForLaughs), VillainBallMagnet, HateSink, InformedWrongness, FelonyMisdemeanor, and VillainyFreeVillain.

(As an aside, it’s worth noting the origin of the word ‘villain’. It comes from ''villein''. The villeins were pretty much the lowest of the low in feudal Europe. The scum of the earth. The serfs. Peasants, tied to the land. ([[TorchesAndPitchforks And they were in the majority.]]) In effect, this trope is OlderThanFeudalism: the oppressed and persecuted were often depicted as baser and nastier than anyone else and were held to a higher moral standard.)

[[noreallife]]
----
!!Examples:

[[index]]
* DesignatedVillain/LiveActionTV
[[/index]]

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Sio is this in ''Anime/AfroSamurai: Resurrection''. Let's overlook what she does to Afro directly. Name one thing that Sio does to earn her the InformedAttribute of wickedness given to her by Professor Dharman (Go on, we'll wait)? Afro Samurai runs on GreyAndGrayMorality anyway, however, given all of the heinous things that Afro does in his quest for revenge, and how Sio wound up the way she did, it's hard to say that anything she does to Afro in particular makes her evil. Hell, she lied about torturing Afro's father: she doesn't even keep her word when she's talking about hurting people she hates. That said, the runner up for evil things that Sio did in the story is her sexually humiliating an evil person who wanted to be sexually humiliated. This is really a victimless crime any way it's viewed. She can't even get WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds status, because she doesn't perpetrate villainy against anyone other than Afro. Sio is such a designated villain, that in any other story (or if the screentime focused on her more than Afro), she could arguably be an anti-hero.
* Dinosaur Ryuzaki (Rex Raptor) from ''Manga/YuGiOh'' is more of a "villain by proxy", as his best friend is the downright rotten Insector Haga (Weevil Underwood). He is shown helping Jonouchi (Joey) on occasion, and is more just a jerk than an actual villain, but ends up selling his soul for power in the Doma arc anyway.
* Gauche and Droite (Nistro and Dextra) from ''Anime/YuGiOhZexal'' debut as villains because they want to expel Tokunosuke (Flip) from the World Duel Carnival tournament. Why did they want to expel Tokunosuke from the tournament? Because he was swindling people out of their Heart Pieces. He was breaking the rules of the tournament and directly screwing over other people. Even if the punishment (confiscating his deck and expelling him from the WDC for life) was pretty excessive, Gauche and Droite were just doing their jobs. Even though the moral of the franchise has been that CheatersNeverProsper since day one, we're expected to root for Yuma when he comes to Tokunosuke's defense, because he's Yuma's friend (and even [[{{Jerkass}} that's a pretty dubious title]]).
* King Gurumes, the villain of the first ''Manga/DragonBall'' movie. He ruled his land with tyranny because he became addicted to blood rubies. So Goku and his friends try to stop the evil king from gathering the Dragon Balls and making his "terrible wish" of wishing himself free of the blood ruby hunger... ''which would solve the problem itself!''
** Averted in the Japanese version, where he wanted to [[VillainousGlutton wish for finer foods]].
* Donan Cassim in ''Anime/FangOfTheSunDougram''. Sure, the reason why he's so determined to keep the colony planet a part of the Earth Federation is that he wants to use the manpower and technology to develop two nearby mineral-rich planets and save an exhausted Earth, but he's still evil. At some point, [[spoiler:the authors realized that he's a little too sympathetic and installed his aide as the BigBad instead]].
* Luc displays an odd case of this in the ''SuikodenIII'' Manga, where he goes to considerable effort to hide the fact that he's trying to save the world (through mass genocide, but still). When the hero finds this out, he even rants about not needing sympathy for his actions. He was a {{Jerkass}} even when he was a good guy.
** He got his PoorCommunicationKills from his mentor, who when he ASKED if there was any way to save everyone without killing everyone, just looked at him and was silent. Lady Leknaat MIGHT have realized the comedy of errors in the ending, when she asked the world to forgive them all.
* Clair Leonelli in ''Anime/HeatGuyJ''. First, he starts off as [[KickTheDog a puppy-kicker]] with JokerImmunity, then [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse inexplicably disappears for a while.]] Then, when he comes back still holding the VillainBall, another Designated Villain grabs the VillainBall, and Clair goes into an AngstComa. When he comes out of the coma, he has a HeelFaceTurn and is now an AntiHero, and the ''real'' BigBad (whom we, until a few episodes ago, thought was Clair) [[TheReveal reveals himself]]. In the manga, he belongs in the first category above; all he does is KickTheDog [[ForTheLulz for the sake of kicking the dog]].
* ''Anime/StarDriver'' has a bit of this. Yes, the Glittering Crux Brigade kidnapped the maiden to allow them to summon giants to Earth for some reason that probably involves fighting, since we never see anything else happen, but when they aren't wearing their masks, they're pretty nice guys. Even the leader of Adult Bank, President, who is a schoolgirl wife who kisses men other than her husband through the glass because her husband is never around - Openly! Like, ''in class''! - only has a massive boat to live in, not because she's uber rich and spoiled, but because she's pretty sure that [[spoiler: volcanoes will explode when they succeed, and wants to evacuate everyone off the island, so no one dies]]. After asking why else she would possibly have such a thing, both of her subordinates - who give her drinks and massages whenever she wants - simply stare at her, bewildered. [[spoiler:The only true villain in the series turns out to be Head who was manipulating the rest of Glittering Crux from the very beginning.]]
* A common complaint about ''LightNovel/CrestOfTheStars'' is that the United Humankind Alliance is this, as the author is [[RootingForTheEmpire blatantly favoring]] TheEmpire of [[RecycledINSPACE Space]] [[CantArgueWithElves Elves]] that tricks or conquers through military force any human world it encounters in order to strip them of any capacities for interstellar travel that are not dependent on the Abh to run them. GreyAndGrayMorality is involved (the United Humankind Alliance, whilst it does only accept worlds that request to join, is a lot more politically/culturally meddlesome than the Abh), the Abh are still pretty obviously {{Designated Hero}}es.
* Invoked in ''Anime/{{Ratman}}'' in that Hero and Villain are official designations in the society. The Protagonist/Hero is made into a villain due to a XanatosGambit and is forced to work for a villain group. So he's only a villain due to red tape.
* Humanity itself is eventually portrayed this way in ''Anime/BlueGender'', where [[GaiasVengeance the Earth itself]] is spawning the Blue, horrific monsters, for the sole purpose of killing all humanity for daring to develop technology that elevated humans above the natural order. The humans who try and flee Earth to settle on more hospitable planets elsewhere in the galaxy are portrayed as the worst of the worst.
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'':
** Ash is banned from Erika's gym and later kicked out and ostracized by his companions and the entirety of Celadon City [[DisproportionateRetribution just for insulting Erika's perfume.]]
** The anime series not only does this to Medlock, but [[spoiler: creates a character for this: Max Hawkins. He actually turns out to be a decent person once we get to know him, but he ''was'' badly broken in the past and thus he can't forgive Archibald Craven for his BreakTheCutie experiences]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Thanks to the crossover comic storyline ''ComicBook/AvengersVsXMen'', ComicBook/{{Cyclops}} is seated as one of the most hated "Villains" in-universe, the problem with this, other then the very idea of Cyclops going from X-Men's JerkWithAHeartOfGold leader to a Villain, is that he [[spoiler: killed Xavier]] while being controlled by the Dark Phoenix. No one in-universe brings up the fact that he was under the powers of a force strong enough to defeat Galactus in favor of just being a dick to him. This includes Wolverine, a guy who killed a certain other X-Men (Northstar) while being brainwashed. Before anyone asks, yes, Wolverine is being a Hypocrite to Cyclops in front of Northstar (DeathIsCheap).
** A minor example sees Hellion punished by Cyclops for killing Karima. Even though she was attacking Utopia, there was absolutely ''no one else'' able to stop her from killing everyone there, and the ''entire crux'' of Cyclops's side during the Schism was that the kids needed to be trained to fight and defend themselves. He ends up being shipped off to Wolverine at the Jean Grey School, who goes so far as ''locking him up'' despite Logan having done far, ''far'' worse himself and been forgiven for it. Yet pretty much every book Hellion appeared in at the time attempted to drive home just how horrible and wrong his actions were.
* Numerous antagonists in the ''Comicbook/ChickTracts''. One example is Rev. Westhall, the title character in "Reverend Wonderful," who is a bad, bad man for... being a Christian pastor who nevertheless advocates brotherhood between the different religions.
* God from ''Comicbook/{{Preacher}}''. The main characters have frequent discussions on how much of an asshole he is, but almost everything God does in the series is not only understandable, but justifiable. God ''does'' become genuinely villainous at Alamo when we learn [[spoiler:he started the war in Heaven and made Earth the way it was just to see who would love him]]. However he still counts as before this, the only thing he's really guilty of is inaction and yet the characters still talk about him like he's awful; long before that revelation.
* One ComicBook/LooneyTunes comic from TheNineties has Daffy and Bugs go on a luxury cruise ship. However, Daffy's luggage flies overboard and a puff of wind causes him to lose his ticket, and the captain forces him to spend the entire cruise slaving away to WorkOffTheDebt. Daffy begs Bugs to vouch for him, only for Bugs to pretend that he doesn't know him. At the end of the comic, once the cruise is over, Bugs tricks Daffy into signing a contract to work on the ship for two more weeks. Now, in most stories and cartoons, Daffy [[LaserGuidedKarma brings misfortune upon himself]] by acting like a jerk. What does he do to deserve his fate in this comic? Absolutely ''nothing''--it's just that [[ProtagonistCenteredMorality Bugs doesn't like his company,]] and deliberately ruins Daffy's cruise just so that he can enjoy its luxuries alone.
* The Sirens in ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFiendshipIsMagic''. The way the issue is told, they don't come off as much as a threat as the legends told in ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsRainbowRocks Rainbow Rocks]]'' implied. Particularly, their singing doesn't cause strife or arguing between other ponies, it makes ponies adore them, and it's implied the Sirens do this as a way to get fame and attention, not to purposefully create trouble. If any harm was caused, it was {{Offscreen|Villainy}}. Enter Star Swirl who, after repeatedly failing to best them in music to stop their spells, just banishes them to another world to get rid of them. At the very best it makes Star Swirl look like a petty jerk who hurled them into another world because he [[FelonyMisdemeanor lost a music contest]], and some fans go so far as to say ''Star Swirl'' is the villain of the comic and the Sirens were victims DrivenToVillainy after their banishment.
* John D. Rockerduck from the [[ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse Disney comics]] acts as TheRival to Scrooge [=McDuck=] and is typically depicted as a villain. Often, he shows his villainy by cheating or otherwise using underhanded tactics. However, in some stories (such as "Zio Paperone e lo slogan invincibile") he competes with Scrooge while doing nothing particularly villainous (or at least, no more than Scrooge himself does in the story), yet the audience is still supposed to cheer at him losing and getting humiliated at the end, simply because he happens to be in competition with the hero and is a villain "by default".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* ''FanFic/MyImmortal'':
** Anyone who opposed [[DesignatedHero Ebony]].
** Dumbledore is apparently a very mean and cruel teacher who tortures Ebony for being gothic. He was rightfully angered to see her ''having sex in the middle of the forest''. He laughed at Draco being kidnapped by Voldemort, but you have to admit, [[SoBadItsGood it was pretty hilarious.]]
** Britney is this and a ButtMonkey. Preps in general are treated as monsters, despite not even doing anything mean.
* Generally common in Literature/HarryPotter fics that try to portray Dumbledore as a cruel, manipulative man (as opposed to [[EccentricMentor the benevolent, manipulative man he is in canon]]). Often times, the author cannot be bothered to figure out what Dumbledore's big plan is, resulting in him coming across as manipulating the main characters purely for the sake of manipulating them. Or at least trying to, since, invariably, despite Harry having no clue of Dumbledore's malevolent intentions for however far into the series the fic takes place, he is suddenly painfully transparent and Harry or our new MarySue can avoid his manipulations with ease.
* Fan fics in general of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' seem to make ALL of the Uchiha Clan evil and jerkasses, simply because the readers dislike Sasuke - who, it should be remembered, had a seriously traumatic childhood and no less than three antagonists actively trying to corrupt him in various horrible ways since the age of 8, if not earlier, including assault, MindRape and torture; so its understandable if he's more than a little messed up, even if he is a villain. So they think Itachi was right to kill every single baby, non-ninja, or elderly member of the entire clan. Simply because one member is a bit of a {{Jerkass}}, his entire genetic family tree must be like this and deserves to be wiped out to make space for the [[TookALevelInBadass recently powered-up Naruto]].
** On the flipside we have ''Sinister Chakra'' where this is invoked so the reader is unsure of just who is evil. Akatsuki? Wanna change the world for the better with a newer system that '''currently''' works and is in place in Ame but lament they have to take over the world to do so. The biggest one being Madara: Sealed in Naruto with the Kyuubi but is okay with being absorbed but wants Naruto to go after Konoha for allowing a corrupt council to exist and nearly wipe out all of the clan Senju but 4 people. He generally helps Naruto but warns him not to be naive.
* Most of the antagonists in ''Fanfic/ChristianHumberReloaded''. If you're not familiar with the source material, they hardly seem evil compared to Vash, since apart from marshaling their forces to attack the good guys, their canon misdeeds are rarely described in detail. This especially goes for one group of "snobs" that Vash attacks, killing thousands and doing trillions of dollars worth of damage in the course of doing so. And while there is no apparent reason for this, they are apparently meant to be seen as evil enough to deserve it.
* ''FanFic/HowIBecameYours.'': Poor, poor Mai. True, she does one legitimately villainous thing, [[spoiler: killing Katara's baby through poisoned fruit]], but she is [[JerkassHasAPoint right]] when she hides Katara's letters and eventually confronts Zuko about them, and is truly sad when Zuko tells her that he never loved her. Then [[spoiler: Katara kills her. With ''bloodbending.'' In the middle of the day]].
* JDR's (Chatoyance) ''Fanfic/TheConversionBureau'' fanfics depict humans as evil in the extreme unless they convert, in which case they're simply 'misguided' beings who are being 'uplifted' into a supposedly better state of living. Any character who refuses to convert, and calls the ponies out on the genocide they are conducting is written as unsympathetic and beyond any kind of redemption on their own and must be forced to convert against their will. The catch is that ''humanity doesn't seem to have done anything villainous''.
* Most of the ''FanFic/ThePrayerWarriors'' villains are simply people who aren't Christian. Interestingly enough, Literature/{{Percy Jackson|and the Olympians}}, initially the main antagonist of ''The Evil Gods Part 1'', despite having supposedly done enough wrong to make him contemplate suicide, doesn't do anything actually evil until after he converts, at which point he [[MoralEventHorizon stones his half-brother Tyson to death for refusing to become a Christian]].
* Seeing it from her perspective, Yukari was seen as this to a mild extent during the events of [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9413166/1/Mine-newer-version Mine]] because she refused to give back Reimu once her duties as wet-nurse were exhausted, which were to be expected as she took care of her since birth, thus she's grown to be attached, seeing herself as a mother figure to "her little human child". Reimu can never forgive her birth-mother for "demonizing" Yukari. Unlike most examples, she is seen in a more sympathetic light, especially if you take into account that she is unable to bear children of their own and hasn't caused anyone any harm to warrant anyone's hostility, aside from refusing to give Reimu back to her mother initially once her deeds were exhausted.
** However, Amoridere swings between both Reimu's mother and Yukari as being designated villains, if either side is taken, as both are at fault.
* ComicBook/{{Cyclops}} in a large proportion of Franchise/XMen fanfictions, in these he is the villain for being the StopHavingFunGuy, which to be fair is sometimes necessary as a leader if you don't want your team to die horribly, a lot of the time even if he's had an IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy decision regarding Jean he'll be called out for attempting to move on, trying to stop new untrained students fighting in missions, which again could get them and all his friends killed, oh and the best of the lot, existing, often he will be maligned by characters even when his dialogue isn't filled with jerkassery, unless greetings are suddenly insults in these fics. The only way to reliably avoid these is to solely read fanfictions where he is part of a major pairing, which means tough luck if you're a fan of him and want to read about him being BadAss, because he suffers from severe {{Wimpification}} in these.
* The celebrities in the RealPersonFic, ''[[http://gungemaleceleb.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/story-global-gunger-part-1.html The Global Gunger]]'', who get punished by the titular DesignatedHero, Tony Stevens, because he’s stuck in a dead-end job, while they get to go off on holiday. Also because they’re cocky. [[InformedFlaw (Even though the narration never shows them acting even close to arrogant.)]] Therefore, we’re supposed to laugh at them, [[DesignatedHero and cheer on]] [[{{Jerkass}} Tony]] [[KarmaHoudini Stevens]], as he dishes out their [[DisproportionateRetribution ‘Just Desserts’]] upon them, turns them into laughingstocks, and [[spoiler: stranding one of them on a boat, completely messy, and alone]]. Instead, [[TheWoobie you just end up feeling sorry for them]], and want them to get their revenge on him.
* ''FanFic/SonicXDarkChaos'' ends up deconstructing this trope. Sonic and friends immediately turn on Maledict and consider him to be TheManBehindTheMan the moment he comes to Tsali's aid in Episode 63. It turns out they're right...but Maledict only manipulated everything to end the [[ForeverWar Eternal War]] and was (kinda) on Sonic's side the whole time.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Percy in ''Disney/{{Pocahontas}}'' is designated as a villain simply by being the pet of [[BigBad Ratcliffe]]. Although Ratcliffe is a [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain racist]], [[FinalSolution genocidal]] [[AxCrazy maniac]], Percy is actually a pretty decent dog. While aloof, he certainly isn't arrogant, and he doesn't attack anyone without any provocation. He just seems content with staying in the ship and enjoying his well-off, carefree life. Then, [[{{Jerkass}} Meeko]] bursts in and steals his food for no reason other than to be a {{Troll}}. And then it all goes downhill from there.
** Then it goes uphill. By the end of the movie, they've made up, and have even exchanged accessories. Their rivalry is kept strictly a friendly one in the sequel, with Flit as a third party keeping it under control.
* Vincent the bear in ''Film/OverTheHedge''. On screen, the only thing he does is make RJ replace the food that he lost because he was stealing it. He makes a monologue about a bunch of OffscreenVillainy, but without that, he's really just trying to survive.
** Inverted with Gladys Sharp and the Verminator. On the surface, they seem like the leader of a homeowner's association who just wants her town rid of bothersome pests and an exterminator [[JustFollowingOrders just doing his job]], if it weren't for the fact that she's clearly a pompous, arrogant control freak who willingly buys an illegal pest control device and demand that said pests by eliminated inhumanely as possible and he was someone who clearly enjoyed hunting down animals and setting up dangerous traps.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}} and the Vikings'', the villain has only one KickTheDog moment (against the wangsty and relatively unsympathetic Justforkix) but otherwise isn't particularly evil or villainous, his grand scheme simply being to outwit a bunch of dumb vikings. He's clearly more civilized and competent than his intended victims, who, true to viking tradition, attack a town in the opening scene and keep the skulls of their victims all over the place.
* Sid in ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory''. He is portrayed as a budding sociopath for his cruelty to toys, but he can't be faulted for the way he treats his toys, since he doesn't actually know that they're alive; the worst thing he actually knowingly does is pick on his younger sister. Amusingly, a few of Pixar's employees have said that they too used to mess with their toys, and jokingly called Andy "a freak" for treating his so nicely.
* Wreck-It Ralph, the (Designated) VillainProtagonist of ''Disney/WreckItRalph'', which invokes this trope InUniverse and [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructs it]]. His InUniverse backstory is that he lived in a forest that was cut down to build the Niceland Apartments, which leads to him wrecking up the place as the game's bad guy. However, his Designated Villain status carries over to when the game characters are [[AnimatedActors off the clock]] too, with the {{N|onPlayerCharacter}}PCs shunning him because he [[MeanCharacterNiceActor plays the role of the bad guy]]. This prompts him to go on a quest to prove that he can be a good guy.
* Mr. St Peter the appliance repairman from ''WesternAnimation/TheBraveLittleToaster''. He rips apart appliances and uses the parts to build new ones, and since the film is from the viewpoint of the ''appliances'' he is equated to ''[[Franchise/{{Frankenstein}} Doctor Frankenstein]]''. The ones trapped in his shop have gone mad from watching it over and over. Like Sid, he has no clue at all that the appliances are sentient and isn't operating out of any malice, though he ''does'' sell used parts claiming they are new which admittedly is a bit dickish.
* [[spoiler:The Man Upstairs]] from ''WesternAnimation/TheLEGOMovie''. [[spoiler:He is another one of the "has no idea the characters are alive" variety described above; the worst thing he actually does in the movie is take apart his son Finn's LEGO creations. The conflict in the real world is just that Finn and his dad disagree about whether LEGO sets are toys, but this trope is {{Deconstructed}} in that in the LEGO world, Finn bases the villain Lord Business on his dad. The main thing that gets the man to give in is simply that he doesn't want his son to think of him as a villain.]]
* Satan in ''WesternAnimation/SouthParkBiggerLongerAndUncut'' is a deconstruction. He's portrayed as Saddam's henpecked boyfriend for the most part, but it really sinks in during his ''Up There'' song, which reveals that his role as [[PunchClockVillain the villain to humanity is just a job]] and he only wants to take over Earth to enjoy what humans take for granted. This carries over into [[WesternAnimation/SouthPark the series]], which repeatedly shows Satan as a featured character in episodes that also show Catholic Church guilt-tripping their patrons and forcing little boys into sex-slavery.
* In the Christmas special short film ''The Small One'' the tanner is portrayed as a terrifying villain who wants to buy the boy's donkey to skin and make leather out of him. In other words he's nothing more than a working man making a living. It's also worth noting that he does nothing dishonest at any point in the film, when the boy asks if he'll take good care of his donkey he flat out states he's only interested in the hide when he could've simply reassured the boy "Sure, I'll take care of him." and had more business.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TheWizard'':
** It has two villains: one is a true villain type - a jerk kid (Lucas) who goes against the heroes in the big video game contest; the other is a guy (Putnam) who tracks down runaway kids for a living, but everyone accuses him of somehow exploiting the kids. Given that he has an attitude and uses tactics more befitting of a child abductor than a professional private detective, there could be some off-screen truth to it.
** He also actively tries to prevent Sam (the two boys' ''father'') from finding them first just so he can collect the reward. At one point, he slashes the man's tires. Certainly doesn't justify all of Sam's interactions with him (such as trying to run him over later), but Putnam was hardly just some well-meaning authority figure caught up in a misunderstanding. The guy could actually be considered an in-universe DesignatedHero.
* Sgt. Doberman from the 1970s love letter to anarchy, ''Film/OverTheEdge''. His shooting of a teenager in the film is considered a MoralEventHorizon - and subsequently, his murder by anonymous teenagers is presented as a good thing - ignoring that the stupid kid was ''pointing a gun at him'' and screaming "Die, pig!!"[[note]]In case you're confused, pointing anything that even LOOKS like a gun at a cop is granting him permission to blow your head off. And that isn't some new policy of theirs; it's always been that way.[[/note]] Doberman tries to defend himself by saying that he didn't know the gun wasn't loaded (and, in fact, his life depended on not making such an idiotic assumption), but [[StrawmanHasAPoint the movie plainly doesn't care about that very salient point and drops it rather quickly]]. 70s audiences no doubt were horrified, but modern audiences might instead feel relieved that the Sergeant took this moron out [[TooDumbToLive before he could get the chance to breed]].
* ''Film/{{Twister}}'':
** Jonas and his "evil, tornado-chaser crew". Jonas used to be a "pure" tornado chaser, then he got corporate sponsors and a fleet of [[ColourCodedForYourConvenience black]] [=SUVs=]. He also has a duplicate of the main characters' "Dorothy" system, which he rightly claims credit for building. Bill (a guy who had given up tornado chasing to get a job as a TV weatherman) even assaults Jonas while he's talking to reporters, and gets angry when Jonas snidely asks how his new gig is going. This motivates Bill to abandon his fiancee and team up with his ex-wife and her crew. Bill also looks down on Jonas because he relies on technology and not instinct in order to predict tornadoes. So, if you can't sense the weather like Bill, you're a fraud, because, apparently, the whole point of tornado chasing isn't scientific research... And at the end, Jonas gets killed by a tornado. Um...yay?
** This is made even worse because Bill and Jonas ''have the exact same goal'' - using the Dorothy system to gain valuable scientific data that could lead to better tornado warning systems that could save lives. Not only that, Jonas does not once use evil means to achieve these ends. There's no difference between Bill and Jonas ... except that Jonas is [[ProtagonistCenteredMorality a big fat meanie to Bill]].
* High School Dean Edward R. Rooney in ''Film/FerrisBuellersDayOff'' is presented as a villain, even though it is his job to enforce school rules. The film makes him rather crazy about his job, resorting to breaking and entering, [[VillainyFreeVillain to make him the villain]].
* The hotel concierge in ''Film/HomeAlone2LostInNewYork'' is depicted as a bad guy from the get-go just for being suspicious of Kevin when, in fact, he and the rest of the hotel staff have every right to be wary of a ten-year-old checking into a four-star hotel by himself. He also gets slapped for daring to warn an out-of-town woman that it's dangerous for her to wander the streets of Big Apple at night alone.
* The disaster film ''Film/{{Meteor}}'' had an American general be portrayed in a bad light for objecting to Russians getting access to a top secret American command center during the height of the Cold War. StrawManHasAPoint.
* Mrs. Tingle in ''Film/TeachingMrsTingle'' is really the only sensible and likable character. Most of the movie involves the [[DesignatedHero jerkass protagonist]] and her friends trying to torture and murder her because she accused the protagonist of cheating when she had every reason to believe that the protagonist had, in fact, been cheating. The movie also heavily implies that Trudy, the protagonist's competitor for the stipendium, deserves to be killed [[FelonyMisdemeanor merely for being studious]].
* Dr. Jarret in ''Film/MansBestFriend'' is an interesting case of this. He is performing unethical & illegal research on animals (bad) and he created the genetically engineered killer dog that causes all the trouble in the movie (also bad, but keep reading). His purpose was to build the ultimate guard dog after his wife and child were killed; he figured it would be a good product to sell. He also kept Max on a strict regiment of drugs designed to keep him from going berserk and insane. When the DesignatedHero steals Max from the laboratory, the police and others don't seem too interested in taking Dr. Jarret seriously, despite the fact that he has explained that his dog is a ticking time-bomb that's ready to explode in a shower of mayhem...He made the monster, but he kept it under control, and it was only due to the acts of others that it escaped and was able to kill people. And we're supposed to believe that he's bad.
* ''Film/TheLostWorldJurassicPark'':
** Peter Ludlow is the head of [=InGen=] Corporation, and is primarily made out to be the main villain by Ian's group. Yet, all of his actions throughout the film are pragmatic, well-reasoned and entirely understandable. In a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0dGr0s6ivA deleted scene]] from the opening, Ludlow removes John Hammond from the board of directors, correctly pointing out that Hammond's experiment has resulted in tens of millions of dollars being lost, the deaths of at least five people, and a little girl getting injured by Compsognathus when her family strayed too close to "site B", and then correctly pointing out that the only way to save the company is to authorize a relaunch of the park at their backup site. Despite the fact that he acts generally callous towards Ian, Sarah and Nick (who are outsiders), [=InGen=] still rescues them during the climax when they reach the operations center. Even when they get back to San Diego, Ludlow invites Ian and Sarah in to his private launch event despite them acting like dicks to the security guards. After all this (and the T-Rex escaping), all he receives is a response from Ian that "now (he's) John Hammond" a short while before [[spoiler:he gets eaten by a baby T-Rex as its mother watches]].
** The human villains have this trait specifically so that their arguments can be dismissed. While they were shown to be quite ruthless when dealing with the dinosaurs, the {{Designated Hero}}es were directly or indirectly responsible for every human death in the movie. The 'villains' keep going out of their way to save the protagonists' lives, while the 'heroes' continue to heckle and sabotage them. While a Tyrannosaurus is rampaging through the hunter group, the leader suddenly finds out that one of the heroes stole the bullets from his gun.
** The film also falls headfirst into StrawmanHasAPoint. The antagonists are supposed to be evil because they claim that the dinosaurs were property of the local MegaCorp, when ''that's exactly what they are''; they wouldn't even exist if they hadn't been deliberately created, which also nicely shatters the protagonists' argument that they should be left alone to live naturally, nature having nothing to do with it. A clear example of the "villains" being more like jerks than actually evil people.
* In the "Kick the Can" segment of the ''Film/TwilightZoneTheMovie'' , the apparent villain is a man whose only concern is for the welfare of a bunch of octogenarians who shouldn't be engaging in physically strenuous activity. How's ''he'' supposed to know that it's really magic at work that will keep them safe?
* The villain of the 1996 made-for-TV horror movie ''Film/TheBeast'' is Schuyler Graves. He's the bad guy because: 1) He's richer than the hero, and 2) He has a less manly first name.
%%* Parodied in ''MysteryTeam'' with Old Man [=McGinty=].
* The ''Series/HannahMontana'' movie's villain was a land-developer who wanted to pave an empty field to build a mall. ToddInTheShadows pointed out that a mall would actually have greatly boosted the economy of the town, attracted more people (such as tourists or prospective home-buyers--which would have ''also'' improved economy) and that the guy wants to pave an ''empty field that has no real use.'' Yet we're supposed to think that the guy is scum just because he's a land developer in a kid's movie.
%%* AlphaBitch Tess and the rival camp, Camp Star, in ''CampRock 2.''
* ''Film/ChristmasWithTheKranks'' places the Kranks at the same level as [[Literature/AChristmasCarol Ebenezer Scrooge]] simply because they want to go on vacation for Christmas and don't want to partake in any of their neighborhood's usual celebrations.
* In ''Film/PatchAdams'', anyone who expects Adams to conform is an antagonist, especially Dean Wilcott. Adams's nonconformity includes practicing medicine without a license, stealing from a hospital, and ignoring background history. The audience is expected to [[ProtagonistCenteredMorality side with Adams on all issues]], but most audiences think that the StrawmanHasAPoint. Adams' roommate is treated as a villain who needs to change because he's annoyed by Adams and thinks that he cheats on his exams. However, the character is simply an earnest medical student who has good reason to be suspicious of Adams' flawless grades, given the fact that we never see him study. Even the RealLife Patch Adams, who behaves nothing like his fictional counterpart, hates the movie and sides with the "villains."
* Even Tim Burton points out that the various producers in ''Film/EdWood'' are all [=DVs=]; all they want to do is prevent Wood from making terrible movies on their dime.
* Caroline in ''Film/MaidInManhattan'', one of the two "wicked stepsisters" in this modern-day version of ''Cinderella''. She's a flake and utterly oblivious to the fact that the "Prince" is completely uninterested in her, but other than that, she doesn't do anything wrong. The one remotely bad thing that she does is file a complaint when she discovers that Marisa (the titular maid) has been wearing her clothes and pretending to be her--a perfectly legitimate gripe.
* In ''Film/UnaccompaniedMinors'', the bad guy is the airport security director. He's upset that he can't go on vacation because the whole airport is snowed in. The protagonists are all kept away in a children's area, but the main characters break out, and proceed to steal food, steal a transport, and go to the mileage club without being accompanied by an adult. He confines them to the airport room while the rest of the kids are taken to an inn. For the rest of the film, they break out, steal from the unclaimed baggage, and try to get to that inn where one of the character's sisters is. The director's just does his job in trying to get them back. He proceeds to fall over a slop, [[ItMakesSenseInContext crash a canoe]], and an annoyed guest assaults him, along with the girl who stole the car!
** At the end of the film this is addressed, as he just tells the main kid that he's just doing his job. However, the movie still treats him as a scrooge for being bitter on Christmas, and it's he who learns the lesson about giving, while the protagonists don't get called on their actions.
* The A.I. from the first ''Film/ResidentEvil'' movie. It was ''supposed'' to be seen as wrong for insisting that the main characters kill one of their own who was infected before the A.I. would let them leave and for killing everyone in the facility when the virus was released. The problem with this? ''It was the only one doing its job''. Everyone else was too busy trying to force their way in and then out, short circuiting the A.I. or sending in more and more people into what should be a building under total quarantine. If they had just let the A.I. do its job they wouldn't be dealing with a world wide zombie apocalypse two movies later. The Red Queen becomes much more antagonistic during her return in ''Film/ResidentEvilRetribution'', in which she's running a facility cloning Alice and several of the movie series characters by the hundreds and killing them over and over again in order to try and control Umbrella's viruses.
* Most of the men in ''Film/TheSmokers'' are this, particularly David. He's considered bad because he's hot and cold towards Lisa, despite the fact that he knew her for less then an hour before they had sex and that Lisa never hinted that she'd like to go out with him instead of just having a one-night stand. Hell, he isn't even depicted as being a jerkass for most of the movie, but not only does the film tell us we're supposed to hate him, it expects us to laugh when he's being raped and tortured by our "heroes".
* ''Film/NowYouSeeMe'': [[spoiler:Thaddeus Bradley did nothing illegal and nothing more immoral than expose Lionel Shrike's magic tricks. Of all the people responsible for Shrike's death and his family never receiving the life insurance they were owed, he's arguably the least responsible, yet undeniably gets punished the worst for it.]]
** [[spoiler: The reason might be connection. While Lionel's death was the result of a faulty safe and insurance trickery meant not a lot of money, the only reason he was placed in that situation was because Bradley ruined him. His motive seems to be nothing more than bitterness.]]
** [[spoiler:If anything, the safe company was the least at fault. Holding them responsible for the fact that a man who, of his own free will, locked himself in one of their safes and then had said safe submerged deep under water, and then died, is fairly absurd.]] If anything, the fact that Shrike was unable to escape from the safe is testament to the fact that the safe was well-made and functioned as intended.
** To round it off, [[spoiler:the insurance company can hardly be faulted for refusing to pay out for the death of a man, whose reckless actions directly caused it. Being a magician doesn't absolve one from responsibility. Many people would call Shrike's behavior suicidal (and no insurance company will pay for a suicide), and they wouldn't be necessarily wrong]].
* Subverted in the Nickelodeon flick ''Film/SnowDay''; the villain is simply the town snowplow driver, referred to exclusively as "[[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep Snowplow Man]]," who would ordinarily qualify for this trope, except he takes an active and [[EvilIsHammy hammy]] pleasure in [[ChildHater ruining the neighborhood kids' winter fun]]. He might even qualify as a parody of this trope.
* Any cop in the Creator/{{Cheech and Chong}} films. The cops are out to bust the main characters for smoking pot, which is illegal.
* The title character of ''Literature/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas'' becomes this to an extent in [[Film/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas the film adaptation]], due to his sympathetic portrayal compared with the commercialistic Whos, who are almost ObliviouslyEvil. Subverted when he decides to, well, steal Christmas solely based on something only ''one'' Who (the Mayor) does.
* Exaggerated with the Central Park Rangers in ''Film/{{Elf}}'', who are immediately evil because for some reason they look like the [[Film/TheLordOfTheRings Nazgul]] despite being mounted police (though Santa eventually mentions that he put them on his naughty list once and they never forgave him.)
* Jordan's father in the latter half of ''Film/{{Cocktail}}'' is a villain purely because he won't let Brian and Jordan get back together. Brian being the same man who despite falling in love with Jordan immediately cheated on her with an older woman, and who didn't exactly have a positive reaction to the news that Jordan was pregnant with his child. Even though Mr. Mooney ended up disowning Jordan when she took Brian back, considering Brian's track record to that point his condemnation and derision of Brian was perfectly justified.
* Tubal-Cain can come across as this in ''Film/{{Noah}}''. Many of his villainous actions can be seen as simply being pragmatic about the world he lives in. His scene demanding that God speak to him shows him to be wracked by fear, doubt and guilt over what he's had to do to survive, though how much of each is in the mix is up for debate.
* ''Film/InAWorld...'': Gustave (Ken Marino) is a sexist jerk with an entitlement complex, but he never actually does anything underhanded or immoral. His "crimes" are limited to [[WellDoneSonGuy taking up some of Lake Bell's father's attention]], having consensual sex with her at a party, [[FelonyMisdemeanor submitting an audition for a part they both want]], and being a sore loser afterward.
* ''Film/SchoolOfRock'' depicts Ned's girlfriend Patty as being pushy and hypocritical because she "forces" him to demand Dewey actually get a job and pay his ''massive'' rent debt. Even though this is a rather reasonable demand, since Dewey isn't terribly concerned with what a drag he is on Ned. She is also supposed to be seen as hypocritical by pointing out that Dewey steps all over him and manipulates him...even though he does ''exactly that'' to Ned. To the point of engaging in identity theft to get a job under his name and trying to beg that he not do anything about it when Ned finds out. She's later further villainized for convincing Ned to press charges over the identity theft. At no point in the film is Dewey ever truly sorry for what he pulls on Ned and how many laws he broke or even that what he did could seriously impact Ned's own career as a teacher. For starters, the income from the job that Ned technically lost out on since Dewey took it from him, or what would happen when Ned didn't declare income from a job unknowingly taken under his name on his taxes. Dewey ''does'' acknowledge that what he did to the kids was wrong, but he's not ever aware of how much he took advantage of his roommate either. The moment where Ned breaks up with Patty for Dewey's concert is supposed to be a triumph of assertiveness when her only crime is being kind of aggressive over Ned not ever standing up for himself and being taken advantage of.
* ''Film/SpaceMutiny''. Seriously, all the "mutineers" wanted was just to ''go home'' instead of being forced to spend the rest of their lives on a derelict spaceship just because of some ridiculous, bullshit law the ship's captain made decades ago. [[BigBad Kalgan]] doesn't even start using underhanded tactics until ''after'' Ryder starts [[DesignatedHero slaughtering his men unprovoked]]. This is doubly egregious since the opening blurb about the ''colony ship'' is that they're looking for a new planet to settle. The mutineers have ''found'' a planet to settle and are going to fulfill the ship's mission by settling there.
* Inspector Aberline from ''Film/TheWolfman2010'' is really only an antagonist so far as he's trying to kill the hero. [[spoiler: Sir John is the actual villain of the story.]]
* ''Film/TwentyEightWeeksLater'' tries hard to portray Dom as this. Leaving his wife to die, lying to his kids about what happened. Then grabbing the IdiotBall and getting infected and causing a fresh breakout would put him in this bracket, however in the context of the setting, combined with bad writing combine to ruin this.
** Had his wife not given away the survivors' location at the start by letting in a child, there's a good chance they would have been fine, not to mention Dom was unable to reach her due to an infected in the way and more coming, survival instinct kicked in right there.
** He doesn't exactly lie to his kids as he breaks down before getting to that part, not to mention he never actually sees what happened to her. Plus he is shown to be very guilt-ridden about the whole matter as it is. Yet his kids flat out accuse him of lying about everything.
** Speaking of which, he had every right to be furious about them leaving the safe-zone. When you have the most deadly plague in history which has ravaged Britain in less than a month out there and the US Army enforcing the rules then you would be pissed, yet the film forgets that to focus on how him lying was so terrible and he is shown to struggle to find a response, making it seem like his kids have any moral high ground.
** While he stupidly went and kisses his now-alive wife and got infected, why was she not being guarded? Plus, had he succeeded in killing his son while under the effects of the virus, then it's likely the rest of the world would have been fine.
* Rail Chief Patterson in ''Film/MoneyTrain'' is the bad guy for the [[FelonyMisdemeanor terrible]] crime of not wanting his trains robbed by the protagonists. He may have been a bit {{greed}}y, but when the "good guys" are motivated by paying off gambling debts, it's hard to say they're any different.
* The New York district attorney Sean Kierney in ''Film/FindMeGuilty''. Throughout the film, Kierney is the rival to DesignatedHero [=Jackie DiNorscio=]. Despite coming off as something of a {{Jerkass}}, at no point in the film is Kierney wrong about his reasons as to why Jackie and his associates deserve to be convicted. However, the film goes out of its way to portray Jackie as the blameless hero (who at best will try to explain his flaws with halfassed reasoning) and Kierney is presented as a crusading zealot out to enforce the claimed "government oppression" of Italian-Americans. He ends up being a borderline StrawCharacter for how easily Jackie outmaneuvers him. Granted, this was based on historical events, but even still, the movie is clearly not on his side when he's one of the few characters in the movies who's simply looking for justice.
* Did ''anyone'' think that Faulkner in ''Film/BioDome'' was the bad guy? The stoner protagonists already screwed up his expensive experiment upon entering the dome, but he was willing to let them stay in the dome, getting free food and living in a paradise of an environment for a year rather than ejecting them and prosecuting them for trespassing. When the protagonists then proceeded to ruin every experiment he tried to conduct within the dome (including ''trying to rape'' two female scientists), he locked them off to stop them from ruining it even more. The only time in the film he does anything approaching DisproportionateRetribution is when he decides to blow the dome up, but considering that the protagonists had held, of all things, a massive party with hundreds of people in the dome, ruining an experiment that cost him billions... Yeah, the film is less "radical youths stick it to the Man" and more "man's life's work ruined by moronic pothead assholes."
* "Slaggy Lindsay" in ''Film/AngusThongsAndPerfectSnogging''. Sure, she's a bitch to Georgia, and doesn't seem particularly loveable, but it's kinda excused by the fact that Georgia is trying to steal her boyfriend throughout the film. To make matters worse, in the book series that the film is based on, she is known as "Wet Lindsay", and is basically despised by Georgia for being a wimp.
** Lindsay only began to show signs of bitchiness after Georgia's constant attempts to steal her boyfriend become enormously apparent. In many ways, Georgia is a DesignatedHero, blatantly insulting Lindsay throughout the film, treating her friends and parents horribly and using everyone as a means to an end to get with Robbie.
* ''Literature/TheSecretGarden'': The 1993 film designates Mrs. Medlock as an overbearing caretaker, even though in the book her initial antagonism fades as the narrative progresses.
* Dan Sanders in ''Film/FurryVengeance'' is a nice guy who just happens to work for a company that wants to tear down the forest. However, because he works for the company, even though he has no real power in whether or not the forest will be destroyed (as he's pretty much just the land developer and, therefore, the middle man), were supposed to be delighted when the animals beat him up.
* ''Film/BruceAlmighty'' has Evan Baxter, whose only crime is legitimately getting the job Bruce wanted. Although that might be the point, given that Bruce is portrayed as a jerk at first.
* Amy Squirrel in ''Film/BadTeacher'', thanks to her repeated, downright obsessive efforts to expose Elizabeth, the titular character for being. . . ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. Elizabeth is superficial, vain, lazy and mostly incompetent, a drug user, doesn't help her kids to learn (her success is achieved through ''cheating''), she doesn't learn anything herself except perhaps to be slightly less superficial and jealously causes her to ruin Amy's life. She breaks multiple laws and rules and her only selfless acts are brief attempts to make some of her kids a little more cool. In short she is a terrible person and does almost nothing to justify the fact that the audience are supposed to root for her. Amy's methods are overbearing and underhanded, but it doesn't change the fact that she's absolutely right. Yet somehow, the audience is supposed to cheer for Elizabeth and see her wrecking Amy's life as a good and/or amusing thing.
* Basically every member of the legal system in ''Film/MyCousinVinny'', but the prosecutor, especially. He's doing his best to get the defendants convicted on murder charges, but only because he truly believes, based on the evidence, that they did it. Not only is all of his conduct completely legal and ethical, but he is also a genuinely nice person who left a much more lucrative private practice because he believed public service was more important. [[spoiler: When Vinnie finds evidence proving the defendants are innocent, he dismisses the charges immediately and without rancor.]]
* In Cameron's ''Film/{{Avatar}}'', the evil corporation is evil because they want to mine some minerals, and aren't above rolling over the native population to do it. The difficulty is that not only is the latter an InformedAttribute, it's directly contradicted by the basic premise of the story: the immensely expensive titular avatar project, so resource-intensive that the company would rather ship an untrained man across light-years than just grow a new unit for an actual trained person, represents the company putting a historically unprecedented effort into establishing peaceful communication with a native population in order to find out what they want in exchange for the company's goals and what they value so that the company can find a way to get what it wants without annoying anyone. Had Jake just done his most basic job of getting the actual information he was explicitly asked to obtain, instead of reporting back largely irrelevant troop positions and so on, the entire conflict could have been avoided.
** In fact, the ending of the movie being a 'victory' for the Na'vi at all is entirely predicated on the corporation being entirely run by people acting completely in good faith, given that they're sending them up to orbit, where [[ColonyDrop a fairly trivial resource investment]] could easily wipe out every living thing within a hundred miles of the home tree. The company's after rocks, the only reason to leave a relatively tiny fraction of the ecology intact is that they inherently value all life to a greater degree than the Na'vi (who cheerfully murder their way through the humans until they leave).
* Walt Ferris, the inspector, from ''Film/WeBoughtAZoo''. The most 'evil' thing he does is give as surprise, unofficial inspection a few weeks early... allowing the family to fix the problems he points out, so they can pass the REAL inspection (he also warns them of an impending regulation change, something he didn't really have to do; they treat this as a dick move, for some reason, as if he's the one changing the regulation). He is stated to have stolen some of their innovations for himself, but there's no actual evidence of that. In fact, he acts downright civil towards his supposed enemy, as long as the latter doesn't try to kill him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Folklore and Mythology]]
* Most of the 'monsters' in Myth/ClassicalMythology are never actually shown to do anything evil, and a lot of them are treated horribly anyway.
** Medusa is a particularly prominent example to [[ValuesDissonance modern observers]], being punished by [[LadyOfWar Athene]] for ''being raped in the wrong place'' by a far more powerful being (in this case the god [[MakingASplash Poseidon]], generally considered to be an okay guy).
** This is also observed a lot of the time in the myth of [[SmugSuper Heracles]], who kills various monsters that aren't really doing much harm, as well as the overarching "villain" of the plot, Hera, who is somewhat justified in being angry that Zeus slept with a mortal and tried to set up his bastard son as a king. The fact that Heracles is then elevated to Olympus just adds insult to injury.
* Loki and his children are designated villains for taking part in the doom of the gods, despite the gods being somewhat morally ambiguous figures anyway (although Loki definitely has some of their dodgier behaviour on his hands too). However, Jörmungandr is alone among the children of Loki in being treated this way before the Ragnarök. Odin tried to drown him for... well, being a snake. Hel was put in charge of Hel and given control over 9 realms. Sure, she was separated from her family and was not allowed to live among the other gods but she was given a important job. Fenrir was taken to Asgard and only chained up after he grew enormous and wreaked havoc.
%%* Literature/TheEpicOfGilgamesh: Poor Humbaba...
* Likewise, depending on which versions of a fairy tale you read, the evil stepsister/rival to the heroine doesn't do anything evil in general, besides being pushed to replace the heroine by her [[EvilMatriarch mother]]. In some stories, the stepmother even forces her own daughter(s) to mutilate themselves, inflicting worse pain on them than the heroine goes through! And yet most of those tales end with the rival being humiliated or brutally murdered.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Author Peter David, in his ''Literature/StarTrekNewFrontier'' novels, uses Jellico (now promoted to Admiral) as a recurring character. For most of the series, he remains a Designated Villain to the pseudo-MilitaryMaverick main character, Captain Mackenzie Calhoun. Then, after a TimeSkip, he's informed that Calhoun is missing and presumed dead. The reader is clearly supposed to expect Jellico to not be particularly upset by this...until it's revealed that some time during the TimeSkip, the two had resolved their differences and were now close friends.
* Jill in ''Literature/TheGirlWhoOwnedACity''. Her arguments in favor of voting and collectivism seem rather reasonable, but are dismissed in favor of the MarySue objectivist main character.
* Before ''Literature/TheWormOuroboros'' decided to ditch its framing device, the viewpoint character is guided around by a talking martlet, who identifies many of the main characters and pours a ton of adjectival condemnation on the villains. This is before they've done anything. Lessingham dryly concludes that "A fiery politician is my martlet", and resolves to make up his own mind on things. He and the martlet are never referred to again. As it turns out, the villains aren't much different from the heroes and certainly don't deserve titles like "the children of night everlasting". This is an odd example because the author seems to quite like them.
* Deliberately invoked in ''Literature/TypewriterInTheSky'', Creator/LRonHubbard's {{Deconstruction}} of swashbucklers. The protagonist of the story is the antagonist of the [[ShowWithinAShow story-within-a-story]], but does his best to subvert the author's wishes. [[spoiler:Even the editor can't tell who's supposed to be the good guy, so he [[ExecutiveMeddling forces a bit of rewriting]] and, among other things, has the newly revisioned baddie attempt IHaveYouNowMyPretty on the heroine.]]
* Deliberately invoked in ''Literature/TheOgreDownstairs''. The ogre in question is the grumpy stepfather of three of the main characters. One of the first things he does is the book is buy two of the kids chemistry sets as presents, but the kids are determined to treat him as a bad guy. As the book progresses, he gets increasingly angry and punishes the kids for messing up the house, getting in trouble, making a lot of noise and ruining a party he was throwing. By the end of the book, the children realise that the ogre was actually trying to be nice and that maybe he had a point about their misbehaving.
* ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'':
** The Volturi. We're told that they're power hungry, corrupt government with no respect for human life who want to take out the Cullens for no particular reason, but they're the only vampires that make any active attempt to control their species, follow their own laws and keep vampires from senselessly slaughtering humans. Even though their primary motive is more along the lines of self-preservation, they still do more to protect both their own species and humans than the designated protagonists, the Cullens.
** Laurent also falls into this. He's a pretty nice guy and even warns the Cullens about James and his ability. In ''New Moon'' he's revealed to have been trying to be a 'vegetarian' but since Bella has an irresistible scent he can't help himself and tries to eat her in ''New Moon'' and is subsequently killed by the werewolves.
* [[spoiler:Mr Rochester's wife, Bertha Mason]], could be ''Literature/JaneEyre'''s only real Designated Villain, because she is the main reason why Jane and Mr Rochester cannot be together. However, [[spoiler:she was insane and her erratic behavior came from what [[InTheBlood spread in her family]] and Mr. Rochester locked her up for ten years in the third story room with no one to see but a maid]].
** In Jean Rhys's novel ''Wide Sargasso Sea'', it is revealed that [[spoiler:Bertha went insane due to Rochester's mistreatment of her, including everything from obviously disliking her during the duration of their marriage to having sex with one of their servants. Bertha's mom, on the other hand, went insane after the servant of her new English husband abandoned her infant son during a fire started by the angry townsfolk. This led to the child dying of smoke inhalation. Their madness is not hereditary, but rather a result of the English men who came into their lives and messed everything up]].
* Kayla in ''Literature/TheHouseOfNight'' makes a whopping two appearances and is promptly branded a man-stealing jealous bitch by Zoey as a result. Kayla's crime, really, is hooking up with Heath after Zoey tells her several times, in no uncertain terms, that she's broken up with him. In ''Betrayed'', Zoey acts like Kayla was being horribly spiteful and irrational in going to the police after witnessing Zoey drinking Heath's blood, and then having Zoey threaten to do the same to her. To really hammer this point in, Zoey's friends (who never even met Kayla before) begin referring to her as "skank-bitch Kayla" after learning that she went to the police.
* In the FairyTale [[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/grimms/8strangemusician.html "The Wonderful Musician"]], the wolf, fox, and hare don't actually do anything to harm the protagonist until he tricks and humiliates them because he wanted a human companion, not an animal. Then they come after him.
* [[InvokedTrope Done deliberately]] in ''Literature/RossoMalpelo'', a novel written by Giovanni Verga. The child miner protagonist is portrayed by the narrator (who embodies the Sicilian mentality of the nineteenth century) as a malicious and bad bully...[[ValuesDissonance due to his red hair]] but it is made pretty clear that Malpelo is just a poor JerkassWoobie, brutalized by the cruel society where he lives, who sometimes even borders on a JerkWithAHeartOfGold, especially when he interacts with his ill friend, Ranocchio (and no, this is not a case of VillainyFreeVillain, all the other characters, [[WideEyedIdealist with the exception of his father and Ranocchio]], are far bigger jerks than him, if not outright evil).
* Creator/MichaelCrichton's ''Literature/{{Timeline}}'' features a {{Jerkass}} corporate executive Robert Doniger whose quantum teleportation experiments kickstart the plot. He supports all possible safeguards for his technology, all accidents and disasters are caused by people refusing to follow his orders, and he does everything in his power to help the protagonists. As thanks for this, they murder him at the end by sending him back in time to die of the Black Plague. For being a jerk. This was addressed in TheFilmOfTheBook, where Doniger actively tried to hide the flaws in the system and strand the protagonists in the past by destroying the machine, which earned him a trip to the past and a sword in the face.
* Even if Claudia weren't a member of Literature/TheBabySittersClub, the title of ''Claudia and Mean Janine'' tells us which sister we're supposed to be rooting for in TheGloriousWarOfSisterlyRivalry. However, Janine never does anything particularly "mean" in the book. Instead, she makes attempt after attempt to connect with her sister, while Claudia repeatedly shoots her down, internally snarking about Janine's activities, friends, and her clothes. Claudia's complaints that Janine isn't helping take care of their grandmother also ring hollow since (a) no one ever ''asks'' Janine to help, and (b) when Janine tried to volunteer to help, Claudia insisted she could take care of everything and there was no reason for anyone else to disrupt their lives.
* Creator/KarenTraviss seems determined to do this to Dr. Catherine Halsey in her ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' novels ''[[Literature/HaloGlasslands Glasslands]]'', ''[[Literature/HaloTheThursdayWar The Thursday War]]'', and ''[[Literature/HaloMortalDictata Mortal Dictata]]'' (prequels to ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}''), putting the blame for the SPARTAN-II program's shadier aspects (primarily the kidnapping of six year old children) squarely on Halsey's shoulders. Almost everyone suddenly starts seeing Halsey as a monster who shouldn't be allowed to live. The specific act that earns the hate is the flash-cloning of the kidnapped children in order to convince the parents that the kids aren't really missing. The clones fall ill and die a few months later. The head of [[StateSec ONI]], Admiral Margaret Parangosky, personally blames Halsey for this. The kicker is, nothing happens in ONI without Parangosky's say-so, so there's no way she could not have known about the flash-cloning beforehand, especially since it hardly could have been accomplished by Halsey alone (indeed, previous sources implied that the flash-cloning was done with ONI's full approval). Nobody seems to consider that making parents think their kids are dead may be more ''merciful'' than living with the constant fear that their child was kidnapped (and additionally, Traviss even conveniently forgets that the flash-cloning was done precisely to stop people from asking further questions). Another argument is that the SPARTAN-II program was started many years before the war with the Covenant, so there's no justification for it. However, the Insurrectionists who plagued UNSC for years did so using terrorist tactics far beyond anything we've seen so far in real life, like using suicide bombers armed with ''nukes'' (the Insurrectionist nuking of the Haven arcology, mentioned in [[VideoGame/HaloReach Halsey's own journal]], killed ''two million'' civilians and injured 8.3 million more). While Halsey's actions may be seen as deplorable, there were reasons why she took them, and it's fairly clear that the moral culpability rests on ONI as a whole (which, to its credit, ''Mortal Dictata'' does touch a tiny bit on). Worse, the author shows no sympathy for Halsey, even when it's revealed that she cries herself to sleep every night with the name of her dead daughter ([[spoiler:Miranda Keyes]]) on her lips.
** In addition, the SPARTAN-III program (using orphans from glassed planets) is presented as the better alternative, as the orphans agreed to take part in it. However, the SPARTAN-III program were meant to be ''CannonFodder'' {{Super Soldier}}s, most of whom end up dying in combat by the age of ''twelve''. Since all those orphans were also recruited as children (many of them at ages even ''younger'' than the [=IIs=]), they're obviously not mature enough to make the decision to agree.
** Much of the fandom's issue with Traviss's presentation isn't so much that she points out that the Spartan-II program was ethically dodgy at best (obviously), but that she even ignores prior canon to make Halsey look worse; for one thing, claiming that Halsey lied to the children about why they were taken, when prior sources showed that she specifically said that ONI should ''not'' lie to the children about the reasons behind their kidnapping.
* Traviss just ''barely'' skirts the line on this with the Jedi and the Republic in her Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse material. Granted, she ''does'' have a point about an army of cloned, 10-year-old cannon fodder being led by 13-year old commanders, with both Jedi and Clone Troopers trained as emotionally detached killers with no messy "attachments" from infancy, and a Republic that sees no problem with this being ''very'' dodgy with ethics at best and no better than what they're fighting at worst.
* In the Literature/InheritanceCycle, for the first two books at least, King Galbatorix can come across as this. During his centuries-long reign, we never actually see or hear about him doing anything truly evil. The worst he does is imposes hard taxes on his people (acceptable as his Empire is in a state of war) and sends an army against the rebels attacking his reign. Despite this, every good person in the books seems to see him as a tyrant.
** Though, Urgals under his command completely massacre a small town, leaving all the bodies in a pile in the middle, with a ''baby impaled on a spear'' on the top. Yes, this was not done by him directly, but by a trusted lieutenant who he very much approved of.
** Notably, in the second book Eragon is directly confronted with this by his Elven tutor. Eventually, he comes to the conclusion that while Galbatorix could not be argued to be evil, replacing him would be the only way to bring back the dragons. In the next book, it is revealed that he rose to power by enslaving hundreds of dragon soul gems for use as magical sources in battle.
* Bishop Patricius in ''Literature/TheMistsOfAvalon''. Granted, he was very lawful and by-the-book. And he was the head of Christianity, which was the new "invading" religion, as compared to the Druidism that the Lady of the Lake and the Merlin were the heads of. But did he really deserve such a horrendous portrayal?
* Danny Pickett in the ''Just Disgusting'' story, ''The Story of the Very Stupid Boy, and the Very Big Slug''. The narrative constantly berates him for accidentally creating a giant mutant slug [[ArtisticLicenseBiology by feeding it dog food]], and becoming unable to control it, [[spoiler:leading to the world's destruction,]] just after he gets arrested for creating it. Justified, as this is a story Andy made up to make himself look good, to the point where he makes himself into a MartyStu.
* Isengrim the Wolf from "Reynard the Fox" and many of the other animals like Bruin the Bear and Tybalt the Cat. They are treated as the villains for being against Reynard and wanting him brought to justice. Reynard is a DesignatedHero who raped Isengrim's wife, blinded their children, killed the Cockeral's wife and most of their children, along with killing a hare and framing a ram leading to their execution.
** The version by Andre Norton simply makes Reynard himself [[VillainProtagonist the villain]].
* ''Literature/TheChemicalGardenTrilogy'':
** We're repeatedly told that Housemaster Vaughn is evil because he [[spoiler: dissected Rose's body after she was killed by the virus]] to find a cure, but that's a fairly common medical practice, even today. It's not pleasant, but it's not evil.
** How ''dare'' Cecily 1) do her best to adapt to a situation that to her doesn't seem at all horrible, considering she was practically raised for it, 2) attempt to make friends with her sister-wives, 3) criticize the staff when she quite reasonably expects them to do their jobs (particularly when she's pregnant and intensely frustrated from being kept in bed all the time), 4) try to monopolize Linden's attention when he's the only one who takes much notice of her anyway, and 5) make an honest mistake when she tries to keep Rhine from getting into trouble?! How ''' ''dare'' ''' she?! Later, she also gets yelled at for trying to stop a man from smoking near her while she's pregnant and holding a newborn.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* The RomanticFalseLead in Music/TaylorSwift's "You Belong With Me" is apparently supposed to be a bad person for being more popular and more feminine than the narrator and dating her best guy-friend who she has a crush on. It's implied to be a not-entirely-stable relationship, but that doesn't necessarily make her an AlphaBitch like the song implies.
** The same sort of situation is handled rather better in "The Girl Next Door," an earlier and nearly identical song by Saving Jane, where the narrator admits she's turning the other girl into a villain ''in her own mind'' to justify her jealousy of her.
** And yet another similar situation occurs in "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne. The song's lyrics ''outright state'' that the narrator wants to break up her crush and his current girlfriend because "I don't like her"; she also states that the boy clearly likes her better, even though we never get ''his'' opinion on the matter.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* In the year 2000, Wrestling/{{WCW}} tried to turn Wrestling/BillGoldberg, the most popular wrestler whose star was built in the company, into a {{heel}} against the founders of the Wrestling/{{n|ewWorldorder}}Wo, who had long been seen as overstaying their welcome. You can imagine how well that didn't go over.
* Wrestling/{{Sting}} as leader of the Main Event Mafia. He wanted respect from the younger members of the Wrestling/{{TNA}} locker room but was so noble in going about it fans took his side and much easier to hate Wrestling/KurtAngle had [[TheStarscream to usurp control]] of the group.
* Most fans who only occasionally glanced at Wrestling/LuchaUnderground or had only just started watching it assumed [[Wrestling/JohnMorrison Johnny Mundo]] was the baby{{face}} during his feud with Wrestling/AlbertoElPatron. Even most fans who had been watching the program sympathized with Mundo because he had also been around from the start while Patron barged in from Wrestling/{{AAA}} and acted like he owned the place because he was Mega Champion.[[/folder]]

[[folder: Radio]]
* The early ''Series/DoctorWho'' audio drama "Doctor Who and the Pescatons" treats the Pescatons this way. The Pescaton leader is using MindControl, but its goal is to use the Doctor's powers and time travel access to help him find a new home, as a fish-creature from a dying planet with seas evaporating as it follows its dwindling orbit around its sun. This is exactly the sort of reasonable desire that the Doctor would normally help aliens with, at least if they promised good behaviour. However, due to [[OutOfCharacterMoment extremely out-of-character writing]], the Doctor repeatedly [[AlwaysChaoticEvil declares them the most evil race he has ever known]], and he and Sarah commit a genocide against them without showing any remorse.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Roleplay]]
* In Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG, Plastic Serpent was intended to come off as seeming like a low-life criminal scumbag who deserved to get repeatedly beaten up by Snake. The trouble was that Snake himself ended up coming off as ''also'' being a low-life criminal scumbag who acted like a {{Jerkass}} to everyone and [[DirtyCoward ditched the team to save his own skin]]. In the first encounter, Plastic Serpent was simply getting a bite to eat when Snake began viciously beating him up (it was implied that he ''had'' stolen Snake's codename at the time, "Plastic Serpent"- as he originally operated under the name of "Snake" but changed it as a result of this encounter).
** In the second encounter, Snake had to go and beat him up while ''he was already wounded in battle''. An attempt to justify this was made by throwing in off-hand references to Plastic Serpent supposedly screwing Snake over, but many players found given Snake's character up to this point combined with the fact that none of the OffstageVillainy actually appeared brought the reliability of Snake's comments into question.
** A [[CanonDiscontinuity non-canon]] scene was also written (mainly as a joke in response to certain comments) in which a ''third'' beatdown happened. This time Plastic Serpent was just minding his own business when Snake started violently bashing his head in to the rails of a bridge. Admittedly this time Snake ''did'' get what was coming to him (albeit after Plastic Serpent had his head bashed in several times and got thrown into the river below where he may have drowned) when [[spoiler: [[Film/EscapeFromNewYork Snake Plissken]] and [[Franchise/MetalGear Solid Snake]] themselves show up and get back at him. Of course Snake receives a comparatively lighter beatdown and then Plissken went ahead and did to Solid Snake the same thing that had been done to Plastic Serpent]].
** Admittedly, the fact that the entire thing was meant to be an allegory for what turned out to be a ''massive'' CriticalResearchFailure on Atton Rand's part didn't help.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/VampireTheRequiem'':
** The Ventrue are the de facto Designated Villains, although that isn't fair, as ''all'' vampires are villainous despite their best efforts. The Daeva, who have the explicit weakness ''of'' inevitable moral decline have far more reasons to actually ''be'' the Designated Villains, only the fluff of the manuals and supplements just don't write them that way. The Daeva are sympathetic, as being evil is not really their fault, they're just morally decadent. The Ventrue, however, are always portrayed, every last vampire jack of them, as conniving, cackling, sadistic, and ''evil'' sons of bitches who are evil because that's what the Ventrue are and do.
** As far as fluff goes, the Nosferatu and Gangrel tend to get Designated Hero slots, but if an NPC in a supplement is marked "Ventrue Invictus", you can guarantee that the character is going to be portrayed in a villainous light.
** Mekhet, however, are the Designated Morally Ambivalent. They might as well be Vulcans for all the White Wolf writing staff cares.
* InUniverse example; in ''TabletopGame/BeastThePrimordial'', the titular Beasts are trapped in a [[TheoryOfNarrativeCausality living story]] in which they have been made to assume the role of living nightmares, incarnations of the fears spawned by the unknown and slapped with a HorrorHunger that compels them to hurt and torment people both for survival and to fill their cosmic role. Being well-aware of their role breeds a certain level of antipathy in Beasts, especially towards Heroes who A: get the "cushy job" as the DesignatedHero, B: never ''try'' to fight their narrative role the way many Beasts choose to, and C: that "cushy job" is "track down and murder Beasts, [[BlackAndWhiteInsanity without question or compromise]]. Little wonder the "Good End" for Beasts is the Apex path, where they successfully subvert their overarching narrative and rewrite it to make ''themselves'' into the protagonist.
* Similarly, the Technocracy from ''TabletopGame/MageTheAscension'' are largely Designated Villains, by ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness'' standards, given that there are expansion books to play technocrats and the core books note that the rivalry is somewhat one-sided, with the technocracy not so much hunting you down as reacting with vague surprise that you're still around when you bust into their laboratory.
** Later books softened them up a lot. While they ''are'' crushing human creativity and enforcing reality to abide by their standards, this is actually done in order to prevent all sorts of monsters and other horrible things creeping into the world, while giving the average person access to 'magic', as technology is magic that anyone can study and use. At worst, they could be seen as a NecessaryEvil.
** The ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness'' wasn't named on a whim. Like every other playable faction, the Mages are legitimate dangers to the free will and physical welfare of mortals (the majority of sentient beings) in their own right. Every sourcebook got an antagonist faction that was outright stated to be the designated villain _because it holds the interests of humanity above other things_. Most human corporations in Werewolf are actually reasonable enough, the technocracy brought on the enlightenment, and the various vampire-hunting organizations aren't exactly unreasonable in their desire to hunt and slay creatures that have to kill humans with some frequency to survive.
*** All that said, the 'villainous' parts also hold true for all the antagonist factions. The Technocracy brought on the Enlightenment, but back then they were the Order of Reason and ''they'' were the rebels against the stifling status quo of Hermetic traditionalism and Christian fundamentalism. Over time, as befits the darkness of the [=WoD=], they became the villains, crushing the world in their grip in their goal to keep humanity 'safe', but only on their terms. Similarly, the Wyrm is a very real evil force with no current redeeming qualities and anti-Vampire hunters rarely distinguish between a Sabbat Tzimisce who likes to decorate his living room with the skins of his still-alive ghouls and the Anarch Toreador who only feeds from willing supplicants and never kills. It's more GreyAndGrayMorality with ample degrees of WhatMeasureIsANonHuman and UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans. ''No one'' is unequivocally a good guy in the [=WoD=].
* Vlad von Calerstien in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' borders into this, [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation depending how you look at him]]. While his successors were defiantly evil, the most he did was try and take over TheEmpire, which its Elector Counts are trying to do all the time, and if his enemies surrendered to him, he let them live. Though all the undead he kept around would take some getting used to.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'': The Imperium [[AbsoluteXenophobe hates]] [[TheFundamentalist many]] [[KnightTemplar things]], but they harbour a special hatred for the Gue'vesa, those humans who have accepted the Tau Empire's offer of egalitarianism and progressive thinking. They consider the Gue'vesa as despicable race-traitors. Readers may think differently.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* [[ThoseTwoGuys Rosencrantz and Guildenstern]] in ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}''. Since Claudius killed Hamlet's father all by himself, he'd have no reason to confide in R&G or anyone else about it. So R&G might not have seen anything vile about obeying his summons to check out their old friend, Hamlet, and see if they can find out what's wrong with him. When Claudius sends R&G to England with Hamlet, he gives them a sealed envelope for the English which orders Hamlet's immediate execution. Since these orders are sealed, ''[[UnwittingPawn there's nothing to indicate R&G knew what those sealed orders were.]]'' Yet when Hamlet breaks into their cabin and opens the seal and reads the order, [[DesignatedHero he changes the order making it for R&G's immediate executions.]] Since Hamlet gets kidnapped by pirates on the way to England, [[FridgeHorror R&G would have no reason to deliver those sealed orders if they already knew what those orders originally were]].
* Another played-with Shakespearean example comes in ''Theatre/KingLear'' with Goneril and Regan, Lear's elder two daughters. They're portrayed as villains because they lie to their father about how much they love him and later tell him that he has to send away some of his retinue of knights if he's going to stay with them. While it's true that they did exaggerate about their affection for Lear, they were doing so ''because he wanted them to''--he was quite literally deciding how much of his kingdom they would get based on their answers, and Cordelia, who does genuinely love him, ends up being banished forever because she wouldn't kiss up to him. Furthermore, Lear acts like a completely spoiled brat while he stays with Goneril and Regan, hunting and living it up all day, then coming home (with ''a hundred men'') and demanding to be waited on hand and foot while he and his knights carouse all evening--completely ignoring the fact that the princesses are trying to run the kingdom he left them. Granted, Goneril and Regan are far from saints, but they often seem more sympathetic and frustrated than evil.
* The ultimate Shakespeare example might be Shylock from ''Theatre/TheMerchantOfVenice''. His name has become a slur synonymous with villainy, and the phrase "pound of flesh" has come to refer to anything given unfairly--but the thing of it is, within the play, Shylock ''didn't do anything wrong.'' The contract that he and Antonio form is honest and legally binding; there's no coercion involved. Of course, Shylock could have taken the other characters' offer to buy out the contract for double its worth, but that doesn't make his insistence on sticking to the bond illegal. So why is he such a villain? [[ValuesDissonance Because he's Jewish]], and when the play was written, Christianity was the dominant religion of England. That fact even explains his less-than-clear thinking on the matter: his only daughter elopes with a Christian man and converts to do so, leaving him without any descendants whatsoever. His insistence on clinging to the contract seems less like a villain scheming to hurt people and more like [[TheWoobie a broken, scared man desperately clutching at some semblance of order to keep himself sane.]] Virtually every contemporary production of ''Venice'' addresses this problem, and tries to find a way to reconcile the intense antisemitism of Shakespeare's time with more tolerant/open values.
* Dick Deadeye in Creator/GilbertAndSullivan's ''Theatre/HMSPinafore'' is roundly hated and vilified by all his shipmates, mainly for being ugly. "From such a face and form as mine the noblest sentiments sound like the black utterances of a depraved imagination." This certainly applies to the blandest sentiments, e.g., Dick: "Ah, it’s a queer world!" Ralph: "Dick Deadeye, I have no desire to press hardly on you, but such a revolutionary sentiment is enough to make an honest sailor shudder." And when leading man Ralph, a foremast hand, in response to Sir Joseph's foolish claim that a British seaman is any man's equal (except his own), is deciding to propose to ingenue Josephine, his captain's daughter, Dick's voice of sanity--"When people have to obey other people’s orders, equality’s out of the question"--is roundly rejected by his messmates. On the other hand, when in Act II Dick has warned his captain of "the wicked men who['ll] art employ/to make his Josephine less coy", no retribution lands on Dick after the surprise ending that [[spoiler:unites the hero and heroine after all]]. Perhaps everyone simply expects such behavior from "poor Dick Deadeye", the Designated Villain.
* The Bad Baronets of Creator/GilbertAndSullivan's ''Theatre/{{Ruddigore}}'' are obligated by a family curse to commit one evil deed each day, or else die in agony. The reigning Baronet, Sir Despard Murgatroyd, is a PunchClockVillain, who gets his daily crime over early in the day and does good afterwards. After the hero is unmasked as Despard's elder brother, Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, he emerges from his FaceHeelTurn as a HarmlessVillain, who [[PokeThePoodle commits misdemeanors so small]] that the ghosts of his ancestors rise up to torment him until he agrees to prove that he can do [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty something more nefarious]].
* It happens in ''Theatre/{{Fools}}''. Count Yousekevitch is set up to be the villain by the other characters and is presented in a ridiculous "bad guy" outfit. His only real crime is trying to marry a pretty girl. Later, he even lampshades this. He then seemingly has a PetTheDog moment... [[AuthorsSavingThrow only to turn it into a]] KickTheDog [[AuthorsSavingThrow and prove himself to be just as bad as everyone else said.]]
* Ellen in ''Theatre/MissSaigon'' is often perceived as this by fans of the show, as she is seen as the obstacle to Kim and Chris reuniting.
* Magnificent in Ibsen's ''Theatre/ADollsHouse'' with Nils Krogstad, who is repeatedly demonized as an unpleasant and weak [[KickTheDog dog kicker]], but is, upon closer inspection, just trying to secure his job so he can feed his children, and is eventually talked into a total HeelFaceTurn. There is no ''real'' villain, apart perhaps from how Torvald and Nora have turned their marriage into a dysfunctional delusion where he doesn't take her seriously as a human being and she believes he'd keep supporting her even if she were to reveal her 'true' self.
* The Giantess in ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods''. Her only real crime is not being human. She treated Jack kindly and protected him from her husband, and, in return, he robs her and kills her husband. If she was a human, Jack (who admits that he did it) would have been hauled off to jail, if not the chopping block. All the deaths in the second half are either accidents (because she can't see without her glasses) or caused by humans. There is even a scene in the second act deconstructing this, and discussing why she deserves to live less than Jack does. Eventually, the heroes recognize that her grief is as valid as theirs -- but they still have to take her down, because she'll destroy the kingdom otherwise.
* ''Theatre/CyranoDeBergerac'': subverted by Colonel De Guiche InUniverse. The audience of the play identify him as the villain because he wants to bully Roxane into being TheMistress, but the Gascon Cadets who serve under him never call him out on this: they think he is the villain merely because he doesn’t want to be an IdiotHero, has [[AmbitionIsEvil villainous motivations]], and [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections prefers to thrive by his connections]] in the DeadlyDecadentCourt...[[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and he dresses like]] TheDandy. In summation, De Guiche is the villain because he is [[NoTrueScotsman No True Gascon]]. Observe that not one of the cadets even complain when De Guiche informs them of the LastStand.
* Javert embodies this trope in ''Theatre/LesMiserables''. He is at best an [[AlwaysGetsHisMan incorruptible cop]] and at his very worse he's only a WellIntentionedExtremist who is devoted to the law and truly wants to do what's right.
** To be fair, Valjean himself points this out right before he helps Javert escape the barricade. Hell, the 2012 movie adds a scene from the book in which Javert hands Valjean the perfect opportunity to ruin his career and get him out of Valjean's way for good, and Valjean rejects it because he doesn't want to deprive France of such an honest and dedicated policeman!
* This is done via HistoricalVillainUpgrade in ''Theatre/SeventeenSeventySix''. For 90% of the play, John Dickinson appears to be a hidebound aristocrat whose primary concern about independence is that it will upset his comfortable, upper-class status quo, combined with a total aversion to risk and continued loyalty to England. It also attributes to Jefferson words actually written by Dickinson (the passage from ''On the Necessity For Taking Up Arms''; the two men co-wrote it). It is remedied in the last scene, though, by giving Dickinson a WorthyOpponent sendoff where he proves that his desire for reconciliation really ''is'' the completely reasonable fear that the colonies will be crushed for rebelling and resigns from Congress to join the army.
* ''Theatre/TheSoundOfMusic'' has The Baroness. In the musical, the only thing she did wrong was be rich, unliked by the children (and even then, only in comparison to Maria), and choosing not to cause any trouble with Germany to save their heads. She was made a little cattier in the movie, but really at worst she was just preventing Maria from moving in on her fiance. And then there's the live Carrie Underwood show, where, thanks to a virtuoso performance by Laura Benanti, many viewers were rooting for her over Maria!
* ''Literature/TheSecretGarden'': The musical designates Neville Craven, a doctor who wants Colin to die so he can inherit his brother's estate. In the book, he is in fact a deeply caring man who took up medicine to help his older brother.
** Granted, it's not quite stated, merely implied by an accusation from Mary. He's still the primary antagonist, though.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/ArcRiseFantasia'' gives us [[spoiler:Eesa. There doesn't seem to be any real reason why she shouldn't help bring about L'Arc's Law to save the world since she makes it clear that she only wants to choose the Laws that are best for everyone, yet she's still the final boss. Umwat?]]
* ''[[VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy Dissidia Duodecim]]'' reveals through Chaos' backstory that [[spoiler: he really isn't evil at all—he's just doing what Garland, Cid, Cosmos and Shinryu have told him to do, and as such this is an Invoked Trope. It just happens he looks like a monstrous demon, and most of the warriors he calls to serve him are villainous.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' runs on this:
** ''Undefined Fantastic Object'' offers a rare encounter: in one route, at least, Marisa and Byakuren seem to hit it off on the subject of magic use, end-up sidelined by a painfully short theological disconnect ("'youkai' protected from humans" versus "humans protected from 'youkai'"), and it's the last boss who demands the fight. Marisa might have been rude (as always) but Byakuren didn't even try hard.
** {{Alternative|CharacterInterpretation}}ly, given events in ''Silent Sinner In Blue'', where Reimu and Marisa [[spoiler: assist Yukari in her invasion of the Moon (causing Reimu to comment that they were the villains and would lose, which they did)]], it's possible that they were meant to be {{villain protagonist}}s for the duration of UFO in the same vein [[HeelFaceTurn previous bosses became player characters]].
** It's {{invoked|Trope}} in ''Scarlet Weather Rhapsody'', where Tenshi designated herself as the villain [[ForTheLulz because she was bored]].
---> '''Tenshi''': I thought, "I want to play disaster resolution too." So I caused one. A disaster, I mean.
* ''VideoGame/YggdraUnion'':
** Played with, where the heroes assume that Gulcasa and his army must be evil because they conquered Fantasinia and killed King Ordene. They eventually realize--while invading Gulcasa's country--that they are wrong, but continue their invasion (and in doing so, wipe out a third of Bronquia's able-bodied population ''in this campaign alone'') because they think it's too late to turn back. The Royal Army spends the rest of this part of the game slaughtering civilian militias and the remnants of the Imperial Army, who insist that protagonist, Yggdra, will have to [[GoThroughMe go through them]] if she wants to kill Gulcasa. There's also some vague nonsense about Bronquia trying to bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt by resurrecting an ancient demon, but from the way Gulcasa and his last few generals talk about this planned resurrection, it was actually supposed to be their very last resort in case Fantasinia retaliated by invading them. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Welp.]]
** Following this, we also have [[JerkassWoobie Nessiah]], who is actually quite finished causing trouble throughout the world by the time you find him, and whose current major offense is that he's [[RevengeBeforeReason being a vindictive little shit]].[[note]]He and Gulcasa, who you have just killed at this point, were ''[[VideoGame/BlazeUnion very]] [[OfficialCouple close]].''[[/note]] Nessiah congratulates you on your victory by making a PeoplePuppet of your recently deceased friend, Kylier, and forcing you to fight her. (Incidentally, Kylier herself [[SympathyForTheDevil actually says outright that she doesn't hold it against him.]]) At this point of the game, all he wants to do is [[spoiler:leave the world of Ancardia and finally get revenge on Asgard for the wrongs done to him--and Asgard is run by the true BigBad of the series and Nessiah's people are subject to horrific levels of FantasticRacism even when they're ''not'' marching out of step]]. If he succeeded, the world would be a much better place; if he died trying, well, it wouldn't be any skin off the Royal Army's nose; either way he wouldn't be your problem any longer. Instead, the Royal Army insists that he must be killed in order to prevent any possible negative consequences for the world of Ancardia.
* ''VideoGame/Sly3HonorAmongThieves''
** The game, given its tendency to use GreyAndGrayMorality, [[TropesAreNotBad uses this in-universe quite well]] with BigBad [[MadScientist Dr. M]]. [[spoiler:He's fighting off the Cooper gang and is held at gunpoint by Inspector Carmelita for it. He points out that since he ''legally owns the island where the treasure is (and by extension, the treasure hidden there)'', he is simply defending himself and his property from a group of wanted, notorious criminals who are attacking his home, henchmen, and trashing the place.]]
** M also plays the trope straight. The reason Sly goes up against him is to get his hands on a huge amount of gold and treasure that M is trying to steal. Sly claims the treasure belongs to him, since it was amassed by Sly's ancestors. The problem with that claim is that nearly all of the treasure was obtained through theft, so Sly has just as much right to it as M does - which is to say none at all.
* Daleth from ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'' is a literal example. [[spoiler:He was created by the Center to be the anti-Messiah so the main character can defeat him and grow more popular.]]
** And ironically, [[spoiler:he's one of the few named characters, aside from the protagonist and Hiroko, to have a happy ending. He even gets a pretty girl who loves him dearly. Beth, Gimmel and potentially Zayin, all intended to be heroes, end up dead.]]
* Most of the Portrait Ghosts in ''VideoGame/LuigisMansion'' don't even attack, and seem fairly content with just hanging around the mansion. Keep in mind Luigi isn't a DesignatedHero, he's just making sure all the ghosts are captured and some of them happen to be the said villains.
* While this is debatable, in ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'', the NOL is straddling this line. For the most part, the organization is filled with lots and lots of {{Punch Clock Villain}}s, who were doing their jobs for their paycheck, and they truly believed in their goal in creating a peaceful world free of conflicts. However, because Ragna mainly opposes them and they employ several villains like Hazama and Relius, combined with the fact that they are mainly composed of rich people and make up some dictatorship rule ([[WellIntentionedExtremist even if it's for preventing total chaos]]), it becomes easy to paint them as a tyrannical group of villains or a merciless [[TheEmpire Empire]] type organization.
* Cao Cao and the Wei forces in ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors'', in keeping with his characterization from ''Literature/RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms''. In fact, the game runs on this. No matter who you play as, the other 2 kingdoms (and minor forces) tend to be painted as the bad guys - which makes sense, since they're trying to unite China under their rule too, so it's a conflict of interest. The [[BlackAndGrayMorality exceptions]] are [[FatBastard Dong Zhuo]] and, to a lesser extent, [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder Lu Bu]].
** Though in recent games, and ''especially'' the eight one, Cao Cao is being treated more as an AntiHero or AntiVillain. Some theorize this is a reaction to Wei's [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff popularity in the West]].
* Played with in ''VideoGame/StarOceanTillTheEndOfTime''. During the search for Amelia, you run into Rodger, and then run into a bandit leader. He was willing to ignore you and go about his way, but the party members kept saying he looked 'evil'. The only reason you fight him is because they wouldn't stop saying that and the bandit snapped.
%%* The Dark Ones in ''VideoGame/{{Metro 2033}}''. Whether or not you choose to treat them as villains is central to the plot.
* Simply going by what the players see, the [[TheEmpire UED]] in ''VideoGame/{{StarCraft|I}}: Brood War'' turn into this. They don't come off as particularly evil when you're playing as them in the Terran campaign, and many players were glad that you force Mengsk off his throne playing as them. Yet in the Zerg campaign you find [[TheHero Jim Raynor]], who loathes Mengsk with passion, and the Protoss, who the UED barely have any contact with, helping Kerrigan try push them out when she ultimately proves to be the worse of two evils.
** There's also the [[AllThereInTheManual backstory]], where the United Powers League (the precursor to the United Earth Directorate) conducts racial cleansing of all Earth citizens, including cyborgs, mutants (including those with PsychicPowers), and other undesirable elements. The original idea is to [[PuttingOnTheReich put them in camps and kill them]]. A scientist suggests using them to colonize a far-away planet, so tens of thousands of them are forcibly placed in [[HumanPopsicle cryo-pods]] and sent in {{Sleeper Starship}}s to that planet. The navigation system malfunctions, and they end up spending decades in warp, ending up in the Koprulu sector. Throughout the struggles of the "colonists", the UPL continues to keep track of them and incorporating some of their technological breakthroughs. After the discovery of the Zerg, the UPL is reorganized into the UED, which sends a fleet to take control of the situation. In this light, it's difficult to see them as anything but villains; assuming, of course, that the UED didn't politically reform at some point, which is entirely possible, as neither of the UED's top officers seemed bothered by the presence of 'undesirables'.
** In the opening cutscene of ''Brood War'', the UED fleet is first seen observing the Zerg overrunning a colony, and it's heavily implied by Gerrard's line about "unleashing them upon men" that the UED is responsible for the attack. When it's clear that the colony is doomed unless help arrives, the fleet...simply leaves. That's pretty villainous behavior. It doesn't make the Dominion the good guys, especially since Mengsk did the exact same thing to his enemies. It's more of a case of EvilVersusEvil.
* In ''[[VideoGame/{{X}} X3: Albion Prelude]]'', the Terrans are evil for demanding justice for a terrorist committing an act of ''genocide'' purely out of racism.
** To be more specific, as far as you can tell in the game, the cause of the Second Terraformer War between the [[PlanetTerra Terrans]] and [[LostColony Argon Federation]] is that Saya Kho suicide-bombed the Torus Aeternal (massive space station ringing Earth's equator) for little reason, an act that killed thousands of Terran civilians and military personnel instantly, then millions more from [[ColonyDrop deorbiting debris]].\\
\\
In a rather extreme case of AllThereInTheManual, the war started because the Terran intelligence services were infiltrating the Community of Planets with the hope of influencing its future course, due largely to the Terrans' paranoia about [[AIIsACrapshoot artificial general intelligence]]. This ended up as a SelfFulfillingProphecy: the Argon began working on AGI combat vessels in order to give their military a fighting chance against the Terrans' technological superiority, then used them to invade the Solar System in a preemptive strike. Saya Kho infiltrated Sol as an agent of the Argon Secret Service; her attack on the Torus was intended to open the way for an Argon invasion of Earth. Doesn't make it right, though.
* [[DesignatedHero Hawke]] can become this to Seeker Cassandra Pentaghast in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII''. No matter how nobly Hawke acts throughout the game, Cassandra will still be certain that s/he is the culprit she is looking for. The game being a deconstruction of the BigBad, she is told multiple times that there is no one at heart to blame. [[spoiler:Although [[WellIntentionedExtremist Anders]] might count, given the events of Act III.]]
* While ''VideoGame/HeavyRain'''s Carter Blake is a {{Jerkass}} RabidCop who has no business being on the force, calling him "psychopathic", as Jayden does, is a tad extreme. He at least seems to ''mean'' well ("The only thing I'm interested in is saving that kid's life!"), and the conclusions he comes to aren't unreasonable. But, ends don't justify means.
* The Reapers in ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'', at least the ones outside the big four, and it's debatable. Really, they're just doing what they're supposed to do, and their killing is actually important to keeping the universe in balance and humanity constantly evolving based on what we learn in secret reports. Also, while Minamimoto and Konishi are obviously villains, Yodai was simply doing his job and Kitaniji [[spoiler:was trying to save the UG from complete destruction with an AssimilationPlot, although Neku and the player don't learn this until after Kitaniji has lost]].
** {{Justified|Trope}} since this is the view of the protagonists who the Reapers are erasing. From their view, the Reapers are just predators and they want to survive.
* The Enclave in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' can come across this way, especially to people unfamiliar with them from the first two games. True they kick the dog in a pretty big way by [[spoiler:hijacking Project Purity and killing your father]], and their leader's plan is pretty horrific when you learn of it. But the subordinates of the Enclave seem more level headed in comparison and more interested in governing the Wasteland rather than destroying it. And considering the Wasteland is a pretty [[CrapsackWorld horrible place to live]] what with the wandering gangs, super mutants, and poor living conditions, and they have by far the most advanced technology available to enforce order albeit with brutal tactics, the player may find himself wishing there was an option to side with them rather than treating them as AlwaysChaoticEvil.
* ''VideoGame/GuildWars2'' gives us Canach as the villain in the ''Secret of Southsun'' and ''Last Stand at Southsun'' arcs. After accidentally inciting some monsters to attack a major city, Canach is arrested, but claims to be a protector of the weak. He eventually disappears in order to sabotage the Consortium he used to work for. The player is ultimately tasked to stop him, which they do. The only problem is, long before you defeat him, you learn that the refugees that had settled the island had been tricked into virtual slavery thanks to the Consortium's contracts and Canach's goal was to end this injustice. Canach only fought the heroes in self-defense when they came after him, and the authorities had been refusing to help the settlers until Canach forced their hand. Ultimately, you fulfill his plan by destroying the odious contracts, but the game still acts like locking Canach up and throwing away the key is a just outcome. Why he was wrong and the heroes were right is never adequately explained.
** The Ascalonian humans suffer a strange form of this retroactively. In the first ''VideoGame/GuildWars'' campaign, you played an Ascalonian forced out of their homeland by the AlwaysChaoticEvil Charr. In order to make the Charr playable in ''VideoGame/GuildWars2'', Arena.net took steps to RetCon their AlwaysChaoticEvil nature, partially by attempting to reframe the war as not a defensive one on the human's part, but a rightful reclamation of land on the Charr's part. In an attempt to make it more ambiguous, a new event was added to the lore after the player's left Ascalon, where the king who remained behind, surrounded by enemies, activated an ancient spell that succeeded in destroying the nearby Charr... but also cursed him and his people to forever wander as ghosts who still think they're fighting the war. This is treated as a MoralEventHorizon for the king and, by extension, the Ascalonians, by humans and Charr alike in the present. There are still two problems with this, however. First, that the king had no idea that would happen. Second, that from what we saw in ''VideoGame/GuildWars'', there was no indication that the humans knew the land used to be owned by the Charr, and the Charr's response was not diplomacy, but casting an apocalyptic spell that reduced the entire region to a barren wasteland for ''at least'' 250 years. Not only that, but the Charr who led the attack were from a faction that is recognized as evil to this day. Despite this, the Charr are treated as being completely justified for [[FantasticRacism hating humans]] and it's treated as something humans should learn to put up with, while bitter, modern descendants of Ascalonians are treated as dangerous zealots.
* Duke Crabtree from Creator/ZapDramatic's ''Ambition''. We're apparently supposed to see him as an egotistical {{jerkass}} who is out to steal your job, but he appears to be far more competent than the player character. He'd probably be better-suited for the job. While we as the detective spend about half of Episode 6 sleeping, Duke is actually doing work. While interrogating Bridget, if you end the interrogation too early, Duke will helpfully inform the player that Bridget contradicted herself and tell us to go back and "nail her." When you are interrogating Bridget near Ted's cell, Duke will ask the valid question of why we are exposing the suspect to a known violent criminal. One possible response to this is to call Duke a meddling creep and then punch him in the face. This results in a game over, but the fact that the option is there in the first place clearly indicates that we're not supposed to like Duke. Duke ''does'' insult the player, but the attentive player should notice that Duke only insults you when you waste time, and [[spoiler: after you get a confession from Bridget]], he stops insulting you entirely and works with you to try and solve the case. Somewhat negated by the fact that [[spoiler:Duke actually becomes genuinely villainous in Episode 10. It is revealed that he is in on the plot to frame Ted Hadrup for murder, and then he hijacks your cab and takes you somewhere to kill you. However, he still qualifies because we're supposed to see him as villainous from the start even though he doesn't do anything particularly villainous before being revealed as EvilAllAlong.]]
** Helen is portrayed as unreasonable and overemotional about [[spoiler: her husband cheating on her. In "The Tryst," telling Yale to break off his affair with Angie and stick with Helen causes you to lose. Yale then mocks you for thinking that having an affair is at all a bad idea, before throwing you out and saying that you have a limited future, unlike him, because having an affair means he has "[[TitleDrop ambition]]".]]
** To a lesser extent, Angie. Presumably the player is meant to share Ted's outrage that she would conclude that a man who threatened to blow up an office building and rambles on about getting his orders from God might just be a ''touch'' crazy.
* Queen Odette from VideoGame/OdinSphere acts cruel and sadistic most of the time, but when it comes down to it, she just wants for everyone to stop breaking into the Netherworld to bring people back to life, and stealing her jewels to create Psyphers to kill more people while corrupting the natural flow of life. The only really villainous things she does revolve around Oswald and his MagicallyBindingContract with her (granted, he wasn't aware of the conditions when the contract was made, but that was because the contract was made by somebody else who didn't have his best interests at heart.) [[spoiler:In fact, when she's finally KilledOffForReal, King Gallon is able to take control of the Netherworld's forces and help trigger Armageddon.]]
* The Vaadwaur in ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline: Delta Rising''. Yes, they're basically [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Space Nazis]] and their leader Gaul has no qualms about gunning down civilians in cold blood. But neither did the Romulans, Klingons, or Cardassians, and the Federation had a detente with them for decades. The Vaadwaur are also an endangered species who used {{Human Popsicle}}s to escape extermination by an alliance fighting back against their imperialism. The real problem, though, is that their enemies the Kobali come off as the DesignatedHero. While they're the Alpha Quadrant nations' ally against the Vaadwaur, the Kobali come off as HolierThanThou with a CultureJustifiesAnything attitude, and for all practical purposes contribute little of worth to TheAlliance ([[http://sto-forum.perfectworld.com/showthread.php?p=22334771#post22334771 their population is going to be fairly low for various reasons]] and their only modern warship was built with Alpha Quadrant technology). Plus, their method of reproduction, basically {{necromancy}}, has drawn many rape comparisons, especially given that they're holding several thousand Vaadwaur cryo tubes and using the failed ones for more stock, along with making use of Vaadwaur battlefield casualties. Gaul [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope jumps off the slippery slope]] in "All that Glitters", but [[spoiler:the storyline reveals that the Vaadwaur high command are all infested with {{Puppeteer Parasite}}s ''except'' for Gaul, suggesting they wouldn't have willingly gone along with his plans]].
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny2'': While [[KnightTemplar Elraine]] is definitely evil, albeit in a well-intentioned way, the goddess she serves, Fortuna, isn't shown doing anything evil at all [[spoiler: until the very end, when she's rejected by the very being she created]], and even helps the heroes return to the present at one point. In fact, she's trying to bring eternal happiness to the world. It's the lengths her Saint goes to to resurrect her (she [[GodsNeedPrayerBadly needs prayer badly]]) that she may not even be aware of (her instructions to her Saints seem to have been pretty vague, along the lines of "find the best way for me to help humanity") really cause the heroes to oppose her presence. At worst, she herself had BlueAndOrangeMorality.
* Crossing over slightly with AdaptationalVillainy, ''VideoGame/DisneysVillainsRevenge'' features the Ringmaster from ''Disney/{{Dumbo}}'' as one of the main antagonists. In the original film, he was hardly evil and the worst he did was lock up Mrs. Jumbo after she had a violent rampage, but one can hardly blame him for this given that elephants are ''dangerous'' and he didn't know any better. Even in-game, the worst he does is perform an act in which Dumbo is dropped into water to entertain his audience (who laugh at heinous things).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/PvP'':
** Max Powers. Even though he seems to be a nice, cheery, and outgoing person to everyone around him, the entire magazine crew seems to hate him, especially Cole, constantly saying how "evil" he is even though we have almost never seen him do anything objectionable. When the website [[http://www.websnark.com/archives/2004/10/because_i_keep.html Websnark]] did its analysis of Powers, it came to the same conclusions. Kurtz himself admitted that this was close to the truth. Max [[SitcomArchNemesis isn't supposed to be an actual villain]], but instead, one of those guys who is so nice and perfect and successful that it inspires jealous hatred. The closest he comes to "evil" is that he can't see Skull, and only "innocents" can see him. That said, he managed to motivate [[ThoseTwoGuys Roby and Jase]] into becoming physically fit and productive people. [[StatusQuoIsGod It may not have lasted]], but it was a fairly beneficial change [[PygmalionSnapback without nasty consequences]].
** Recently addressed in the comic after a MistakenForGay brief storyline:
--->'''Cole:''' It's not because of a girl, or because you always succeed where I seem to fail. It's just that, well, you're a better person than I am, or ever will be.\\
'''Max:''' Stop it.\\
'''Cole:''' It's true. I'm petty, selfish, jealous, and small. You're none of those things, Max. You never have been. You're a big reminder of just how flawed I am, and how very little I've grown. Sometimes that's hard to be around. But I'd like to try, Max. I'd really like to try.
* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' has an in-universe example as part of a ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' parody. Gandledorf (a CaptainErsatz of Dumbledore) explains why House Wunnybun (the [[CaptainErsatz Ersatz]] Slytherin) must always be treated like scum:
-->"Wunnybun is the house for bad guys. Reward them amiably? Treat them with respect? They may become good. And ''then'' our paperwork would be all screwed up."
* If the heroes of ''Webcomic/{{Sonichu}}'' are the definitions of DesignatedHero, then many of the villains are easily in the Designated Villain spot. Due to a massive case of LifeEmbellished, the author paints various characters this way. The worst case of this is the entirety of issue 10 which has the main characters murder people who amount to nothing more than simple Internet {{Troll}}s.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4352 Baby Blue in a flashback got F's in all spiritual matters -- D in harp. The thing is, we haven't seen her do anything evil at that age; this appears to be]] her StartOfDarkness.
** For what that matters, the Patriarch and most male cast in the Sisterhood Arc can be seen as such. While they are supposed to see them as little more than misogynistic jerks, many readers think that [[CreatorsPet Xanthe]] and her friends go to such [[DisproportionateRetribution extreme]], [[KicktheDog cruel lengths]] when dealing with them that the shallow and perverted antagonists end up being far more [[UnintentionallySympathetic sympathetic]] and [[StrawmanHasaPoint reasonable]] than the [[DesignatedHero Sisterhood]].
* Alejandra in ''Webcomic/LasLindas'' stops at nothing to shut down [[DesignatedHero Mora's]] farm as revenge for all the emotional pain Mora caused her in the past. Her evil deeds include an [[http://laslindas.katbox.net/comic/surprise/ offer to buy the farm at a generous price]], retracting the offer when Mora storms Alej's office with violent hostility, and [[http://laslindas.katbox.net/comic/the-last-straw/ legally purchasing the farm from the bank]] when Mora's plan for exploiting free labor doesn't work out. Alej's [[http://laslindas.katbox.net/comic/clank/ crowning moment of villainy]] came as a response to the hero ''announcing her intentions to commit murder''. And who's supposed to be the villain of this story?
* In ''Webcomic/CthulhuSlippers'' Cthulhu himself is ostensibly the head of the evil [[MegaCorp Cthulhu Corp]] and one of the most evil beings in the universe. In reality he's one of the nicest characters in the story, and though he was present at the end of the world he hasn't actually done anything wrong (penchant for [[HumanResources Girl Scout Cookies]] aside).
* Zig-zagged in ''Webcomic/OneOverZero'' with Junior. He is created to be evil, but as there is not much evil to do, he is in danger to be killed as an one-dimensional character, who only insults his creator constantly. Eventually, he [[spoiler:kills Mock, leaves, commits suicide, then returns (as a ghost), and gets a [[HeelFaceTurn Heel-Face Turn]] near the end of the comic.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'':
** The Goodkind family. A very rich and influential family, they run Goodkind International, Goodkind Research, the Goodkind Trust, etc. They uniformly take the position that they don't hate mutants, they merely understand that mutants represent a terrible threat to baseline humans. Since the Whateley Academy is a [[SuperHeroSchool high school]] for mutants, run by mutants, this makes the Goodkinds the bad guys. Only problem? It's clear that many mutants ''are'' a terrible threat to baseline humans. The Goodkinds do provide a lot of money for Humanity First! which is full of bigots, but they also subsidize the MCO and direct the Knights of Purity. Still, when all the main characters are mutants, anti-mutant = bad.
** They claim that they don't hate mutants, but when you see CEO Bruce Goodkind in private, it's clear that he does. And funding bigots is the least of their crimes against mutants. They also shipping children (including their own son) off to be tortured by a MadScientist who horrifically tortures mutants, for example. However, other, less influential, Goodkinds are actually considered good, or at least neutral, characters. The MCO aren't particularly good guys either, thanks to rampant dog-kicking; the Knights of Purity are an enigma - it's not clear where they stand with two major characters having an argument about this...
** Ayla -- nee Trevor, son of the selfsame Bruce -- Goodkind, a.k.a. Phase, is a mutant, a member of Team Kimba, and one of the main protagonists. This is relevant because the stories written from his perspective seem to make it fairly clear that the Goodkinds do believe in using their considerable wealth and power responsibly and aren't necessarily bad people at all...so long as you're a baseline human, anyway (it doesn't help the mutant cause that Ayla's own mother is clinically mutophobic thanks to a particularly monstrous {{supervillain}} eating her sister alive in front of her when she was six).
** As for the Knights of Purity, they're demonised by Chaka for going after Jolt, an emergent mutant, when Jolt could have easily killed someone (electricity powers). Chaka also points out that they have huge casualty rates, but the KoP go after mutants, usually super villains, and so it's not surprising- they contain mutant threats, and sometimes that can't be done without casualties- sometimes they're the only option or the closest one there.
* Spoofed (to a degree) with Blue Laser in the ''Cheat Commandos'' shorts at ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner''.
** Blue Laser is frequently staked out and attacked by the Commandos (Gunhaver in particular) no matter what they're doing, including [[VillainsOutShopping shopping or having Thanksgiving dinner]]. Gunhaver makes a point of exaggerating the "evil" potential of every action Blue Laser takes. Occasionally, Blue Laser does do evil or pseudo-evil things, but more often than not, they're only opposed to the Commandos because the Commandos are the heroes and Blue Laser are the villains.
** Sometimes, it turns out that whatever innocuous thing Blue Laser was doing actually was meant to help them crush the Cheat Commandos. Like the time the Cheat Commandos busted in on their grocery shopping; they were out shopping because a computer analysis had determined that the moldy grout in the shower was the reason they hadn't yet crushed the Cheat Commandos. Blue Laser is that kind of villain.
* The appropriate ''Website/{{Cracked}}'' list for this page: [[http://www.cracked.com/article_18417_9-famous-movie-villains-who-were-right-all-along.html "Nine famous movie villains who were right all along"]][[note]]Several like the Sauron example are ''highly'' questionable and require seeing things in the story that are never even hinted at[[/note]].
** Also this list of [[http://www.cracked.com/article_20043_5-famous-video-game-villains-who-are-actually-victim.html 5 Famous Video Game Villains Who are Actually the victim]].
* Parodied in Blog/HowToWriteBadlyWell, where the "villain" is trying to [[http://writebadlywell.blogspot.com/2010/10/emphasise-your-villains-bad-qualities.html cure leukaemia]].
* ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'' features a {{deconstruction}} of the traditional superhero/supervillain relationship, wherein the [[VillainProtagonist protagonist]] is only evil because the society he lives in has determined that anyone who is too brainy and unpopular automatically becomes a villain. Doctor Horrible ''tries'' to do evil, but only manages to PokeThePoodle -- at least until the DesignatedHero, Captain Hammer, makes things too personal. [[spoiler:He only wins because [[GoneHorriblyRight his death ray backfires]].]]
* Invoked during TheSharkasmCrew's Mario Party "Let's Play"s. One player tends to get shunned by the others, usually for having a lucky start to their game.
* Invoked and parodied in ''WebVideo/ThirdRateGamer''. If the Evil Rate Gamer didn't [[CardCarryingVillain point out that he's evil]] at every opportunity we wouldn't know.
* [[TheDitz Hugo]], the clone of WebVideo/MatthewSantoro, is portrayed as a villain for not wanting to be locked up in a cage by [[TheLeader Matthew]].
* Evil Lady is this in the web video, ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evsS_rNB9aw So You Wanna Be A Princess]]''. She's booed for being evil despite her only crimes consisting of wearing black, acting grumpy, opposing PuritySue Kayla, and burping after doing the first challenge. She doesn't even bother to cheat at all. [[spoiler:At the end, after a blatant CurbStompBattle that Kayla pulls on her, when the latter is declared a princess, and subsequently, [[CoveredInGunge slimed]], all Evil Lady does is [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere leave the show in a huff.]]]]
* In the various ''Website/GoAnimate'' "Grounded" videos, the person getting grounded becomes this when their punishment comes off [[DisproportionateRetribution as more excessive than needed]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse'':
** Phil the former Plumber [[spoiler: (not the alien monster who took over his body and mind)]] was said by Ben to essentially be less redeemable than Kevin. Sure, Phil was a criminal, but he never did anything as bad as what Kevin had done in the original series. Even without the WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity excuse Kevin had, there wasn't anything inherently preventing Phil [[spoiler: as he was]] from turning over a new leaf. To be fair, only Ben was thinking this way, and he may have not been meant to be agreed with, and TheReveal at the climax of the episode makes it kind of a moot point anyway.
** Charmcaster ''almost'' veers into this, because she has ''no'' villainous goal at all in this series, she just wants to rule her dimension in peace and she needs to be all-powerful to do so. Thus when the artifact making her all-powerful is stolen and has its power drained, she seeks new magic artifacts that are rightfully hers to replace it, and is only considered a villain because the heroes oppose her. The reason she avoids this trope completely is because [[spoiler: she is mentally unwell and being repeatedly manipulated by the downright evil Adwaita, which means that she can NOT be trusted with the power of these artifacts and thus the heroes have a very justified reason for standing in her way.]] Plus Gwen, Rook and Hex all treat her less like a villain and more like someone who just needs to get help, which also subverts the trope.
* Sissi Delmas was often this during the first season of ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko''. While she was the AlphaBitch, several of the heroes were as guilty of just as reprehensible behavior, including against her and her cronies, yet we are supposed to root for them and against Sissi for no really defined reason. The prequel makes this worse, as it reveals that the heroes' feud against Sissi was [[NiceJobBreakingItHero their fault to begin with]] and she became the AlphaBitch in response. Thankfully, CharacterDevelopment for both parties in the progressing seasons fixed things.
* ''[[Creator/{{Terrytoons}} Deputy Dawg]]'' is a full time case of this. While he at least gets some moments of justice, most of the time we are supposed to root for the mischievous, thieving animals the law abiding dog is trying to keep in line. Used most erroneously in an episode where a beaver is flooding the forest with his dam. Despite the beaver refusing to take it down solely out of pride, Deputy Dawg is the one presented as being unreasonable and ends up humiliated and submitting.
** In a zig-zag, one ''Deputy Dawg'' cartoon had DD running for re-election. The animals rig the election so that Vincent Van Gopher would win and thus get carte blanche to do whatever they wanted with no culpability. But Vince takes his role as deputy to heart and enforces all the laws, much to his pals' chagrin.
* Most of [[MinionWithAnFInEvil the Urpneys]] in ''WesternAnimation/TheDreamstone'', but especially [[TheDragAlong Frizz and Nug]]. The heroes generally consider them [[VillainBallMagnet the highest form of scum]], however in early episodes they were more or less established as unwilling slaves of Zordrak who got their numbers thinned out the longer he had to wait to get the stone. Even their zeal and motives come off far less petty than the heroes, who inflict DisproportionateRetribution on them every time they try to [[PokeThePoodle give them nightmares]]. Later episodes made some tweaks to ease their treatment and allow the heroes to look genuinely heroic against them, but even then they're primarily sympathetic bumblers over evil in any way.
* PlayedForLaughs with Melvin in ''WesternAnimation/DuckDodgers''. The episode where he appeared suggested people should hate him for opening a rival restaurant next to I.M. Neighborly's and taking Neighborly's customers away by offering them free sodas. It also suggested that it was okay for Dodgers and Neighborly to sabotage Melvin's in a way that, in real life, would get them arrested for not only damaging private property but also endangering the lives of everyone inside. Dodgers treated it like a space battle.
* ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'':
** It has the unique distinction of having Designated {{Villain Protagonist}}s, in the form of the Eds. They [[ButtMonkey always lose and end up being treated like crap]] by the end of nearly every episode, and Eddy is the only one that ever deserves any of it, even if they didn't even do anything that bad. Add to this the fact that most of the rest of the cast [[KarmaHoudini gets away with]] being [[{{Jerkass}} insufferable little assholes]] who are unconditionally mean to the Eds with {{l|awOfDisproportionateResponse}}ittle or [[KafkaKomedy no]] provocation.
** Though Eddy's main schtick is [[AmbitionIsEvil scamming the other kids and being exceptionally greedy]], he's often forced to pay the price for attempting legitimate business ventures. More often than not, he (or the other Eds) put a lot of effort into these businesses. An example of this is an incredibly elaborate theme park ride that showcases the sort of BambooTechnology we might expect from the future, not unlike the kind people ride frequently at Disney World. [[spoiler:They eventually manage to break out of their role in TheMovie.]]
** Jimmy sometimes. Although Jimmy was wrong for framing Ed and Edd (when he should have only targeted Eddy) in "If It Smells Like An Ed," we're supposed to feel sorry for Eddy since he was punished for a prank, while his unfortunate friends were guilty by association.
* There's a few cases on ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' when characters are designated villains as the result of a wish (Jorgen in "Action Packed", the popular kids in "[[HalloweenEpisode Scary Godparents]]", as well as Timmy himself in "Nega Timmy") or the circumstances, as Tootie in "Dread and Breakfast".
** Oddly enough, Timmy is this in "The Masked Magician". Bickles came dangerously close to destroying Dimmsdale simply because Timmy (unknowingly!) showed up his own magic show, and yet its Timmy that's presented as being in the wrong and the one who has to apologize in the end!
* Blendin Blandin of ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' is portrayed as an antagonist for being a stressed-out guy who doesn't want 12-year-old twins Dipper and Mabel using a time machine device because it's his own property. This unfair treatment is brought up in "Blendin's Game", where the twins make it up to him for unintentionally ruining his life.
** In his second appearance he ''does'' claim he'll use his Time Wish to ensure Dipper and Mabel were never born which seems like DisproportionateRetribution, but of course this could've simply been a bluff (especially since he already threatened to go back in time and prevent their birth at the end of his debut episode, and yet seemingly never got around to it).
* PlayedForLaughs with The Beekeeper from ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyTest.'' Unlike the other villains, who want to take over or destroy the world, The Beekeeper just wants to get kids to eat healthier. The characters even lampshade that this wouldn't be a bad thing if he wasn't so crazy about it.
** Luckily, by "Johnny Holiday", The Beekeeper is no longer an antagonist, as both he and the Tests team up to create a holiday in which free candy (or rather, honey bars) are given out. Thus, after this episode, [[ChuckCunninghamSyndrome The Beekeeper hasn't been seen since.]]
** Played straight in, among other episodes, "Johnny Test in 3D" - the hotel manager is the bad guy simply for trying to enforce the no-pets policy.
** Sunblock Mom is an antagonist in "Sunshine Malibu Johnny" for trying to get Johnny to put on sunscreen. Subverted when the episode ends with Johnny stuck in bed suffering from a bad sunburn because he didn't put on the sunscreen.
* In the pilot episode of ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'', an American Senator has a proposal to rid the world of nuclear weapons by having Superman work round-the-clock to dismantle the nukes of every country on Earth (it's implied that all the countries agreed to this). While he's outlining the proposal, an angry American General stands up and declares that he shouldn't do it because "Those weapons are our only defense against aggression!" (in this continuity, the Earth had just barely escaped an alien invasion by {{ComicBook/Darkseid}}...and a {{brainwashed|AndCrazy}} Franchise/{{Superman}} as well...only a few years earlier). The American general is accused of warmongering and shamed into silence and the nuclear disarmament begins. Then, after all the nukes in the world are disarmed, it turns out that the Senator was actually an evil alien in disguise and the disarmament plan he proposed was intended to keep the nations of Earth from destroying the alien ships that were about to invade. Oops. Guess you should have listened to the warmongering American General in the first place, eh? [[note]]The funniest part of that episode is that when the invasion began, the Senator (who hadn't yet been revealed as an alien) appeared on television and announced that "no one could have predicted this would happen". Well, no one except for, um, the American General who said those nukes were, quote, "our only defense against aggression".[[/note]] This is clearly [[TakeThat satirizing]] the plot of ''Film/SupermanIVTheQuestForPeace.''
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Iron Will runs a legitimate business in [[GrewASpine assertiveness training]] (although its practices are arguably somewhat extreme). However, [[ShrinkingViolet Fluttershy]] takes his lessons too far and [[JerkassBall becomes a fearsome bully]]. While her friends choose to blame Iron Will, [[SubvertedTrope Fluttershy instead takes responsibility for her actions.]] While Iron Will still sort of acts as the antagonist in the final scene, he's never really shown as in the wrong, just rude. While he suggests that he's going to be violent towards the end, at this point he thinks Fluttershy is trying to avoid paying him, and has effectively stolen from him. She then goes and admits that since she wasn't 100% satisfied, she doesn't have to pay and Iron Will accepts this after making sure (probably the first time anyone has actually used that tidbit) without conflict and learns from the experience. Played Straight outside of the show, where Iron Will is often grouped with the show's actual villains in merchandise.
*** This is [[SubvertedTrope subverted again]] in ''[[Comics/MyLittlePonyFriendsForever MLP: Friends Forever]] Issue #10.'' In the very beginning, he's angrily searching through Ponyville for Fluttershy, but the Mane characters are actually surprised that he's looking for her for some anger management rather than retribution. It's revealed that he's not really a bad guy so much that he has anger issues, and can honestly be a pretty decent person if he tries to be more patient.
** Played with for Trixie in "Boast Busters". Her initial appearance displays her as a showy magician who is merely establishing mystique in a manner very much akin to real life performers. After some of the Mane Six come to the conclusion that she's a braggart and begin heckling her, she reveals herself as a MilesGloriosus, accepts their challenges and makes fools of them to [[SmallNameBigEgo bolster her own image]], even [[KickTheDog bullying Twilight who played no part in the heckling]]. Later, however, a monster [[DisproportionateRetribution destroys her caravan (and presumably causes loss of her livelihood) and none of the protagonists express sympathy for her, but continue to comment on her arrogance]]. While a nasty and arrogant {{Jerkass}}, she's no villain, though.
*** This is later acknowledged in "Magic Duel" when Trixie not only [[WhatTheHellTownspeople calls out the town on this]] but also points out she [[DisproportionateRetribution lost everything]] thanks to what happened in Ponyville. Ironically, she ends up as the BigBad for that episode, having obtained - against the shopkeeper's own advice - the magic mind-control amulet for revenge in the first place. Even the others admit she wasn't ''that'' bad beforehand.
* Happens all the time in ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'', often deliberately due to the skewed naive perspective of the babies:
** Didi hires a dog groomer for Spike. The babies, thinking she's a "dog broomer" who kidnaps dogs, cause all sorts of mayhem for her ("What else could a dog broomer be?"). True, Spike didn't want to get groomed, but that would make Didi the villain here, not the groomer.
** A teenager hired to work in the Java Lava is a bit moody and surly but the babies assume she is Angelica's doll grown huge and try to shrink her by ''pulling out her belly button ring''. And they mess up the coffee shop and when the girl tells everyone that they did it they almost fire her for "blaming it on the pups," but she quits in agitation and disgust before they can.
** Angelica herself in the episode "Silent Angelica". Drew and Charlotte promise to buy her toys if she stays quiet and watches the babies. Angelica actually tries her best to stay quiet but the babies take advantage of this and run wild around the house. Angelica finally snaps after they've caused so much mayhem, but then Drew and Charlotte punish her for it when she had done nothing wrong at all.
** Some of the babies' theories on "villains" run so much on InsaneTrollLogic that it's lucky [[WindmillCrusader some of them aren't even real]]. For example they hear the story of the Sand Man, and worry about the off chance that he may accidentally bury them with too much sand while putting them to sleep. They ultimately come to the conclusion they must ''kill'' the Sandman. Naturally there is no Sandman for them to murder, though they spend most of the episode mistakenly beating up Chuckie's dad in the process.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** Played straight with the tenants Marge invites to live in the house for the holiday. They are supposed to be seen as selfish and evil for constantly complaining, ruining Marge’s Christmas, but this ignores the fact that the only reason she was able to have a Christmas was that she invited an inordinate amount of people to her house, promising them a ludicrous amount of activities which she didn’t have any hope of providing.
** Bart and Homer's attitude towards George Bush Sr in "Two Bad Neighbors". Bush is repeatedly portrayed as a fun-hating sourpuss, despite the fact that a lot of his frustration comes from Bart's annoying behaviour. Homer's beef with Bush is that he's more popular with the neighbours than Homer. The episode ends with Bush having to apologise to both of them and Bart and Homer get away scot free.
*** Played as straight as humanly possible when Bart destroys Bush's memoirs and Homer hears Bush's side. His reaction is "Bart didn't tell me that!", but still attacks Bush.
*** Homer really goes after him because he smacked Bart in the bottom (once). Homer perceived this as taking away his right to raise "a disobedient, smart-alecky son!" Possible FridgeBrilliance in that Bush by doing that, is implying that Homer is a terrible parent (He ''did'' say he's gonna do "something [Bart's] parents should've done a long time ago").
** Itchy and Scratchy are a parody of this in cartoons such as ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry''. It's very rare that Scratchy's even doing ''anything'' before Itchy murders him.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'':
** Plankton in recent episodes, in which he's become much more of an IneffectualSympatheticVillain, and Mr. Krabs is more of a {{Jerkass}} DesignatedHero. The only reason he doesn't become a completely undeserving target of the show's increasing ComedicSociopathy is the few stray episodes where he actually acts like a villain, and the role he takes in [[BigDamnMovie the movie]].
** Squidward comes across this way too, in spite of a few moments here and there where [[LaserGuidedKarma he deserves what he gets coming to him]]. All he really wants is for [=SpongeBob=] and Patrick to allow him some peaceful and quiet time to himself. But apparently wanting some downtime and respite from his loud and obnoxious DesignatedHero neighbor makes Squidward a {{Jerkass}}...somehow. Honestly, many viewers end up sympathizing with Squidward's desire to have some time to himself to relax, away from [=SpongeBob=]'s loudness and intrusiveness.
** Mrs. Puff too. Before she attempted to ''murder'' [=SpongeBob=], all she wanted to do was to not have to deal with [=SpongeBob=]'s bad driving, and because of that, it makes her a {{jerk|ass}} who [[KafkaKomedy deserves the abuse she gets]], DisproportionateRetribution simply because she dislikes [=SpongeBob=], when really, fans sympathize with her because [=SpongeBob=] is un-teachable and Mrs. Puff shouldn't have to put up with him.
* Lapis Lazuli from ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' was introduced as a WellIntentionedExtremist who just wanted to get back to her home. Steven managed to become friends with her, and she has since become TheWoobie to the fanbase that the Crystal Gems have been trying to save. Everything about her character indicates that she's not evil or villainous, but the full version of the updated theme song shows her in a group shot with the three other villains introduced in the show so far. She's a designated villain because the Gems had to fight her in her introduction, despite her HeelFaceTurn since then.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Thundercats 2011}}'' episode "The Duelist and the Drifter", MasterSwordsman the Duelist appears guilty of nothing more than challenging swordsmen to duels for their swords and winning, but is set up as a villain to KidHero Lion-O, who foolishly takes up his challenge unaware of his rep. While the Duelist does eventually prove to be less-than-honorable--he insists that Lion-O DuelToTheDeath and attempts to kill him after Lion-O wins--there's no evidence of wrongdoing before that, apart from goading Lion-O by implying his dead father [[NobodyCallsMeChicken was a coward]], and some unadvertised deck-stacking through the use [[DualWielding of two blades to Lion-O's one]]. After all, he [[SpellMyNameWithAThe introduced himself as]] "the Duelist". It's not his fault that Lion-O failed to pick up on the [[PunnyName homonymic pun]].
* Tom from ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' is usually attacked by Jerry unprovoked. Jerry is portrayed as the hero. No matter what happens, Jerry is viewed as being right and Tom is always punished. The worst examples are when Tom is, in an episode set in the past, ''executed'' when he was ''just doing his job.'' Tom's job in this short was simply defending his home's supplies and nothing malicious.
** Hanna-Barbera did seem to wise up to this in many of their later shorts, which often made Jerry more altrustic and Tom more sadistic and deserving of his abuse. The majority of times Jerry drawn the first blow or got a bit too vindictive in his retribution, [[TeamRocketWins Tom actually claimed a victory]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TotalDramaIsland''
** [[AlphaBitch Heather]] is the legitimate villain of season 1, but after that, she becomes mostly ineffective because everybody knows how manipulative she is. As a result, she goes through seasons 2 and 3 being snarky and rude at times, but never doing anything wrong...and yet, the other characters still constantly act as if she is still evil. Probably the best/worst example is when [[SassyBlackWoman Leshawna]] ''[[DisproportionateRetribution knocked Heather's tooth out]]'' when Heather tried to explain that the new villain, [[VillainSue Alejandro]], was manipulating her; even when Leshawna finds out that this is true, she still openly brags about attacking Heather and never seems to consider that it was completely unjustified.
** Gwen (in-universe) in Action and World Tour.
*** In Action, when Trent's teammates discover that Trent was throwing challenges for Gwen's benefit, they immediately blame her for it, despite her not knowing about it at all. Later, she gets demonized for breaking up with him despite having a perfectly valid reason for doing so, and on the next challenge she repays the favor by throwing a challenge, and voting herself off.
*** In World Tour, she gets the most harassment and blame for Duncan's adultery, even though she wasn't the one who initiated their kiss. This also extends into All-Stars, where she's placed on the Villainous Vultures despite having done more good than bad. To make things worse, every time she tries to apologize or do something nice for Courtney, she ends up either injuring or humiliating her instead, resulting in a delighted Chris telling her she's on the right team after all.
*** In All-Stars, despite the whole love-triangle facade being only partially her fault, she ends up receiving the full blame and the villainous status to accompany it. Immediately getting treated as the "evil boyfriend stealer" and is put on the Villainous Vultures despite "three seasons of niceness".
** Courtney in World Tour. The writers ended the love triangle in a de facto deleted scene with Courtney knocked out by a sandal while Gwen and Duncan happily kiss.
** Lightning in ''Revenge of the Island'', due to needing a villain to accompany Cameron to the finales, but having both of the season's original villains Scott and Jo eliminated a few episodes earlier. Lightning is immediately [[HijackedByGanon granted status as the new]] BigBad, previously being just DumbMuscle who remained fairly neutral (albeit a bit arrogant), he suddenly TookALevelInJerkass (with little reasoning) and becomes the villain Cameron faces-off with in the finales.
** Anne Maria in ''Revenge of the Island''. Because of showing an interest in Mike after becoming Vito for the first time. She is treated as a mistress or someone trying to steal Mike from Zoey despite the fact they weren't actually dating yet. Also, she is only mean when provoked as such by her conflict with Jo or when she lead to believe that Dawn stole her brush. Also, the only reason why she pushed Zoey was because of the fact that Zoey was stepping on Jo's oxygen supply.
** Alejandro in ''All-Stars'', who showed a fair bit of redeeming qualities as he shifts towards AntiHero status after discovering the [[EvilerThanThou greater evil]] that is Mal. However his heroic acts are [[HeelFaceDoorSlam rejected by everyone]] due to his history, and is continuously treated as the real villain up until his elimination.
* ''WesternAnimation/WackyRaces'' has Dick Dastardly as the villain because of his [[DickDastardlyStopsToCheat cheating]], but, in this race, cheating is often the only way for any of the racers to win. Only four of the racers never cheat at all specifically: Peter Perfect, Penelope Pitstop, Lazy Luke and Sergeant Blast. Sure, Dick's schemes involve taking out the other racers, but the rest of them do the same thing (though the majority of the other racers' attempts involve jumping a few places ahead or lifting another racer up and driving under them, while Dick Dastardly's plans are usually more deadly). Some of the other racers that are shown as villainous like him are the Ant Hill Mob, the Slug brothers and the Gruesome Twosome. Dastardly's one victory was reversed after finding out he extended his vehicle when crossing the finishing line. He is disqualified and booed vigorously, despite the fact other episodes featured another racer using the same tactic and winning legitimately, being the only example where he was treated unfairly.
* Ranger Smith to ''WesternAnimation/YogiBear'', he was treated as an antagonist to Yogi even though Ranger Smith is trying to stop Yogi from stealing peoples lunch. In real life, wild animals getting hold of human food is a very serious thing- it can lead animals to associate humans with food, meaning that they have to be killed or relocated to areas where humans are not very plentiful, otherwise the animals might get aggressive and start attacking people. Not that this show's universe have many things in common with real bears.
** Reasoned in one episode, where Ranger Smith finally gets sick of Yogi's antics and delivers a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech on all the felonies he's caused. Yogi defends himself by pointing out the forest belonged to the animals first, then humans such as himself took over and tried to enforce rules onto them. Yogi steals food, but Smith stole his entire habitat.
* Princess Bubblegum of ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'', while [[IDidWhatIHadToDo VERY often]] [[BlueAndOrangeMorality justified]] [[SanitySlippage in this case]], is often portrayed as a [[RonTheDeathEater power-crazed tyrant]] when really she's just an overworked, [[WellIntentionedExtremist Well-Intentioned Extremist]] desperately trying to keep her kingdom of idiotic subjects from falling apart, which means making ''very'' difficult and unpleasant choices.
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