Please don't list this on a work's page as a trope. Examples can go on the work's YMMV tab.
"Some people think I’m in charge of every decision, design or no, of Magic. I’ll get angry letters, for example, where they blame me personally about packaging or translation or tournament software. But hey, it comes with the territory of being one of the faces of the game."
In TV shows or other works produced by a team of people, or where a Long Runner has a long succession of different creators, the fandom or part of it sometimes decides to hate one individual creator to an unhinged degree and blame him or her for everything that ever went wrong with the work. Often, the alleged flaws in the person's run/episodes are more generally present in the work as a whole, or habitual to the genre. Still, it is easier to focus the rage upon a single entity, than to admit to that.
Often the result of actual or perceived taking sides in a Broken Base situation. Frequently the result of perceived responsibility for a Dork Age or Canon Discontinuity. Can happen when a person becomes a lightning rod for general Fan Disillusionment, resulting in them being Misblamed.
Of course, if you set yourself up as the public face concerning a work, franchise or even a particular decision, you have to expect this to come with the territory. And if you've made a habit of deliberately needling fans in other areas, it is not wise to expect much charity from them.
Contrast Protection from Editors and Creator Worship.
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An odd example is Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, with the husband and wife team of director Mitsuo Fukuda and head script writer Chiaki Morosawa. They are responsible for some of the problems that afflicted the series; rather infamously, late in the show's run an animator blogged about Morosawa's perpetual tardiness with the scripts, which forced them to add lots of Padding. However, the fandom tends to exaggerate this wildly, and gladly parrots off a number of unflattering and never confirmed rumors on request, out of pure hatred for both of them ("Fukuda hates America because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and based off Blue Cosmos and ZAFT over them"; "Cagalli got demoted to extra because Morosawa hates her voice actress personally", etc). All this is on top of the accusation that Kira Yamato and Lacus Clyne are their Mary SueAuthor Avatars, used to explain why they win and look good doing so (The fact that Rie Tanaka said that Lacus is a difficult role for her in an interview certainly didn't help matters.) Some have even gone so far as to blame Morosawa's perpetual illness for the Development Hell that's delayed the rumored SEED conclusion movie for over five years - to the creepy point of hoping she dies of it as "punishment" for "ruining" the series", and there are also rumors about other "fans" deliberately mistranslating canon material to make Fukuda and Morosawa look worse than they truly are or were.
Chiaki Kon is responsible for most of the problems that plagued the anime adaptions of Higurashi and Umineko no Naku Koro ni (so much so that the original writer had to step on board and supervise the second season of the former). But that doesn't stop the fans of the Sound Novels for portraying her in the most negative light possible and some even take the blame also on Studio DEEN as well, never mind the studio only produces the anime of the 2 adaptations.
Many Bleach fans hold Kubo Tite responsible for the anime fillers (and for the anime in general, including openings/endings), despite the fact that he has nothing to do with the anime aside of sometimes designing characters for fillers. Probably because he's said he's "more involved" with the anime than normal mangakas. But that doesn't mean he has to be much more involved. (In fact, the Troubled Production of the fourth movie had him asking to have his name removed from the movie credits, as he felt he wasn't involved enough in it.)
For that matter, similar to the Bleach example, manga authors are often credited with/blamed for anything that happens to the animated version of their work. Yes, some like Kubo Tite actually do have involvement with the anime, but sometimes, they're often blamed for parts of the anime that they don't have any control over, especially fillers and pacing.
Several shipping moments in the Fairy Tail anime earn a lot of complaints towards Hiro Mashima. Many of them were anime only, or minor, but greatly played up by the anime. One of the biggest ones even came right after the anime staff proved that they weren't consulting with Mashima for every little change they made either.note They changed a spiky haired silhouette seen in the crowd to a cloaked girl in order to keep consistent with a reveal of who a figure that several characters had been sensing was, only for it to turn out within a few weeks later in the manga that they had been detecting two different people, and it was a man that had been spotted in the crowd.
It's not uncommon for mangaka to be criticized for story elements/ideas/etc. that were actually the editor or publisher's idea (or vice-versa)
While Richard Garfield is largely exempt (he even had a card made of him with the art portraying him as Jesus) from the RAGE of the Unpleasable Fanbase, the current head designer of Magic: The Gathering Mark Rosewater is often blamed for breaking the game's balance.
This is especially funny because he's only the lead designer, not the lead of development. While design tries to get in the general area, it's really development's job to hone the balance to just right.
He catches blame for anything players dislike about the game, whether it involves card design or not! Price of packs goes up? Blame Rosewater. Bad piece of artwork? Blame Rosewater.
It was more than just Dooley. Several DC bigwigs contributed to the Emerald Twilight we got after they nixed Gerard Jones' original versionnote (which in a funny bit of irony, was due to the fact that Jones' version "brought up continuity that 'no one would get', ie the Zamarons", which would later become one of the Green Lantern books' greatest strength). In fact, Paul Levitz, Mike Carlin, Archie Goodwin, and even Denny O'Neil helped Dooley write the outline that Marz was forced to fully write. In fact, infamously in the letters section in Green Lantern Vol 3 #50, a blurb was written that even O'Neil, who had famously written great stories with Hal & the Corps, said that Hal Jordan was "too hard to write" and was "either too nice or a jerk, leaving no lasting impression", while another (from Dooley) stated that Hal was essentially a Flat Character and that things were going to be okay since "nobody was talking about [this] book or even cared about it's central character to any great extent".
Dan Didio, DC Comics editor-in-chief, gets huge amounts of flack for any unpopular turn any DC title takes. While the man has made more than his share of editorial blunders, he gets the blame for just about everything, regardless of whether it was his idea, another exec's, or the writer's, or whether it was something that happened before he came to DC. His antagonistic statements to fans don't help.
And now that he's been bumped up to co-publisher, it's likely he'll get a lot more Mis Blame (Bob Harras is now DC's editor-in-chief while Geoff Johns is Chief Creative Officer).
And it's pretty much the same as Joe Quesada. Again, he did do some really bad stuff, just that many other things are the fault of others like Miller and Bendis. His antagonistic statements to fans don't help either.
Dwayne McDuffie during his run on Justice League of America. Fans would blame McDuffie for every change that happened in the series, such as John Stewart's inclusion over fan favorite Hal Jordan. In response to these complaints, McDuffie started a question and answer thread on message boards, where he would answer fans' questions. It was here that he revealed a lot of roster changes were the result of Editorial Interference. Though, after all his comments were compiled, DC Staff were not happy and he was promptly taken off the title.
What's especially odd is that he got the job after doing so well on the cartoon, but not allowed to do much in the comic. Neither fans nor staff forgave him for this.
Ken Penders for fans of the Sonic the Hedgehog comics. Whether it was for the much-disputed events of Endgame (the twist ending was a direct order from Sega), the Dork Age that some say plagued the comic, or his later attempt to claim ownership of the characters he created despite them being obviously derivative of Sega's creations (and that it was Work-for-Hire) and later suing Sega, he attracts a lot of vitriol in the fandom. This tends to overshadow his contributions which were once widely appreciated by the fandom and still have an impact on the book today.
Every writer who followed Brian K Vaughn on Runaways has been blamed by at least some of the fans for the book's decline in quality, but the last writer, Kathryn Immonen, probably receives the most hate - for all that the fans may have disagreed on the decisions made by the other writers, killing Old Lace was an almost universally-loathed decision.
Gene Yang, the co-writer of Avatar: The Last Airbender post-finale graphic novels get so much for the fan-loathed The Promise and The Search, due to the break up of Zuko and Mai, Sokka and Suki's relationship in limbo and Zuko telling Aang to kill him in The Promise and in addition to the minor role of Toph, Zuko reading a letter from his mother implying that Ozai may not be his father, Azula becoming more crazy, Ursa having her face swapped by the Mother of Faces and Azula running away again after suffering another mental breakdown when her mother fails to recognise her, but also rendering any chances for her redemption in the end unlikely in The Search.
Generally, whenever a movie is considered bad, the first target for criticism is always the director, even though hundreds of people work on any given movie.
Despite the many, many times that he's apologized and felt shame for what he did, Joel Schumacher's name is synonymous to Satan in the ears of many Batman fans due to him directing the execrable Batman & Robin. Most of the blame can be given to the executives for trying to shove product placement into the movie, and Akiva Goldsman for creating the blizzard of puns that Mr. Freeze spouted. (Ironically, Goldsman himself is a self-declared lifelong Batman fan and admitted to tremendously enoying the original 1989 film, which most fans consider far superior to any of Schumacher's efforts.)
Joel Schumacher has also stated that the Batman films were so heavily storyboarded before hand that his creativity as a director was limited.
George Clooney has also apologized for his part in the film, though he was really only doing what he was told. The movie's soundtrack seems to blame Clooney for the disaster; Soul Coughing's "The Bug" has a bridge of the line "George Clooney is Satan" over and over again.
Then, of course, there's George Lucas, who has ruinedStar WarsFOREVER every day since the 1990s and twice on Sundays. Undoubtedly, this is due to his taking the stance that any unpopular changes to the trilogy are specifically consistent with his original vision, leading many to assume he has a hand in unpopular spin-offs he had nothing to do with, besides cashing the checks.
This is particularly noticeable whenever Lucas is blamed for anything in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which he is almost entirely uninvolved in (as he has stated many times) and which he doesn't even really think of as canon (though Lucasfilm itself does). With a few notable exceptions (Shadows of the Empire, The Force Unleashed, etc.) and the occasional executive decision (like the controversial "no Wookiee Jedi" decision) Lucas plays no part in the expanded universe and isn't even generally aware of what's going on; for instance, according to Del Rey's editor Lucas has been told Luke was married to Mara but wasn't informed about Luke and Mara's son.
In any film where he and Steven Spielberg collaborate, he takes blame for whatever people didn't like about it far more than Spielberg does. In the DVD extras on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Spielberg himself seems to throw a little blame Lucas' way. ("I really don't want to do a movie about aliens, George, I already did two. So he says all right, and comes back, 'Okay, now they're not aliens.' Great! 'They're interdimensional beings." *Spielberg Facepalm*). Although Spielberg did take credit for the much-hated fridge-nuking scene, which is unsurprisingly often blamed on Lucas.
Lucas later said Spielberg was only trying to "protect" him by taking the blame. Lucas said he had to convince Spielberg and that he actually made up a dossier with evidence from scientists that if the fridge was lead lined and if he didn't break his neck, the odds of surviving would be "50-50".
And just to add to the pile, Lucas generally gets the blame among film snobs for ending the "New Hollywood" of daring, auteur driven films with his crappy little sci-fi megahit. Somehow those arguments tend not to bring up Spielberg, who pioneered the summer blockbuster; or that right around when Star Wars came out, the directors that defined the '70s weren't exactly hitting critical home runs. (Or that Lucas himself was good friends with Francis Ford Coppola, John Milius, and other noted auteur filmmakers of the era, and even attended the Academy Awards with them.)
Brett Ratner picks up a lot of hate from fans of the X-Men for his role in directing X-Men: The Last Stand. Said fans tend to ignore the fact that Ratner joined the film's production at a relatively late stage (replacing Matthew Vaughn, who had been attached to direct for most of the film's development phase), thus minimizing the amount of creative input he could have possibly had to the movie.
Catherine Hardwicke got this on the first Twilight film, though most of the film's problems were beyond her control (such as the writing and the lack of a budget to work with). She was later fired by the studio after signing on for the sequel because she asked for a higher budget.
Pretty much anyone (not just the Fan Dumb) who didn't like the live action Transformers films will heap most if not all of the blame on director Michael Bay, to the extent that the series was nicknamed "Bayformers" by its detractors. This is particularly unjustified in the case of ROTF, where a lot of issues completely beyond Bay's control (such as a writer's strike) played a significant role in the end result.
Also, co-writer of the second film and writer of the third and fourth films, Ehren Kruger, has been blamed for the horrible writing for the following three films after the 2007 film.
Jean Pierre Jeunet on Alien: Resurrection. He was brought in late into a troubled production and ended up being thrown under the bus by Fox for the film's failure despite most of the film's problems being the fault of either the studio or the screenwriters. The experience caused Jeunet to swear off Hollywood, and he hasn't returned since.
David Fincher suffered this on Alien³. From what is known about what happened, Fincher was brought in late to the production (after several directors and writers, including Renny Harlin and Vincent Ward, left the production due to creative differences). Fincher had to contend with overzealous studio executives who attempted to tell him what and what not to shoot, very little room to alter the script (which was several different drafts bashed together into a vaguely coherent narrative) - which in turn forced him to continually rewrite pages to match already-shot footage, reshoots and the experience of being locked out of the 20th Century Fox editing room during post-production. Almost 20 years later, you can still find fans who lay the entire blame of the film's aesthetic and plot on Fincher - who, at the very least, did what he could to try and salvage the film. An interview with Fincher in the early 00's had him explain that he would have started entirely from scratch if he had his way.
Yet another film in the Alien franchise, Prometheus, has suffered this too in the form of everyone blaming the story's problems on Damon Lindelof, even though he only rewrote drafts by Jon Spaihts and Ridley Scott had one of the largest roles in creating the story.
In Star Wars, R.A. Salvatore got criticisms up to and including death threats for writing the death of Chewbacca, even though it was collectively agreed upon by the higher ups that someone had to die to establish that Anyone Can Die in New Jedi Order, and GL did not expressly tell them not to kill him. One can only imagine what would have happened had the higher ups been allowed to kill off their first (tentative) target, Luke Skywalker. This was reportedly nixed by George Lucas himself.
Perhaps as a form of irony, the former was the one that first penned the clone numbersnote whether they were his numbers or Lucas' is open for debate, as movie novelizations supposedly have closer consultations with Lucas the latter is blamed for (see the Attack of the Clones novelization).
In fact, the numbers of the droids are repeatedly questioned and written off as propaganda by several characters in her novels. And she at least tries to justify the low numbers of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Among parts of the Warrior CatsFan Dumb, Victoria Holmes gets blamed for everything that they think is wrong with the series. Insults range from calling her sexist, insulting almost every word that comes out of her mouth, and the most mindboggling of them all: Fans claiming that she steals all the credit from the other authors, despite the fact that they think she deserves to receive all the blame.
Their hatred of her is even more confusing since she is responsible for all the concepts and ideas behind the series, which the fans love, as well as the plotting and creating the characters. Kate and Cherith, on the other hand, are responsible for the actual writing of the books, which is generally agreed upon to be So Okay, It's Average.
Live Action TV
A large portion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fandom, long after the series' conclusion in 2003, can still be guaranteed to meltdown at the name of Marti Noxon, who they believe personally ensured that Season Six sucked. David Fury and Steven DeKnight sometimes also get this, although in their cases it's more down to off-screen interactions with fans that went bad.
For different factions of Doctor Who fans, either John Nathan-Turner, Eric Saward, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy or Bonnie Langford are personally responsible for everything that went wrong with the show in the later 1980s, up to and including the cancellation in 1989. In the new series, certain old school fans believe that Russell T Davies personally planned his every sentence to defecate on their cornflakes (despite the fact there wouldn't be a new series without him).
The John Nathan-Turner example is particularly odd, as he was producer for a whole decade and there are nearly no fans who hate every single episode of that time. Amazingly, though, they find weird ways to argue JNT only had significant influence on the episodes they didn't like. Stuff like "Oh, for the first couple of years he was finding his feet and had a lot of help. For the last couple of years he'd given up and Andrew Cartmel did all the work." It's all a little far-fetched.
Although a lot of this is skewed in the telling to fit existing prejudices and to unfairly cast blame or deny credit, some of this is not entirely far removed from the truth. The latter, for instance; it's well documented that by the late-1980s Nathan-Turner was more than eager to move on from Doctor Who but for various reasons was kept in the job against his well (partly because no one else wanted it), so his enthusiasm was not exactly at it's highest.
Some of the 'blame JN-T / Colin Baker for everything' stems from an interview Eric Saward gave to a fanzine in 1986, in which among other comments he basically called Nathan-Turner a complete incompetent and outright said that he thought Colin Baker was terrible in the role of the Doctor and should never have been cast. Plenty of fans were quick to use this as evidence that Nathan-Turner and Baker were complete incompetents who were deliberately ruining the show, apparently not stopping to consider that not only were Saward's actions incredibly unprofessional but that, as script editor, he had his own axes to grind and responsibilities for what was going on behind the scenes, both of which were curiously downplayed.
Naturally, now that Steven Moffat has taken over, the official role of Doctor Who Chief Scapegoat has passed to him. As well as the old-school types who blamed Russell T. Davies for absolutely everything bad ever, they're now joined by a certain subset of hardcore RTD fans who seem to feel that he's destroying everything that RTD worked for and planning every single thing he does to destroy the show and spite them personally.
A sizable portion of the Star Trek fandom hates and despises Rick Berman and Brannon Braga. They are referred to jointly as "Bermaga", and much of the fanbase rejoiced that those two weren't involved in the 2009 movie in any way shape or form.
Some people hate Ira Steven Behr for taking a franchise about exploration and science fiction and turning it into a space soap opera.
Fred Freiberger inherited Star Trek from Gene Roddenberry for its 1968-1969 season. Yes, season three, which OPENED with "Spock's Brain" and later gave us "Plato's Stepchildren". This was also the season in which their per-episode budget was cut by (approximately) sixty thousand dollars, several of the original writers had left, and the show was moved to Friday night at 10. There was no fourth season. Freiberger was quoted in an interview in the mid-nineties that to the effect that he'd spent three years in a German POW camp during WWII, but that his time with Star Trek was well into its third decade, since many fans of the original series have continued to blame him for the show's cancellation.
Gene Roddenberry himself has been spared this, though his sudden passing may have something to do with that. The two areas he had the most control of post-TOS were the first movie and the first season of Next Generation, both of which are reviled by most fans. Yet Trek fans seem to mostly forgive him for these (at least compared to what many Star Wars fans think of George Lucas).
Of both Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, Joe Mallozi and Paul Mullie have fallen into this too, even so far as fans looking down on an episode just because they wrote it.
Jim Mallon came in for a lot of this during Mystery Science Theater 3000's run, getting a reputation as a tyrannical producer who had personal issues with just about every cast member, resulting in each cast member being fired. It seems slightly more plausible when you consider that Mallon himself was the longest running original cast member, not relinquishing the role of Gypsy until mid-way through the eighth season... But when you consider that people accused him of firing Joel Hodgson, it seems a little silly — Hodgson created the show, confessed shortly before his departure that he was getting a little bored with it, and agreed to come back for a cameo appearance in the final season.
Mallon earned a hatedom to the point where, when Cinematic Titanic (a Spiritual Successor using most of the "fired" MST3K cast members) released its first episode, it was reportedly released as a torrent under Mallon's name with a note to make it look like he was doing this as revenge against Joel.
And Mallon has recently gotten heat for starting an MST3K website featuring Flash cartoons of the 'bots, voiced by a different group of actors.
In recent interviews Hodgson's been more candid in saying that he and Mallon had some major disagreements starting around season 4 (mainly because Mallon was pushing hard for The Movie and Hodgson wasn't interested), but still emphasizing that his quitting was entirely voluntary and a very difficult decision.
Doug Naylor gets bashed to no end for Series VII and VIII of Red Dwarf, which were written after the splitting-apart of his writing partnership with Rob Grant and were not as well received as the previous six series. The lazy assumption is that Rob Grant was the source of all the best and most sophisticated humour and stories, while Doug Naylor was a lowbrow drooling dead weight leeching off Grant's success. Honestly, one has to assume they've never read Grant's Red Dwarf novel "Backwards", which contains more gross-out humour than all of Series VII and VIII combined.
A rather more charitable — if still probably somewhat simplistic — interpretation is that Grant was responsible for more of the 'comedy' aspect of the series whereas Naylor focused more on the 'science fiction'. It's notable that these seasons (and Series VII especially) tend to focus more on the science fiction concepts than the humour.
Alternatively, it could just be that they work better as a team than apart; it's worth noting that Grant's post-Red Dwarf CV, while more varied and somewhat better received, hasn't exactly set the world on fire either.
There were many factors working against Doug Naylor in Series VII and VIII, including last minute budget cuts, the need to make the series more saleable in foreign markets and the temporary departure of Rimmer actor Chris Barrie. Series X, produced on a low budget for cable network Dave, is generally agreed to be of a far higher quality.
Ryan Murphy, one of the three creators/writers for Glee. To be fair, he arguably screws up the worst and he appears to play Lying Creator the most.
Not helping is the fact that if an artist turns down having a song on "Glee" for whatever reason, Murphy tends to...overreact somewhat.
For fans of Power Rangers everything that went wrong between SPD and Jungle Fury can be blamed on Executive Producer Bruce Kalish. It didn't help his case that immediately after he left the show RPM was made which became an instant fan favorite.
Also not helping Kalish was an interview conducted early on into his taking over the reigns of the show. He made himself the face of the season (in this case, SPD). SPD is generally considered a polarizing season, so the critics latched onto his earlier statement when expressing their displeasure. As he has admitted, Kalish also hurt himself by not watching any of the preceding twelve seasons when he took over (though that was reportedly later rectified) and being under the misconception that he was supposed to outright translate (rather than adapt) Super Sentai.
Kalish is slowly getting vindicated due though thanks to the revelations of Disney's growing disillusionment with the franchise that led to the episode count and funding cuts and its near-cancellations and the fact his cut and paste tenure's looking more and more ambitious compared to the watered down translationPower Rangers Samurai. And Jonathan Tzachor was a base breaker in the first Saban Era...
Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, creators of How I Met Your Mother, got positively vilified by fans for the general shittiness of season 5, oddly enough, both for creating and for breaking up the Barney/Robin pairing. It went worse after the series finale aired.
J. J. Abrams got a lot of this from casual fans of LOST throughout the run of the series, despite only being involved for about half of its first season, and then again briefly to co-write the third season premiere. Damon Lindelof, who co-wrote the pilot with Abrams, went on to run the series with Carlton Cuse after Abrams left. Fans who were in the loop knew to blame Cuse and Lindelof for their frustrations with the series, but the news media often still referred to it as if it were Abrams' show. (To be fair, Abrams was responsible for introducing a few of the show's earliest mysteries, and then leaving it to other writers to explain them.)
Julian Fellowes has become this among the Downton Abbey fandom. Fans even hold him responsible for Matthew's death, even though Dan Stevens was the one who left the show and it's generally agreed that there was no way to write Matthew out that didn't involve killing him. Of course, they also blame him for plenty of things that are his fault, such as his increasing focus on Lady Mary at the expense of other, arguably more interesting characters and the fact that the soap opera quotient has been steadily rising over the past two series and Sybil's death, which - even though the actress was leaving - could have been easily avoided.
Julie Plec has gotten this since she took over as head writer of The Vampire Diaries. Roughly half the fandom considers to be worse than a serbian war criminal. She has been blamed for pairing Damon and Elena and accused of treating loved characters poorly (Bonnie comes to mind), and favoritism towards Damon. She has done herself no favors by making various remarks that she considers the onetime Anti-Villain Damon to be a hero and believes that his needs come first. Some fans see her as being every bit as dangerous and deluded as Stephanie Meyer.
Greg Farshtey, head of BIONICLE's Story Team since 2005, is often seen by part of the fanbase as the one responsible for the story Jumping the Shark — which they can never agree when actually happened, only that it was his work. He gets lots of complaints for shifting out the fantasy aspects, but in reality, these had been all planned ahead way before he ever "laid hands" on the story. He's also often held responsible for de-canonizing romance and trying to make the story Darker and Edgier. There is some merit to the complaints: the alleged faults in the later years' characterizations, the writing style of the books and comics and the entirety of the online serials were mostly Greg's doing. And while he did have a large say in the story (particularly in convincing LEGO to expand it beyond their intended single year), the general direction prior to the line's cancellation was always decided upon by the entire Story Team.
Some fans even believe that he joined the Team in 2003, which most old-school purists consider to be the point when the series started going downhill. Actually, Greg has been writing for the series since day one — he has been behind all of the comics, including the much-acclaimed original run. 2003 was when he started writing the novels (he only wrote one that year, though) and joining online discussions on BZ Power.com. Though the franchise has been conceptualized without him, he has been on board before its official launch.
The For Better or for Worse "newruns." Creator Lynn Johnston had wanted to retire for real, but the syndicate, not wanting to risk losing a slot on the funny pages to another syndicate's strip, decided to put the strip in reruns, with various things updated for the times. However, the retconning that's been going on in these strips is definitely Johnston's own writing.
Professional Wrestling has Vince Russo. Although a lot of his ideas (especially in 2000 in WCW) were mind-breakingly bizarre, anything that is even remotely wrong in TNA is blamed exclusively on him (when he's arguably the sanest of the writers there).
Likewise, Vince McMahon tends to get blamed for everything in WWE, as if he's the one who handles everything.
Given Vince's reputation for nepotism and micromanagement, the fandom may have a point here.
In Mixed Martial Arts, UFC President Dana White is blamed for everything that happens in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, despite the heavy involvement of matchmaker Joe Silva and the actual owners of the UFC, the Fertitta brothers.
Table Top Games
Holden Lee Shearer or John Chambers of Exalted get blamed by various circles for various things. Usually it goes like this: if you hate John Chambers, you blame everything bad about Exalted on him and sing praises of Holden. If you don't like Holden, he gets blamed for ruining favorite topics.
Holden has effectively performed a bait-and-switch with collaborator and fellow Ink Monkey John Mørke, which makes it harder to criticize.
More specifically, he is blamed for the 4th Edition of D&D being "simplified" and alledgedly focusing entirely on combat mechanics rather than roleplaying mechanics, thus making 4e "more like World of Warcraft" than D&D. He's also blamed for eventually killing off 4e entirely at the behest of a "vocal minority" in favor of returning to the allegedly more cumbersome and "inaccessible" rules of previous versions and destroying the "uniqueness" of 4e. He just can't win.
Monte Cook, his predecessor, is blamed for the "powercreep" and "Munchkining" of versions 3.x of Dungeons & Dragons. Mearls stated in several design documents and blog posts that the game was designed to reward specific combinations of feats,classes, and skills, as well as setting up "traps" of sub-optimal combinations, in order to reward rule mastery. His statements about the superiority of wizards over all other classes have also earned him some blame from fans about the broken-ness of wizards in those versions.
Warhammer 40,000 has the notorious Matt Ward, who has accumulated a substantial Hate Dom that accuses him of creating Gamebreaker units, Canon Defilement, ruining the Ultramarines for the fans, turning the Grey Knights into Purity Sues who nevertheless feel a need to butcher and wear their allies as holy ointment for additional protection, and Ret Conning the Necrons into SpaceEgyptians. That said, Ward couldn't do any of this without Games Workshop's consent, and then there are some who blame him for anything else they don't like, such as including the Joakero in the Grey Knights codex (which date back to 2nd edition), or turning/reverting Daemonettes of Slaanesh into more androgynous forms (Ward's not a sculptor). Perhaps in response to this, Games Workshop has started crediting rulebooks to the "Games Workshop design team" rather than attributing a codex or supplement to one lightning rod.
Any poorly received game that is released on any console or format is automatically blamed on Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft, regardless of whether or not those companies had any say in the actual creation of the game beyond funding and maybe localizing it. Likewise, any game that they publish is considered their responsibility. This also happens with other companies that have been known to work with indie or second-party game developers like Square-Enix. To further confound the cycle of hatred and blame, Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft often get blamed for games that don't get released elsewhere in the world when it's not their doing.
Surprisingly inverted with Metroid: Other M. Some uninformed reviewers blamed Team Ninja for most of the game's controversial bits, when in reality, it was Yoshio Sakamoto, the series co-creator, who was responsible.
Also played straight with the same franchise and the same guy: because of the Broken Base that developed around Other M, people are now trying to retroactively label whatever troubles or continuity errors the Metroid Prime subseries experienced as Sakamoto attempting to "sabotage" the games for not fitting with his "vision". Sakamoto wasn't even involved with the Prime games (Retro Studios contacted him once in a while, and that's it). Further more, they have even tried to retroactively suggest that he has been killing the series as early as Super Metroid, widely considered the crown jewel of the franchise, as well try to deemphasize his actual involvement in any other Metroid game for fear that it might paint his career and abilities in a better light than they're willing to admit.
As of 2011, Team Ninja was really let off the hook by the fanbase after the head of Team Ninja (Yosuke Hayashi) said his hands were tied by Sakamoto's control of the project and that he, himself, was a life long Metroid fan. Then when the 25th anniversary came and neither Nintendo or Sakamoto did anything about it, Hayashi and Jessica Martin (Samus's VA) both recorded personal messages of congratulations for the series. In addition, Martin, whose acting was controversial at the time, became an active member of the fandom, even recording a Happy New Years message for the 10/11 New Years to the fandomat the height of the backlash to her acting, really led to fans warming up to her. Those two things combined really forced the inversion of this trope on it's head and got it all redirected back towards Sakamoto, creating the Broken Base.
A lot of The Legend of Zelda fans blame Eiji Aonuma, the current main producer of the series, of every single thing that is supposedly wrong with the series nowadays. Of course, when they see something that goes right for them, then they praise Miyamoto for it. Classy, isn't it?...
The Hate Dumb of Pokémon would have you believe that Shigeru Miyamoto personally designs every single Pokémon and creates every single game - no mention of Game Freak, the company that DEVELOPS the games. He helped produce the Generation I games and was a friend and mentor of the actual creator Satoshi Tajiri, (a name that most people outside of the Pokemon fandom probably don't seem to recognize) but that was back in the nineties.
Nintendo also gets yelled at for not having [Insert Game here] on the Wii's Virtual Console, despite the fact that the submission is the original publishers' decision and permission. Nintendo merely licenses more games than it actually publishes and develops.
And not everyone seems to know that sometimes the publishers aren't actually still around. And sometimes, if they are, they may not always be second or third-party. (Sony and Rare, for example.)
And back to Nintendo again, there are people who believe the company consists solely of Shigeru Miyamoto and nobody else.
If you want to be a game developer, it's pretty much a safe bet that you should work for Electronic Arts or get them to publish you; that way, any criticisms with your game will be treated like it was all EA's doing, even if their involvement in the game was limited to financial support and marketing at best. Sure, they've had their screw-ups, but they're not responsible for everything.
Statesman, also known as Jack Emmert, former lead designer of City of Heroes, is pretty much the de facto hate target for anything anyone dislikes (power changes, necessary or not, game direction, AT design, you name it) until roughly Issue 13, even after Issue 7 when he stepped down to focus on other things. To this day, he still is reviled, and his habit of being blunt to the point of club didn't help things any.
This perception of him hasn't improved since he started work on another superhero MMO, Champions Online, which intends to compete with City of Heroes. Especially as many of the design details revealed so far indicate that he's ready to make many of the same mistakes all over again.
Castle is rapidly becoming the new Hate Target for the playerbase, being the guy who works on (and consequently sometimes makes downward changes to) Powers. Keep in mind that eventually, pure distilled Fan Dumb drove the previous powers guy away from the forums, and Castle is trying really hard not to let that happen to him.
And now, the trope has come full circle - Matt Miller, AKA Positron, is now being blamed for everything bad about the game.
Reggie Fils-Aimé, president of Nintendo of America, tends to get a lot of (mostly) undeserved flack from the Earthbound community, many of whom seem to have decided that he's the sole obstacle to an English release of Mother 3.
Some fans also claim that he was actively trying to prevent Xenoblade, The Last Story, and Pandora's Tower (the "Operation Rainfall" games) from reaching North America. Just look at the comments made on Nintendo World Report's news page about The Last Story being published by XSEED for a North American release... Some fans take it even further, and claim that it's all Reggie's fault that there weren't a lot of games released for the Wii in 2012, despite the fact that NOA doesn't make the games.
Not one of the more high-profile examples, but there are those who blame any bad bit of level design in Doom II: Hell on Earth on Sandy Petersen. He also worked on quite a bit of the original Doom, but that game is generally more highly revered than its sequel.
Street Fighter fans got angry at Yoshinori Ono when he revealed that not only would Street Fighter IV be modeled more closely after Street Fighter II than Street Fighter III, but that the character roster wouldn't include any fighters from SF III due to the setting being a prequel. This was actually an executive mandate from Ono's supervisors, as they wanted to recapture the mainstream popularity and nostalgia of the earlier SF II games instead of focusing only on core players like the SF III trilogy. Ono eventually addressed the lack of SF III fighters by bringing a few of them back for Super Street Fighter IV.
Due to various fiascoes that popped up over the course of Street Fighter X Tekken's development, it was not uncommon for fans to shovel the blame on top of Ono either. However, this mostly dissipated due to Ono's genuine zeal when it came to the titles he was working on as well as news that Ono was so overworked by Capcom that he collapsed of exhaustion and had to be rushed to the hospital (he has since recovered and is back on the job).
The title of scapegoat for World of Warcraft seems to change every expansion. In the first few years, people generally blamed developers Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan and Alex "Furor" Afrasiabi for any and all of the game's shortcomings. In the Burning Crusade era, this title shifted to Tom "Kalgan" Chilton. Since the release of Wrath of the Lich King, however, players have been calling for Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street's head whenever they're particularly unhappy.
Though it has to be said that Furor and Tigole actually *were* responsible for the shortcomings of the vanilla version because Blizzard (inexperienced with creating MMOs) put far too much faith in their judgment, thus creating an endgame that pandered solely to members of big raiding guilds and pidgeonholed all existing classes into specific roles. Only with BC did all of this change.
Ghostcrawler hate originated pretty much solely due to the now-famous "To the ground!" nerf of Retribution Paladins. Oddly enough, Ghostcrawler's existence has rather neatly bisected the community between those that dislike him for nerfing/ruining their favourite class and those that appreciate that at least one member of the development team is supportive enough to at least publicly inform them that their favourite class will be Nerfed/ruined beforehand. That, and he is funny, which in itself is a dividing factor ("OMG be serious!"/"Hahah, cool.").
Way back in WOW classic, Eyonix was the laison between the shaman community and developers. Just after promising that shamans were to be reviewed and have some problems fixed, he was laid up in the hospital for weeks. Lacking his input, the developers didn't make the promised changes. He came back to the forums to face a metric ton of hostility, including a wish for him to be hit by a bus. This inspired a "Bus Shock" meme, based on the shaman's fire/frost/earth shock spells.
Another example for misplaced blame was Tseric. Albeit he was little more than a glorified errand boy for the developers, he took lots of heat for controversial decisions he wasn't responsible for. It didn't help that he usually overplayed his own importance, made promises he couldn't keep, displayed an astonishing amount of ignorance about the classes he was supposed to represent and tried to be a snarky wisecracker towards (partially justified) complainers when it was completely uncalled for.
A good potion of the fanbase will blame every misstep on Chris Metzen, the Vice President of Creative Development, even when it's obviously outside of his department.
Dave "Fargo" Kosak, lead quest designer in Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria and now as of Warlords of Draenor the Lead Narrative Designer (a new position, no one is quite sure what it entails yet), has replaced Metzen as the scapegoat for any storyline complaints.
And nowadays, almost everyone's pointing fingers at Activision for stuff Blizzard does. DPS Being "Dumbed down" in World of Warcraft by making Intellect function the same way as Strength and Agility, meaning Mages will actually look at it when determining their gear? Activision's fault! Never mind that even before the merge people were screaming for that.
Nevermind, either, that Activision-Blizzard is still essentially two distinct entities that are united on paper for record-keeping purposes. Neither group is in charge of the other, and both operate independently. The most that they share besides a letterhead is likely a pool of playtesters and artists.
And likewise, Diablo III's "Always online". Look at all the comments and you'll see "It's Activision's fault." No, that was Blizzard's choice.
Most people who voice disappointment at later Final Fantasy games tend to heap their scorn on Tetsuya Nomura, despite the fact that Nomura was only the character designer for most of these games and not the director. And even then, he wasn't the sole artist, or even the art director for these games that he's credited with directing. They will even blame him for games he wasn't even involved in, such as Final Fantasy XII.
This is probably because of at least one interview in which Nomura himself claimed responsibility for a huge array of overall design decisions in the Final Fantasy series, despite many of them being nothing to do with character design (and almost certainly nothing to do with him). Scapegoating from within the company, perhaps?
The same thing happens with the Kingdom Hearts series (though there he is at least the director), and some of the Hate Dumb even seems to claim he does the art for Dragon Quest. Chew on that for a little while.
This especially got bad for people saying Final Fantasy XIII was a "Nomura game" when his involvement was drawing pictures of the characters. He did not direct it, he was not even the sole artist for the game...it even says so RIGHT THERE IN THE OPENING CREDITS WITHIN THE FIRST TEN MINUTES OF GAMEPLAY. When you're talking about XIII, at least mention the game he's actually directing. (Eg. Final Fantasy XV)
The Final Fantasy XI community tends to blame all problems with the game on global online producer Sage Sundi due to him being the target of most interviews about the game. The truth is that the reason interviews are so uninformative is more due to Executive Meddling from the higher-ups. Sundi does know about the problems with the game and has tried to get them fixed but for the most part, the devs don't listen to him.
Similarly, everything wrong with Final Fantasy XIV is Hiromichi Tanaka's fault, despite who's really responsible for any of the game's many troubles between the executives, the developers, and sheer misfortune being very muddy indeed. This is somewhat understandable given Tanaka volunteered to take responsibility for all of the game's problems (his fault or otherwise) when he stepped down as producer.. except he still sometimes gets loudly and enthusiastically blamed by the community for issues introduced since Naoki Yoshida replaced him.
John Romero gets a lot of flak for his blunders with Daikatana, many of them justified, but a lot of the level design's failures can instead be attributed to the head level designer... Romero's ex-wife.
Not to mention the people calling him some sort of egoist for the tag line "John Romero Is About to Make You His Bitch", even though that and the general exaggeration of his involvement/how much he did was more marketing than anything else.
All of this culminating in a ridiculous event where ex-Romero fans rallied behind Ion Storm's marketing director for insulting him over the phone in an over the top way...even though the marketing director was one of the people responsible for running Ion Storm into the ground and putting the game into Development Hell.
Yuji Naka may have been responsible for a number of Sonic quality issues during the Classic era, but he'll even get blamed for games he was clearly never involved in. A particularly egregious example of this is giving him flack for 2008's Sonic Unleashed, when Naka hadn't even been part of Sonic Team since 2005 (and had little to no involvement with any Sonic game since Sonic Adventure 2).
Other Classic-era games Naka was never involved in: Sonic CDnote Amusingly, Naoto Ohshima has said that this game (fondly remembered by fans) would have turned out even better had Naka been part of the development team, Sonic Spinball, any of the 8-bit Master System/Game Gear titles, Sonic 3D Blast, and Sonic R.
Nowadays, the person most likely to get the blame for anything going wrong in the Sonic franchise is Takashi Iizuka, longtime producer for the series. However, his involvement in some of the series' worst games of Sonic's Dork Age was limited (in the credits for Sonic '06, Iizuka's name only appears in the "Special Thanks" section).
If it's not Iizuka drawing the ire of Sonic's infamously unpleaseable fanbase, it's Dimps, the developers of all the portable Sonic titles since 2001. Common complaints tend to focus on the use/misuse of momentum and the overabundance of dash-pads (and cheap death). The fact that the Rush engine was the base for Sonic 4 caused a large segment of the fandom to go ballistic even before the game was released.
Natsume is often blamed for every bad thing in the Harvest Moon franchise. While their localizations do tend to have glitches the originals don't, features are sometimes taken out, they Bowdlerise, and their translations are far from perfect, they do not make the games. Marvelous does, and even then they began with the Game Boy Advance (before it was in the hands of Pack-In-Video and later Victor Interactive Software; the latter which was eventually acquired by Marvelous).
Lord Kat actually referenced this during one of his "Until We Win" segments, noting that one particularly bad game, although it had the LJN rainbow on the box, was actually developed by Rare.
David Gaider is this to certain portions of the Dragon Age fandom, mostly because he is the most well known person involved with the franchise (having written the accompanying books and well as writing for the games). Despite the fact that he is a writer, he will often be blamed for programming mistakes and blamed for characters that he didn't write. When fans aren't blaming him for every fault in the story anyway.
Insomniac Games have been blamed for Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly even though they had nothing to do with it or any of the following Spyro games.
The cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3 has caused absolutely no shortage of anger at Capcom. Some of that anger, however, was misdirected at Keiji Inafune, creator of the franchise and leader of the Legends 3 project (this being a game Inafune, himself, wanted to create for years): a major reason for the flack, according to his detractors, is that his leaving Capcom prompted them to cancel Legends 3.
In the case of Mass Effect 3, executive producer Casey Hudson and lead writer Mac Walters has been blamed for nearly every single of the fandom's issues with the game. This stems from one of the writers revealing that Walters & Hudson were the ones behind the very controversial ending to the game, and didn't reveal their plans to the other writers until it was too late to change things.
They do share some of the fandom hate... with EA. Broadly speaking, there are two popular opinions: that it's the entirely and solely fault of EA's Corrupt Corporate Executives, or that it's the entirely and solely fault of the writers and their Protection from Editors. The two factions... don't get along, especially because they tend to put whoever they aren't blaming on a pedestal, convinced that the game would be perfect if it weren't for those other guys. The DLC as well as the widely loathed endings were the most common things people blamed EA/Bioware for. All of this though the actual responsability (probably) falls on both parties - Casey Hudson would be to blame for the Gainax Ending, and EA for the attempt to turn a very popular offline franchise into an online cash cow.
In the case of SNK, the illustrators and character designers Nona and Tatsuhiko "Falcoon" Kanaoka have caught lots of flack from people who don't like their artwork or question their decisions in regards to art and developments in the company's fighting games, specially the much beloved The King of Fighters series. In the case of Nona, the fans question his problems with the rest of the KOF staff in regards to his drawing style, which apparently led him to leave SNK as he felt they were asking him to "simplyfy his style"; in the case of Falcoon, people even used the rumors about his supposed homosexuality note (which, understandably, has neither been denied nor confirmed by him in interviews) to pick apart his work as designer and producer.
Notch, creator of Minecraft gets blamed for nearly any change that fandom hates. Notch had stepped down from the game back in November 2011 and had let Jeb take over, yet people will still praise or hate Notch for anything that changes in the game.
David Goldfarb, one of the lead developers of Video Game/PAYDAY 2, routinely gets blamed for any changes made to the game that the fandom doesn't like and they blame the "downfall" of the game on David just because of his previous involvement with the Battlefield games and how David said he had some influence on the developers during the alpha stages of PAYDAY 2. However, most changes made to the game are decided by the development team as a whole rather than just one or two people.
Quick: want to generate a Flame War among Silent Hillfans? Ask who caused the series' Dork Age: Tom Hulett, or Konami. To one half of the fanbase, Hulett, the man who took over as the director of the series after Team Silentnote The original development team, who made thefirstfourgames in the series disbanded, was responsible for everything that went wrong with the series from Silent Hill Origins onward, from questionable creative decisions to changes in gameplay mechanics to the Porting Disaster that was the Silent Hill HD Collection. To the other, Hulett has been the only person keeping the series alive, and it was Konami that broke up Team Silent and passed the franchise off from studio to studio while destroying everything that made the original games great. The only thing they can agree upon is that the series went downhill after Team Silent broke up, and that someone is to blame.
While websites are usually ran by a small crew (or the admin numbers is low), sometimes only the creator/head admin gets heat for controversial changes or issues.
Hopper: "First rule of leadership: Everything is your fault."
John Kricfalusi is widely blamed for the failures of The Ripping Friends and Ren and Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon—ignoring that the former show suffered from horrific meddling (which included throwing out all of the custom poses that Spumco is known for), and the latter show was pushed to be Darker and Edgier due to Spike TV wanting it to be another moneymaker along the lines of South Park.
Showrunner Mike Scully is usually blamed for The Simpsons' nadir in quality and characterization in seasons 9-12. Of course, the fans have been saying the most recent season is the worst ever more or less since the series began (Comic Book Guy's catchphrase "worst episode ever" was coined in relation to The Simpsons in response to a fourth season episode, the fourth season now being considered to be something of a Golden Age). Also, the last episode he wrote was "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation" - which first aired in 2002.
Creator Matt Groening also gets a big heap of blame from unhappy fans. The primary complaint is that he should have ended the show years ago. But Matt was complaining as early as season 5 that how long The Simpsons continues is totally out of his hands. He doesn't have the power to end the show and never did. That's Fox's call. He instead went on to create Futurama and be heaped with praised for taking a more hands-on approach.
Current showrunner Al Jean gets a lot of blame for the latest quality drop, especially considering the fact that he has been the showrunner for over seven years, far longer than anyone else, not to mention that Al Jean was, with then-partner Mike Reiss, showrunner on Seasons 3 and 4, as well as some episodes produced on the side for Season 6 when they did The Critic and Seasons 8 & 9 when they did Teen Angel for Disney. Jean decided to return to The Simpsons in Season 10 when he felt he wanted to return to the show, and Reiss has since returned to The Simpsons as a co-producer.
Transformers: Beast Machines head writer Bob Skir is generally blamed for not doing much to make the series a continuation of Beast Wars, even though then Mainframe Entertainment president Dan Didio (yes, THAT Dan Didio) told him not to watch Beast Wars before becoming involved. His strong online presence at the time backlashed (in part thanks to the jerkass admin of his message board) into him getting most of the blame, while his writing partner Marty Isenberg, who kepts a low profile, was spared most of the flak (and went on to be the head writer for Transformers Animated).
Whether or not he's credited as writing or directing an individual episode isn't as important as one might think. As the executive producer, he oversees the creation of the scripts and approves them before they enter into production, sometimes rewriting them. That said, the original writer(s) tend to escape any blame in favor of targeting Seth.
Also, it is not uncommon for a showrunner or producer to do rewrites or make contributions to an episode but forgo a formal writing credit.
He is very frequently Mis-blamed for the chicken fights and repeated callbacks. Per DVD Commentary, he's not a big fan of either and must be convinced by the rest of the writing staff that those jokes should go in to a given episode.
Paul Tibbit has been blamed for the decline of Sponge Bob Square Pants ever since he replaced Stephen Hillenburg as the Showrunner from Season 4-onwards. Other people blame writers such as Zeus Cervas and Casey Alexander.
Don Bluth has often been blamed for allowing several of his movies to have been made into sequels. While Fievel Goes West is sometimes considered watchable (partly due to nostalgia reasons), all the other stuff—especially The Secret of NIMH 2—is often blamed on him. Other than Bartok the Magnificent, Bluth had nothing to do with any of these sequels. Funny fact Bluth once said that if he ever did direct a follow-up to Secret of NIMH, he listed a few ideas that were present in the actual sequel, but flipped around—i.e. he wanted Timothy to be the villain and Martin to be the protagonist.
And then "Bats" proved a perfect example of this trope in action. The episode was originally misattributed to Meghan McCarthy, and was fairly well-recieved. When she came out and said it wasn't her, but Merriwether Williams, who wrote it, the fandom was suddenly much more inclined to point out the episode's flaws. Makes you wonder if some of her earlier episodes would have been better recieved had they also been miscredited to someone else.
And after Faust stepped down, some fans started making new showrunner Meghan McCarthy out to be a creatively bankrupt Hasbro shillnote you know, just like they said Lauren Faust was when she started obsessed with pandering to fans by approving what are clearlyOC pony designsnote i.e. any pony with the slightest bit of creative flair and having popular antagonist Trixie or even—SHOCK! GASP!—background poniesnote Specifically, Cloudchaser and Roid Rage, two rather unique ponies, appearing in "Wonderbolts Academy". The irony is they had even fewer lines than in their initial appearance reappear!
People who dislike the infamous Alicorn Twilight twist in the Season 3 finale often place the entirety of the blame on the episode's head writer, M.A. Larson, despite the fact that the writers decided as a team on the direction to take the show. More moderate members of the fanbase recognize that the decision wasn't entirely his, and that at worst all he can be blamed for is trying to cram too much material into a single episode.
Chris McCulloch (aka "Jackson Publick", of The Venture Bros.) got the brunt of the hate and blame over several contested writing decisions in Superjail! season 2. While he was story editor and did have the last say on the scripts, some of the ideas that the fans had blamed him for or insisted were Executive Meddling (revelations of backstories, some personality changes, Lord Stingray) wound up actually being the creators' own intent, as they'd wanted to try to break away from a repetitive formula (although the network also encouraged them to find a newer direction as well).
When it comes to Total Drama, almost all of the post-Island recurring writers fall victim to this for one reason or another. Terry McGurrin, Laurie Elliott, and Ed MacDonald are the biggest examples of this trope and the fact that all three contributed to All-Stars doesn't help.