Normally when something bad happens to an individual you feel some degree of pity for them. But then when that person is a Jerkass or an outright monstrous villain, when horrible things happen to them it's less sympathy and more satisfaction (or, at best, just plain apathy). They may or may not be directly responsible for their misfortunes (and ideally, there should be at least the initial appearance that they weren't), but their behavior means something like this was going to happen eventually. This can range from the victim merely being a dick to them being a far worse criminal than the person they are a victim to. If there is a correlation, the response may or may not be disproportionate.
In other words, when a victim-shaped hole in the plot is filled with a character who is sufficiently repugnant, the audience feeling bad about what happened to them is unlikely. The character doesn't have to die or be brutalized, just that they suffer in some way. In some cases, "victim-shaped hole" can mean "victim of non-violent theft". What matters here is that they be victimized in some way, with (at least the appearance of) no fault on their part besides perhaps poor judgement of the danger they were walking into or otherwise innocently (this time, at least) misjudging the situation. If able to confront their attacker, there is a high likelihood they have no idea what earned their ire.
This trope can show up for a variety of reasons, but a common one is to make the criminal (or Non-Malicious Monster) into a Sympathetic Murderer. This is especially likely if the Asshole Victim's dickery is what motivated the criminal to commit the crime in the first place. This often occurs in works that feature an Anti-Hero or Villain Protagonist; their victims are such horrible people that the protagonist looks heroic by comparison, and/or Start of Darkness stories will have the protagonist's first victims be terrible people so they do not lose audience sympathy at the beginning of the tale.
Further, there are structural reasons for engaging in this trope: Given that, in many of these situations, the story requires either a Victim of the Week or an early death to make clear the stakes, putting an asshole of some variety in the corpse-shaped hole in your plot brings up less of the "Tonight, someone will be killed for your entertainment" Fridge Logic.
Sometimes, the Asshole Victim is a Jerkass for the entire time they were alive, or in the cases of a Posthumous Character, in all of the accounts other people share about them. In other cases, though, it may not be apparent that the dead character is not a good person, with the character's transgressions coming to light as their death is investigated.
Contrast Alas, Poor Villain, when a bad guy's death is portrayed in a sympathetic light. Though in recent years, clever writers have found ways to overlap the two.
See also Justified Criminal for the flipside.
Remember that Tropes Are Flexible: whether the character is responsible for their misfortune or not, the important thing is that the narrative spells it out that they aren't meant to be mourned for.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: Characters In-Universe are very happy that a particular character died or experienced some other misfortune.
- Caper Rationalization: Stealing from bad guys is okay.
- Catharsis Factor: When the audience rejoices when a character they hated is killed/severely harmed.
- Death by Racism: A racist dies because of their xenophobia.
- The Dog Bites Back: A villain harms a person, and therefore the very same person causes their death.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: People who avoid consequences all their life don't realize that there will come a day they never get away with their misdeeds and eventually get their much-deserved punishment.
- Karmic Butt-Monkey: Someone who regularly receives deserved misfortunes.
- Karmic Death: A villain dies in a way that fits their misdeeds, not involving the hero(es) killing them.
- Karmic Injury: Somebody is (often non-fatally) injured in a way that fits their misdeeds.
- Karmic Rape: A bad guy is raped in a way that fits their misdeeds (often because they themselves were rapists).
- Karmic Thief: Stealing is okay if you have a good reason.
- Karmic Transformation: When a villain (or just someone who is really unpleasant) gets transformed against their will, usually into something they greatly despise.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Misfortune that matches someone's misdeeds.
- Mugging the Monster: A criminal or bully targets someone who turns out to be more than capable of defending themselves.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Evil actions are portrayed as OK as long as the victim deserves it.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: A traitor is executed because of their treachery.
- Stealing from Thieves: Stealing is okay if it's from someone who stole the thing in the first place.
- A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Someone receives the same mistreatment they showed (or tried showing) others.
- Who Murdered the Asshole: An asshat has died and it is up to the heroes to find out who the murderer is. Because of the victim's unlikable personality, the list of suspects is often quite long.
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- Western Animation
- One of the early Got Milk? commercials (this one) starts with a business executive sadistically firing someone over his cell phone as he crosses the street. He's promptly hit by a truck and goes to "heaven" with all the cookies he could want, but all the milk cartons are empty. Guess where he is...
- This Stand Up To Cancer ad depicts a city full of strange creatures living in a crowded and dirty city. A construction worker discovers a strange blue substance that causes the destruction of his world. Thankfully, these creatures are in fact the Anthropomorphic Personification of Cancer, so nobody really bats an eye.
- Esben and the Witch has Sir Red, who tries repeatedly to get Esben's brothers executed by lying that they told him they could fetch a wonderful or magical item (a dove with feathers of gold, a boar with bristles of silver and gold, a lamp that shines brightly enough to light seven kingdoms, a coverlet that is the most beautiful in the world, and if touched, sounds loudly enough to be heard in eight kingdoms). Sir Red is Hanged in the end, "for his wickedness... and so he got the end he deserved." The brothers are assholes, but not victims, while the witch's daughters are guilty of nothing more than being her daughters.
- More than a few Disney Animated Canon villains fall into this trope. To name but a few:
- Rourke in Atlantis: The Lost Empire is turned into a crystal statue and cut to pieces by his airship's blades; given that he was planning to doom Atlantis to extinction by stealing its crystals, he won't be missed in a hurry.
- Judge Claude Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame is sent plummeting off of Notre Dame cathedral into a lake of molten lead; all in all, a fitting fate for a holier-than-thou religious hypocrite like him.
- Scar from The Lion King (1994) is torn apart by his hyena minions; after killing his brother Mufasa, almost bringing the Pride Lands to ruin, and betraying the hyenas, he more than deserves it.
- Sykes in Oliver & Company is run over by a train; however, seeing as he plagued Fagin, and also had no qualms about harming children or animals, no one will be missing him.
- Kron from Dinosaur gets mauled to death by the Carnotaurus. After being a tyrant to his herd, leaving an injured Bruton to die, and nearly killing Aladar for trying to convince him to take a safer path, this is rightfully deserved.
- Hans in Frozen is arrested by the Arendelle guards and sent back to the Southern Isles to face punishment. Seeing as just moments before he tried to kill Anna and Elsa, he more than deserves it; in the short Frozen Fever, he is punished by being forced to shovel horse shit.
- Examples in Pixar movies include:
- The Incredibles: Syndrome dies a very gruesome death as his cape causes him to be sucked into a jet turbine, but it's hard to feel bad for him considering he was responsible for the senseless murder of countless superheroes, nearly killed the main characters, and had just attempted to kidnap their baby.
- A Bug's Life: Hopper is eaten alive by birds. Given that he and his pack of grasshoppers terrorized the ant colony by extorting their food supply, it's hard too feel sorry for him.
- Cars 2: Grem and Acer is last seen getting themselves beaten up by the bar patrons. Given the dirty job they'll have done they deserve it.
- Coco: Ernesto de La Cruz gets trapped beneath a giant bell and left to be forgotten about in the Land of the Living. Given that he murdered his best friend, Hector and stole his songs, leeching off his talent to become famous, as well as trying to murder Hector's descendant, Miguel, let's just say few tears will be shed for him.
- In Toy Story 3, Lotso-Huggin-Bear is tied to the grill of a truck to deteriorate; given that just moments before he abandoned Woody and his friends to burn in a furnace, it's nothing more than a deserved fate for him.
- In Turning Red, Tyler is attacked by Mei after insulting her mother and family temple having repeatedly bullied her previously.
- Both deaths shown in Igor (Not counting Scamper's many "deaths") come from those who had it coming big time: Dr. Glickenstine who is killed due to a malfunction in his own invention and King Malbert who is crushed by the very weather ray he created.
- Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
- The Serpent Sisters are a pair of criminals whom "Big" Jack Horner hired to steal the map to the Wishing Star. After Jo, who'd bragged about all the murdering the pair did to get the map, makes fun of Jack, who's willing to kill people who works for him for practically no reason, he decides to give her her weight in gold as promise, and uses one of his magical relics to turn her to gold.
- At the end of the movie, Jack himself is about to sink into the imploding Wishing Star, as a result of the other characters ripping up the map after failing to stop him from making a wish. He asks "What did I do to deserve this?" and when the other characters present, all of whom he has tried to kill at various points, merely stare at him, he adds, "I mean what, specifically?" The rest of the cast wasn't trying to kill him as much as thwart his plans, but they aren't terribly sad about his demise.
- Superman: Doomsday: Toyman's death at the hands of Superman (or so Metropolis thought) is horrifying, but he recently killed an innocent 4-year-old girl in cold blood so it's safe to say that he deserved it.
- Titan A.E.
- The Jerkass cockroach chef, who insults Cale and calls humans "unsanitary" (Despite the fact that he serves alien feces and living creatures). When the Drej attack the cafeteria, he seems to care more for the safety of himself and his food than Cale and Korso. Also, his voice is annoying. Therefore, it's hard to call it tragic when the Drej shoot and splatter him all over the wall, especially when he tried to sell out the two humans just to save his own hide seconds before.
- An early conversation between Cale and Tek hints that this could be why humans aren't held in very high regard and are treated with scorn and mockery rather than sympathy after the destruction of Earth. According to Tek, if Cale had bothered to read a history book like instructed, he would know that his people weren't exactly the nicest race in the galaxy before their planet blew up. Now that it has, most of the other aliens aren't inclined to pity or help them.
- After the Drej destroy Earth, how does humanity end up building a new homeworld? Why, harvesting the energy Drej are made of in an inversion of Human Resources to power the device to make a new, viable replacement world!
- Walking with Dinosaurs: After the way Scowler treated Patchi the entire film, it feels deserving when he gets mauled to near-death by Gorgon while the herd leaves him to die.
- "Two Black Cadillacs" by Carrie Underwood is a Revenge Ballad where a cheating man is murdered by his wife and mistress.
- "Goodbye Earl" by The Chicks is about two best-friends, Mary-Anne and Wanda, teaming up to to murder Wanda's abusive ex-husband after he puts her in intensive care.
- "Janie's Got A Gun" by Aerosmith is about a teenage girl who shoots her father after being molested and raped by him.
They said when Janie was arrested
They found him underneath a train
But, man, he had it comin'
Now that Janie's got a gun
She ain't never gonna be the same
- The rake in "The Mariner's Revenge Song" by The Decemberists, big time. He wastes all his money on gambling, booze, and prostitutes, and then saddles an innocent mother and child with his debts, causing them to lose their home. And then, he goes on to become a sadistic whaling captain. Over time, the mother falls ill and dies, but not before telling the son to find the bastard, shatter his fingers, and bury him alive. The wordless, but increasingly frantic tone of the final minute heavily implies that he does just that.
- "I Remember Larry" by "Weird Al" Yankovic has the eponymous Larry pull all sorts of increasingly-horrible pranks on his neighbor, who eventually snaps, ties Larry up in a plastic bag, and leaves him for dead, in the middle of the forest.
- Mercedes Lackey's filk "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night." The Countess, a talentless would-be musician, dies in a locked tower to which her husband has the only other key. But she was such an unpleasant person that:
And one fact most astounding to them quickly came to light—
That every moment of the Count was vouched for on that night.
The castle folk by ones and twos came forward on their own
To swear the Count had never once that night been all alone.
So though the Tower had been locked tight, with two keys to the door,
One his, one hers; the Count of guilt was plain absolved for sure.
- In "Never Again" by Nickelback, a man is fatally shot by his wife when she snaps.
- "38 Years Old" by The Tragically Hip is about a man imprisoned for murdering his sister's rapist.
- "Terror Starts at Home" by Beneath the Sky is another example of this. A man rapes his own daughter and she responds by cutting his penis off. The music video shows it in graphic detail.
- "Testicular Manslaughter" by Cattle Decapitation and "Blunt Force Castration" by Cannibal Corpse are also about a rapist being castrated.
- Alt-Rapper Jesse Dangerously's song "Outfox'd (When Pacifists Attack)" is about one getting what's coming to him:
In broad daylight, hey guys
- The girlfriend's father in The Police song "Once Upon A Daydream".
- Jimmy, from Devo's Smoothnoodlemaps, is an animal abuser, a Domestic Abuser, an Abusive Parent, liar, cheater, thief, Corrupt Corporate Executive, and made a living by "trashing others' lives", but now he's in a wheelchair and Devo don't care.
- Insane Clown Posse has the song "To Catch a Predator", which has Violent J hunting and torturing pedophiles. In the last verse, he chases one onto the lawn and drags him back inside in full view of his neighbors and mailman. Nobody says anything because they know what the guy was.
- Sublime's song "Date Rape", where a man who commits the titular crime feels the bad karma.
- In the video to "Something To Talk About" by Badly Drawn Boy, the duck Marcus accidentally kills in About a Boy becomes this. Apparently, it's been harassing BDB ever since he was a child, eating his mum's pie (for which he was wrongly punished), knocking him over in the streetnote , crapping all over his car and leaving him with a vicious hatred of all ducks. BDB is present to witness its death, and is seen lying on his back cheering at the end.
- After Harley Poe's "Gordon" spends its first half telling about how the titular criminal would cannibalize and molest children, kill stray cats, and a few other sins, the second half tells how he is brutally murdered by the resurrected corpse of his would-be-next rape victim's mother, his demise being celebrated.
- Older Than Feudalism: In Classical Mythology this is a reccurring theme.
- Ouranos and Kronos lose any sympathy points when they are brutally overthrown due to their treatment of their kids. The Olympians often punished mortals for being complete assholes, but were not limited to this.
- Heracles was known for his rages involving lots of death. What sets him apart from some other Greek heroes is the victim usually loses some sympathy by cheating Heracles or being a complete asshole. Heracles usually accepted punishment when he was in the wrong.
- Tantalus was the king of Lydia, who murdered his son and fed him to the Olympians. Disgusted, Zeus sent him to the Underworld, and was punished by being forced to stand in waist-high water, with fruiting trees hanging above him; every time he tried to drink, the water receded and every time he wanted to eat, the branches withdrew (hence our English word "tantalize").
- Sisyphus was a nasty Greek king who violated Sacred Hospitality by having guests killed in order to confiscate their goods. He then took his assholery a step further when Thanatos came to usher him to the Underworld, locking him in a chest for a year. Once Hermes is able to free the god of death from the chest and Sisyphus has to die, he cheats Death again by having his wife not give him the coins for Charon and asking to go back up "just to confront her and get these coins, I promise" but, of course, remaining in the world of the living as long as he can. After that attempt fails, Sisyphus' punishment in the Underworld is to continually try to push a rock up a mountain, but it will always fall back down before it can reach the top, so he has to start all over again. This is usually considered to be a demonstration of the futility of trying to cheat the gods and Fate.
- Norse Mythology: The gods usually come off better than the giants, who were being massive assholes first.
- The Bible: Amnon raped his half-brother Absalom's (half?) sister Tamar. Since his father David evidently felt his own philandering had undercut any authority he had to punish Amnon for this, Absalom eventually took matters into his own hands and had his men assassinate Amnon during a banquet. Drunk on his success, Absalom later rebelled against David, whose Token Evil Teammate Joab managed to catch Absalom at a vulnerable moment and kill him. As the final link in this chain of treachery and murder, David's heir Solomon, in accord with David's instructions on his deathbed, later put Joab to death at his earliest legal opportunity.
- Many later kings qualified, including (but by no means limited to): Nadab, Elah, Zechariah, Shallum, Pekahiah, and Pekah of Israel; Joash and Amon of Judah; Sennacherib of Assyria; and Co-Regent Belshazzar of Bablyon.
- Jehoram of Judah, whom God struck down with some kind of intestinal plague (possibly cholera). As noted in Chronicles, his death was "...to no one's regret..."
- The earlier books feature entire cities' worth of Asshole Victims, most notably Sodom, Gomorrah, and Amalek. In the case of the first two, the two messengers from God could only find six people among their populations who weren't complete scum.
- The Amalekites were a culture of bandits who followed behind the Israelites during the whole "forty years wandering the desert" thing and picked off the children and elderly for the heck of it. Later, their civilizations were reduced to skidmarks on the pavement (err, desert) by Israel.
- The Book of Esther doesn't tell us much about Vashti, except that she refused to obey her husband, King Ahasuerus, and thus lost her crown; we don't even know what happened to her, though most people assume that he had her executed. While this has invited sympathy and even feminist interpretations in modern times, the actual Jewish legends about Vashti paint her as a petty tyrant who forced her Jewish slaves to strip naked and work on the Sabbath. In some versions she refused to obey Ahasuerus' summons out of vanity, having been stricken by some sort of disfigurement as a divine punishment.
- In the gospel of Luke, Jesus Himself challenges this thinking when there were present at that time some who told Him of the Galileans whose blood Pontius Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. To that, He said, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all men living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:2-5)
- In the final judgment in the Book of Revelation, those whose names are not found written in the Book of Life are pretty much considered this by God for their rebellion against Him, whether passively or actively, and will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
- In Guatuso mythology, people who live according to divine will are believed to achieve such a spiritual state that nothing or no one can hurt or kill them (apart from old age or disease), therefore, anyone who dies violently (killed by people or animals) or by accident (drowned, crushed by trees, etc...) is automatically assumed to be this
- Variant in Black Jack Justice: The Stopped Clock, where the wrongly accused killer is the asshole.
- Sick Sad World: Child rapist Roman Polanski is listed among Ted Bundy's would-be victims. It's also mentioned Polanski cheated on his pregnant wife.
- Ted Papakostas presents two Real Life examples in his podcast where the victims deserved their punishments:
- After Hipparchus' failed attempts to seduce Harmodius, he invites Harmodius' little sister to participate at the Panathenaea, only to reject her and disgrace her publicly by saying that she wasn't a virgin (which back then was a huge offense). Harmodius and Aristogeiton are so frustrated that they want to punish him and, during the Panathenaea, they kill him.
- One of Odysseus' comrade, Politis, raped a young girl from Temessis. The citizens of the town killed him by throwing rocks at him. Even Odysseus didn't approve of that action and left, without even burying him respectfully.
- Most recurring characters in The Magnus Archives are some variety of avatar, a being that directly serves one of the fourteen malevolent extradimensional entities that feed on human fear, and all have horrific track records (as well as most of the time being generally unlikable people), so when they're inevitably killed off, it's sometimes a bit of a cathartic moment. Despite this, however, some of their fates are...particularly merciless. Examples include being buried in concrete, being fully erased from existence and replaced, being suffocated by CO2 fire extinguishers, and (in the case of Peter, Jude, Jared, and "Sasha") being literally known to death.
- CHIKARA's Season 14 (2014) was about the feud between CHIKARA and The Flood, the amalgamation of Heel groups out to destroy CHIKARA, led by Deucalion. Over the course of the season, Deucalion destroyed several characters, including some of his own followers. Nobody felt bad for him when CHIKARA Grand Champion Icarus destroyed him with The Estonian Thunderfrog's (one of Deucalion's victims) Hammer of War after their cage match at the Season Finale iPPV Tomorrow Never Dies on December 6th.
- Valkyrie was formed in Shine Wrestling partially to make it harder for Shine officials to punish its members for assaulting baby faces. After Rain lost the SHINE title belt to Ivelisse Vélez and tasked the group with getting it back, Allysin Kay actively started "destroying innocents" as a way to get another title shot. After Kay's Nominal Heel–Face Turn, "innocents" became anything but. Especially when one of them was Tessa Blanchard, who futilely tried to remind Kay that she was a Valkyrie member too.
- While many characters in Survival of the Fittest clearly don't deserve getting killed, there are also many who are enough of a Jerkass to the point where it's hard to sympathize with them. Some of these border on Karmic Death, such as Anthony Burbank (who was repeatedly stabbed in the groin by the same cousin who he had bullied) and Philip Ward (beaten to death by Jimmy Brennan, a character he had previously beaten up in a hockey game in pre-game). A notable aversion, though, would be Monty Pondsworth of v4 pre-game. Although he was the most prominent Jerkass in pre-game, he did not make an appearance on the island, much to the disappointment of many handlers.
- Subverted in Nobilis: one example of play in the second edition rulebook involved an attack on the concept of Treachery that relied on warping reality so that a nice person who had been murdered by her boyfriend retroactively became an Asshole Victim. This would, apparently, have undermined Treachery by mixing in justice where it wasn't supposed to be, undermining reality itself. (Excrucians are frequently nice people, but one must never take that to mean they're good people.)
- A shroud's preferred victim in Anathema is almost certainly this, at least from that individual shroud's perspective. Especially considering that killing a preferred victim actually increases your will to live.
- A background paragraph in Warhammer concerns a duel between a Chaos Champion named Gharad the Ox and an Imperial Elector Count. As the Champion appeared to be winning, the townsfolk (mostly the women) started cheering him on rather than the Count. After his victory, Gharad left the town intact, feeling "obscurely pleased".
- Sometimes, Beastmen are born to human parents. The parents sadly, are often horrified by their child's appearance, leave them in the woods. There they are sometimes found and raised by Beastmen themselves, who often kill the parents. The downside? The kid usually grows up to be as cruel and violent as their fellow Beastmen.
- There's a bunch of these in the book for Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution.
- A racist bully is telekinetically slammed into a locker so hard he has to be hospitalized.
- An alpha bitch dies of an overdose.
- A manipulative bastard working for a shadowy government agency is pushed off the top of a stage.
- A child molester is burned to death.
- An entire building full of torture technicians is killed by the poor kid they were experimenting on.
- Someone who works for the same organization as said torture technicians is brutally maimed by an esper that they were trying to torture/brainwash into submission.
- In Warhammer 40,000, Slaanesh claims all unprotected Eldar souls upon death and subjects them to indescribable torments. It's a little hard to feel sorry for the Eldar Empire since it was their murderous depravity that spawned Slaanesh in the first place. The Craftworld and Exodite Eldar are sympathetic since they were the few Eldar who rejected the hedonism of the rest of the Empire. Indeed, their physical and metaphorical distance from that mess is the reason they survived the initial massacre when Slaanesh was born. The Dark Eldar on the other hand have sunk even further into depravity, placating Slaanesh with the souls and suffering of their victims just so they can have their cake and eat it too. If anyone truly deserved to become Slaanesh's plaything for eternity, it's the Dark Eldar.
- Pretty much anytime Chaos forces turn on each other is an example of this trope. The best example is the Battle of Skalathrax, where the World Eaters were fighting the Emperor's Children. The cold caused a lull in the fighting, until Kharn (later known as the Betrayer) of the World Eaters took a flamer and started setting both sides on fire. Before you start feeling bad about the Emperor's Children, they worship Slaanesh as well.
- Inverted in Kill Doctor Lucky. Dr. Lucky is stated to be a great guy that you all hate for petty reasons.
- In BattleTech one of the first worlds struck by the Clans were ruled by a pair of bandit kingdoms. The Barony of Strang who's leader is a descendant of a Rim Worlds Republic commander, and Santander's Killers who are a band of ruthless pirates who are a constant menace to the Inner Sphere. The Clans did everyone a favor in wiping them out.
- One of the cruelest canon fates in all roleplaying is accorded to Duke Rowan Darkwood in Planescape. Darkwood learns that he can use a specific soul trapped in a crystal as a weapon against the Lady of Pain, allowing him to take her place. It's a deception by the Lady herself; the spell actually traps the user's soul in a crystal and sends it back in time. Darkwood casts the spell, annihilating the soul in the crystal, and is catapulted back in time to endure centuries of torment... torment that will only end when his past self annihilates his soul in order to trap himself in the first place. Although the text doesn't point it out, this is the Lady's little joke; Duke Darkwood constantly proclaimed himself a self-made man, so she provided him a self-made doom.
- Ravenloft: Invoked in the mechanics for cursing individuals across the various editions, where a curse is more likely to take hold if the person invoking the curse feels the victim genuinely deserves it. And yes, this is noted as purely subjective, so villains calling curses down on the heroes who defeated them can benefit from this "deserving target" bonus!
- Zig-Zagged: The title character of Agamemnon (the first play in The Oresteia trilogy) tried to sacrifice his daughter to the gods, and ends up murdered by his wife Clytemnestra and her paramour Aegisthus. Though, if you stop to think about it, it's rather difficult to pinpoint which of them really is the bigger asshole: they both have had their Jerkass Ball moments, but even Clytemnestra’s motivation for killing him rings rather hollow when you consider that she abused her son Orestes and other daughter Electra and neglected her other, other daughter Chrysothemis.
- Aegisthus himself qualifies as an Asshole Victim in The Libation Bearers, the second part of The Oresteia. Oh, and by the way? Aegisthus also murdered Agamemnon's father, Atreus, for feeding Aegisthus' half-brothers to their father, Atreus' brother Thyestes (making Aegisthus a serial kinslayer, if an understandably motivated one). This family is one Asshole Victim after another.
- Played with in "The Cell Block Tango" in Chicago; all the ladies but The Hunyak swear up and down that they didn't do it, but if they did, their victims were such bastards that they utterly deserved it. Whether they are to be believed is open to question (of course their flip-flopping makes it clear that they are obviously lying through their teeth. All that Hunyak says is that she didn't do it, which makes her more believable.)
The Six Merry Murderesses: "[singing] He had it coming! He had it coming! He only had himself to blame! If you'd have been there, if you'd have seen it,..."Velma: "...I BET YA YOU WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME!
- Fred Caisley, the man Roxie Hart killed, is a straight example. While Roxie herself is a fully unrepentant Villain Protagonist, Fred constantly lied to her about having a contact at the cabaret who would get her a spot singing, and he did all of it behind the back of his wife and children.
- Fat Ham: Pap was killed in prison by another convict, but no one's particularly sad since he was an abusive Jerkass and murderer. That said, everyone is still horrified when Rev confesses to having hired the man to murder him.
- A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder: Almost all the D'Ysquiths are so racist, classist, and self-involved that when bastard relation Monty Navarro starts murdering all of them to claim the earldom, the funeral-goers can't help but badmouth the family.
- In Heathers, JD (and less directly, Veronica) kills Heather Chandler, Kurt, and Ram, but not until after the three spent years bullying and abusing their fellow students without any sign of remorse. Deconstructed Trope, as Kurt and Ram have lines in “Beautiful” suggesting they’re not quite as mean as they appear, while the overall story makes the point that they were only high school kids and might have changed given the time and opportunity.
- In Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey II's first live victim is the emotionally abusive father figure Mr. Mushnik, who's not much less of a jerk. Orin Scrivello is another one, for Seymour. Audrey II even uses the line "A lot of folks deserve to die" during the "Feed Me" number when talking about him.
- In Lizzie, the title character murders her father and stepmother. While her stepmother is ambiguous enough that it's hard to say whether she qualifies as this trope or not, her father absolutely does. An abusive father that's been molesting his younger daughter since her childhood? Yeah, ain't no one crying over this guy.
- Consul Karl Baumer in Margin for Error is a Nazi of the least likable sort. When Adolf Hitler is making a speech, he turns up the volume on the radio so loud that nobody hears the gunshot that kills him.
- In the song "I've Got A Little List" from The Mikado, Ko-ko announces that most of the people he would execute as Lord High Executioner would be people of this nature, people that won't be missed. Since the original lyrics can fall under Values Dissonance or not make sense to modern audiences, the lyrics in modern productions tend to be changed to more topical or understandable examples.
- Pirelli in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a Snake Oil Salesman who passes off "piss and ink" as a hair tonic, beats Toby, and tries to blackmail Sweeney.
- Beadle Bamford snaps the neck of a bird Anthony wanted to give to Johanna, sends her to Fogg's Asylum on Judge Turpin's orders, and was responsible for the arrest and transportation of Sweeney himself back when he was Benjamin Barker. And Judge Turpin, the main target of Sweeney's vengeance, is an even bigger bastard, with his creepy lust toward both Sweeney's wife and his daughter kicking off the plot in earnest, as well as doing things like sentencing an eight-year-old boy to death by hanging while not giving a blessed damn about his actual guilt or innocence.
- And in the end, Mrs. Lovett thoroughly deserves her end for locking Toby in the evil basement so that she can have Sweeney kill him, and not letting Sweeney know that his wife was still alive — even leading him to believe that she was dead — because she wanted Sweeney for herself. And after every murder he's committed aside from Judge Turpin, Beadle Bamford, Pirelli and Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd himself also qualifies.
- Beast Wars: Uprising: The Builder Council, to a mech (save one who left early) get killed in the finale, by their own apocalyptic weapon. For extra Laser-Guided Karma, they were only in a position to be killed because they'd put themselves out in the open to gloat. And given the whole Crapsack World nature of the setting is almost entirely their fault... yeah, they got it coming.
- DEATH BATTLE!: Whenever one of the combatants is a villain or at least have done some horrendous things in their rundown, expect this trope to apply to them when they lose. Specific examples include:
- Lex Luthor getting impaled right into his company's logo before being sliced into pieces by Doctor Doom. Considering Lex willingly cured his sick sister of her illness before reinfecting her with said illness just to prove he could cure her to prove a point, it's not that sad of a death.
- Goku Black being turned to roadkill at Super-Speed before being thrown into the Sun at the hands of the Reverse-Flash. This combatant is a self-centered genocidal bastard who presumably committed all the atrocities he did in his home series and in the battle, also killed those civilians. It's safe to say, he earned his death.
- Homelander suffering a long-drawn out death of watching his own heart get ripped out of his body by Omni-Man, being forced to swallow his own heart before having his head crushed in. Homelander is not only a racist asshole who hid his villainous nature and many murders behind a heroic facade, he also personally killed Omni-Man's wife just because she was married to him and Homelander was jealous about the alien getting more attention. Needlessly to say, his gruesome death was deserved.
- Eustace Bagge is abusive towards his dog Courage and in the fight he dresses up as the monster with the intent to kill both Courage and Scooby, which also happens to trigger the fight between the dogs. In the end, not only do Courage and Scooby survive and make up with each other, but Eustace is dragged into the Chest of Demons, imprisoned inside, and gets considered both the casualty and loser of the fight.
- Helluva Boss: The targets of I.M.P. usually turn out to be pretty nasty pieces of work, so you don't feel bad when they meet brutal ends courtesy of the demonic assassins.
- The Lazer Collection has a few in part 5:
- A customer at a restaurant berates the waiter because he ordered his steak cooked "medium rare" and what he got was "medium sort-of-rare" until Dr. Octagonapus—who is apparently the chef—shows up in a Giant Mecha, tells him that his steak was cooked to perfection, and lazers him.
- In the next sketch, it transpires that the owner of the briefcase is cheating on his wife. He coolly dismisses her obvious distress, causing her to run out of the room crying... cue the lazer in the briefcase going off.
- Red vs. Blue: Captain Flowers not only sacrificed both an entire squad of potential sergeant candidates and his own assistant to Sarge, but also used Pvt. Jimmy as a host to implant the Alpha in, resulting in his demise. However, the reason he dies is because he's given aspirin by someone who doesn't realise he has an allergy to the medicine.
- The Influencer Files of I'm a therapist, and my patient is going to be the next school shooter plays this for horror. One story has a terrorist stream his torture of someone with a history of making bigoted and otherwise offensive comments online. While some of the comments about the videos hope the victim will be saved, others believe her past awful behavior means she deserves it. Some people outright express pleasure that she's suffering, one calling it the best stream of the year and another asking if anyone else was getting a boner. Dr. Harper notes that he feels no need to join that particular website now.
- Parodied in this article by The Onion, where upon discovering that the victim of a New York brutal murder, Don Hewson, was a well-known local asshole, the local police have announced that they will not be doing any investigation into who the murderer was for as long as possible and would fine people if they contacted them for evidence over Hewson's death.
- Critical Role: Trent Ikithon is Caleb's Evil Mentor, who spent years torturing and conditioning Caleb and two others into becoming Vollstruckers, culminating with him implanting false memories in Caleb's mind to trick him into murdering his own parents. All encounters the Mighty Nein have with him showcase his sadism, from inviting them over for dinner just to read their minds and poke at their insecurities, to trying to capture their loved ones (Jester's mother and Veth's husband and young son), to setting fire to the Blooming Grove for seemingly no reason other than that Caduceus pissed him off during the aforementioned dinner. When the Nein finally subdue him, Veth and Beau use Sovereign Glue (a magical glue that only comes undone with a Wish-spell) to lock a silencing collar around his neck, and Jester uses that same glue to stick his hands together. Trent is then dragged to the Cobalt Soul Archive and tried, and is locked in the darkest cell in Rexxentrum, unable to talk, unable to move his hands, force-fed, and left with nothing to do but think.
- Escape the Night: It's hard to feel much sympathy for Jesse and DeStorm when they die. Jesse decided to abandon his friends and only has his own stupidity to blame for his death, while DeStorm is a full-blown Jerkass who happily gloats about having killed Alex' girlfriend Lauren.
- Alex Kralie from Marble Hornets definitely qualifies as one. He murdered Jay, Seth, Sarah, Amy, and a man in Rosswood park, indirectly causing Brian's death, and attempting to murder Tim, Jessica, and Brian, yet he still was just another of The Operator's victims when you get down to it.
- Discussed for laughs in an Outside Xbox's Let's Play of Hitman (2016). At one point, Mike kills a security guard and is penalized, since the game deducts points when you kill anyone but the assigned target(s). Mike lamely protests this:
"Yes, non-target kill, but he was a bad man, I'm...fairly sure..."
- Sgt Ducky: Discussed, when Tony returned from the hospital and explained why he had to walk home, Ducky tells the audience that neither he nor his friends felt too bad for him because of what happened during the party since he nearly got them all arrested. The incident where he got vomited on during a house party is famous among the boys because they saw it as divine punishment from the god of brotherhood for betraying his oath to get their friend laid.
- Parodied in The Warp Zone's "PC Gaming in the 90's" video. A boy's Moral Guardian mother walks in on him playing Doom, but he explains that he's slaying demons and doing The Lord's Work. She accepts this and leaves him to it. Later, she walks in on him playing Wolfenstein 3-D but he says he's killing Nazis "just like Grandpa." She accepts this as well. But then she catches him playing Grand Theft Auto and...he's got nothing.