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Bigot with a Crush

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The words that can make any girl's heart flutter: "so deceptively human."

"I hate you because you're a QUEER and a FAG and... kind of attractive..."
Bobcat Goldthwait discussing "Gay-bashing"

So you have a villain of the prejudiced variety. They have some kind of racism, whether fantastical or otherwise. They want privileges, they want segregation, and maybe even genocide. So it stands to reason they couldn't possibly have romantic or sexual desire for a member of the group they hate, right?

Maybe not. Despite all odds, whether it's the target's attitude, spirit, or just appearance, a character with this trope can't help but become fixated on them, often with disastrous results. Often leads to cognitive dissonance or doublethink for the bigot trying to reconcile their beliefs with their romantic or sexual interest, or otherwise attempt to rationalize it by deeming the person an "obvious" exception to the group that they despise. On the other hand, it could also lead to Love Redeems with the character abandoning their old prejudices, with some possible Unfortunate Implications. If the entire society is in on the discrimination, it may result in a Forbidden Love relationship. In Real Life and more realistic works, however, there is usually no redemption for the bigot. Indeed, many people are interested in a certain group precisely because they consider those people inferior and/or Squicky: which usually leads to a Destructive Romance, if it is pursued.

Compare to Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny, where the sexual attraction itself is what the character is opposed to. Some examples of Predator Turned Protector overlap with this, the "predator" belonging to one social group that hunts another social group, then stops hunting them and starts protecting them because of the crush.

A possible Sub-Trope of Villainous Crush, and a definite subtrope of Bigotry Exception and Inconvenient Attraction. A supertrope to Armored Closet Gay and If It's You, It's Okay. Compare Boomerang Bigot and You Are What You Hate for when they are a member of the group they are prejudiced against. Also compare Not Like Other Girls (specifically when a misogynistic man says that to a woman he likes) and You Are a Credit to Your Race. See also Race Fetish and Transgender Fetishization. Contrast Star-Crossed Lovers, where the lovers aren't bigoted themselves but can't be together because they are from bigoted groups.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Osamu Tezuka's Adolf series, Adolf Kaufmann (who is in the Hitler Youth) falls in love with Eliza Gutheimer, a Jewish girl his age (they both have Asian ancestry, however).
  • In Attack on Titan, Reiner is indicated a couple of times to have a crush on Historia, despite being raised from birth believing that the "Eldian" inhabitants of the Walls are Always Chaotic Evil. It is later revealed that Reiner himself is the son of an Eldian woman and a Marleyan father. He learns that apart from being extremely racist towards Eldians, his father is absolutely terrified of what will happen to him if the Marleyan higher-ups find out about his secret.
  • Risa Takabane from See Me After Class is a non-villainous example. She's noted to be a misandrist; however, Yuuki Kagami, a boy, is her love interest and an exception to her bigotry.
  • Flay Allister from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED hates the transhuman Coordinators, but begrudgingly falls in love with the Coordinator main character Kira Yamato.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Kaneki is a half ghoul and sides with his ghoul friends and allies. His former subordinate Mutsuki works for the CCG which is an organization against ghouls, and they become more so to a genocidal point when Numura becomes the leader and vows to exterminate all ghouls while sadistically showcasing the dismembered bodies of ghouls to the public. Mutsuki knows having ties to Kaneki is risky and they are technically against each other but he cannot help but feel romantically and sexually attracted to his former beloved mentor.
  • Bokura no Hentai features the minor character Shirakawa, who is like this. Previously, he was one of Marika's biggest bullies, but after she transitions and starts presenting as feminine, the bully makes his distaste for her new appearance known. It's still heavily implied that he finds her attractive, as he showed signs of this when Marika was still in the closet and simply looked like a very pretty "boy".

    Comic Books 
  • Zigzagged Trope in Requiem Vampire Knight. Heinrich is a Nazi soldier during World War II who discovers that his girlfriend Rebecca is Jewish. This leaves him angry and conflicted at first as he still passionately loves her, but once they both ascend to the hellworld Resurrection after their deaths on Earth, they rekindle their romance. Heinrich abandons his Nazi beliefs after becoming a vampire, although his "friend" Otto (a former SS officer who killed Rebecca on Earth) most certainly hasn't and tries to kill both of them again for being "degenerates".
  • Red Skull:
    • Inverted in Red Skull's original origin story by Stan Lee. In his younger days he fell in love with a Jewish girl, whom he then murdered when she rejected him, and became a Nazi afterwards. Red Skull Incarnate retcons to him being a Dirty Coward and abandoning her to a mob instead.
    • Downplayed in Uncanny Avengers when he brainwashed Scarlet Witch (who happens to be Jewish, Romani, and a mutant) to participate in a short-lived Villain Team-Up. He is struck by her beauty and cradles her hair while she's unconscious, before reminding himself that she's still "subhuman".
  • Blacksad: Inverted in Hans Karup's backstory. In the present, he runs a white supremacist organization responsible for lynching black animals, but he was once an incredibly sweet man married to a black-furred woman. The Arctic Nation poisoned his mind, leading him to start abusing his wife while they were still together until he finally dragged her out of their house in the middle of winter and left her for dead. In the present, his current wife does tell his equally racist underling Huk that Karup likes to screw their black maid behind her back. This isn't true, but Huk (who was looking to get rid of him) believes it.
  • Ms. Marvel supporting character Zoe Zimmer made her debut as a garden-variety Alpha Bitch who bullies our heroine and her friends. In Zoe's first scene, she is incredibly condescending to Nakia regarding her hijab, voicing her "concern" that Nakia might be being forced into wearing it. Through her Character Development, Zoe unlearns her bigotry and eventually comes out as a lesbian - and yes, she's got a giant crush on Nakia.
  • Magneto is a mutant supremacist who has some very unflattering ideas about humanity in general. And yet most of the women he's been romantically and/or sexually involved with have been humans, or at least borderline Homo Sapiens (his wife Magda, Aleytys Forrester, The Wasp).

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This is actually the situation in the darkest of ways with the Big Bad Edwin Epps towards his slave Patsey in 12 Years a Slave. Edwin is a deeply vicious racist and bigoted slave owner who becomes infatuated with and constantly rapes his high-breadwinning slave Patsey, but Word of God is that he actually does love Patsey but his mindset only allows him to express it in violent ways. It's even worse in the book it's based on, where Patsey is only a teenager.
  • Antebellum:
    • Deconstructed with "Him", who forces Veronica to live with him despite being horrifically racist and abusive to black people. Although “crush” might be giving him too much credit since he rapes Veronica and values her solely as an object. In fact, he actually jeopardized his full-scale re-enactment of slavery by specifically choosing to kidnap Veronica.
    • Daniel is a subversion. He is, at first, implied to be one of these, as he chooses to act out the role of a Confederate soldier but is also bashful and tongue-tied around Julia. When she later actively tries to appeal to this part of his personality, though, he brutally beats her.
  • Calvin Candie is one of the most unapologetically racist characters in Django Unchained, owning a plantation's worth of slaves and organizing death matches between them. This doesn't stop him from keeping one of them, Sheba, as a mistress. Meanwhile, Sheba herself clearly enjoys the privileges she derives from being one of his favored house slaves.
  • Europa Europa: Leni, a German girl from the BDM (Bund Deutscher Mädel) becomes attracted to Solly, unaware that he's a Jew who's Hidden in Plain Sight. She's quite committed to the Nazi cause, partly because her father (a Wehrmacht soldier) was killed in the war. Because of this, Solly cannot take things further, especially because he would be found out if she saw his circumcised penis. We're later told that Leni has become pregnant by a different boy.
  • Played very darkly in Hotel Rwanda. The Hutu militia led by Georges Rutaganda plans to wipe out the country's Tutsi population, but not before keeping the women as Sex Slaves for a while.
  • The main protagonist of Jojo Rabbit is a young child in Nazi Germany that dreams of becoming a member of Hitler's personal guard. However, he later finds out his mother was hiding a Jewish girl in their house. As the film goes on, Jojo's distaste for Jews and obsession with Nazis start to waver as he slowly falls in love with her.
  • The Night Porter was controversial in its day because of its subject matter: a Nazi SS officer and a Jewish concentration camp inmate become lovers during the war, and when they run into each other again years later, rekindle their old BDSM relationship.
  • Operation Finale: Played realistically. Klaus Eichmann becomes attracted to Sylvia Hermann, a German Jew whose father immigrated to Argentina after living through the Holocaust but raised her Catholic. Klaus even takes her to a meeting of ex-Nazi fugitives. Sylvia is horrified by the rampant anti-Semitism and abruptly leaves, is only convinced to visit Klaus one more time by her father to gather intelligence on Klaus's father Adolf Eichmann, and Klaus immediately rejects her when she admits that she's a Jew.
  • In Schindler's List:
    • Early in the film, one high-ranked Nazi officer can be seen attending a party with his Polish mistress, in an occupied country that the Nazis intended to depopulate for German expansion.
    • Nazi commander Amon Goeth is not happy to realize that he has a Villainous Crush on his Jewish maid Helen, accusing her of manipulating him. When he's informed that the camp is going to be closed down and all the inmates shipped off to Auschwitz, he considers taking her out into the woods and shooting her in a Mercy Kill. Instead, Schindler convinces him to bargain her away in a card game, which Schindler wins.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: A rare heroic example, Eddie starts the film as a Tragic Bigot who hates Toons because one killed his dear brother. However, he finds himself strongly attracted to Jessica Rabbit and acts chummy with his old friend Betty Boop, which shows that there's more to Eddie and his hatred fully ebbs away by the end as he becomes Fire-Forged Friends with Roger.
  • Gridlestone from Within Our Gates is highly racist towards black people, however he was once married to a black woman and had a child with her. His daughter, the protagonist Sylvia, only learns about her parentage after Gridlestone almost rapes her. This character point isn't explained and contradicts most of Gridlestone's character, so historians believe that it was added in by censors to hide that Sylvia's a Child by Rape.

  • In A Fine Balance, it's shown that despite the village insisting on using the caste system while the rest of India changes, it's not uncommon for higher-caste men to lust after untouchables. One married woman was publicly humiliated for refusing a landlord's advances, and another man pulled a Scarpia Ultimatum on Roopa when her son was facing starvation.
  • The Fundamentalist Evan Daigle has an unrequited crush on the feminist atheist Melissa Jones in Abandon All Hope. Inverted with Sean's unrequited crush on Evan.
  • In Earth's Children, Jondalar provides a sympathetic example, especially as he learns to overcome his prejudice.
    • Jondalar was raised to believe that Neanderthals are merely animals rather than humans; half-Neanderthal children and sex with "flatheads" are considered especially repulsive. When Jondalar finds out his love interest Ayla was raised by Neanderthals (the Clan) and has a hybrid son, his first response is disgust, upsetting Ayla. However, Jondalar realises he still loves Ayla and could never think of her as tainted. He also realises there's now irrefutable proof "flatheads" are actually human; he'd already begun to suspect this after a close encounter with some Neanderthals and Ayla's upbringing only cinches that. Jondalar feels ashamed of his reaction and apologizes to Ayla; she forgives him as she accepts that it's a culture-wide issue rather than specific to Jondalar (his views are comparatively tame; he doesn't understand why some people get so hostile about "flatheads" and dislikes that some people deliberately bait and attack them for 'sport') and he makes an effort to educate himself about the Clan.
    • That said, the issue doesn't completely go away overnight; he doesn't like Ayla telling other people about the Clan and treats it like a dirty secret despite loving her, as he worries about what other people will think of them. He later realises this is a poor way to treat the woman he loves and the people who raised her, and that he should be standing up for Ayla. He vows not to be a coward about it anymore and tries to educate people about the Clan.
  • In Evernight, Lucas Ross is a sympathetic example. He's a vampire hunter raised since birth to think of vampires as soulless, cold-hearted murderers...then he finds out Bianca, his kind, Endearingly Dorky girlfriend, is in fact a vampire. He decides he doesn't care because he loves Bianca and he slowly starts to realize his views on vampires aren't entirely accurate, though his prejudice against them does cause issues with the couple's relationship (Bianca's overly-idealistic view of vampires doesn't help either).
  • Harry Potter: Severus Snape, despite holding a prejudice against Muggles going back even before his Hogwarts days, harbored feelings for muggleborn witch Lily Evans. Given that Snape apparently saw no issue with his prejudice against other muggleborns, Lily quite understandably broke off contact with him.
  • In Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Frollo embodies this trope, along with Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny. That said, it's subverted by the fact that Esmeralda is not actually Romani, but a white girl who was abducted/adopted by them when she was a baby.
  • The Cunning Man in I Shall Wear Midnight was a fanatical witch-hunter who fell in love with an attractive witch. However, when he tried to stop his fellow witch hunters from Burning the Witch (having previously done so to many of her associates), she decided that they would both burn. The result was that he became an Anthropomorphic Personification of hating witches.
  • In Ivanhoe, Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert, who despises Jews, (in)famously develops feelings for the Jewess Rebecca. These feelings start as mere lust but grow into more than that as he starts to see her character beyond her beauty. He never reaches a full Heel Realization, however, and ends up dying of a heart attack brought on by "his conflicting passions".
  • Jack Reacher: In the Back Story of Die Trying, Right-Wing Militia Fanatic Beau Borken and his four childhood friends/co-founders of his group crucified a sixth friend of theirs for falling in love with a Mexican girl.
  • The Kite Runner
    • Sanaubar was part of the oppressed Hazara group in Kabul, but her beauty attracted many men, including those of the dominant Pashtun group.
    • Played for squick in regards to Assef's character. He professes a strong hatred for Hazara people, but he rapes Hassan and harasses him afterward. When Hassan is killed, Assef takes in his prepubescent son Sohrab as his "companion."
  • In Noughts & Crosses, the sequel Knife Edge sees Jude, a nought terrorist who vehemently hates all crosses, inadvertently fall in love with wealthy cross Cara. He however murders her in a fit of rage when attempting to reconcile the cognitive dissonance in his head, and when Jude is eventually murdered, his last thoughts are of Cara.
  • In October Daye, Tybalt dislikes changelings (Hybrids of Fae and humans) due to his beloved human wife having died in an attempt to give birth to their changeling son. It's why he initially didn't like Toby due to her being a changeling as well. Over time though he genuinely falls in love with her and even eventually lets go of his prejudice to be with her.
  • Alpha from Survivor Dogs is heavily Fantastic Racist towards Fierce Dogs, yet he becomes mates with one.
  • In Warrior Cats, Tigerstar is racist against kittypets (cats owned by humans) and cats who are half-Clan by birth, to the point that he wants them all dead or driven out of the Clans. Despite this, he falls in love with Sasha, a kittypet who recently lost her owner. He says that she's not like any other kittypet and guesses that her mother might be Clanborn or rogue-born, insists that she's not really one anymore anyway since she lives in the woods, and orders her to tell his Clanmates that she's a rogue and to never reveal the truth.
  • In Wings of Fire, Winter is very prejudiced against NightWings even more than the average IceWing is (because of an It's Personal backstory in addition to the general hatred the two tribes have for each other). He also has a crush on Moonwatcher, a NightWing, which he feels guilty about. The bigotry part gets better after a lot of Character Development, though.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Crisis on Earth-X has a mutual example between Dark Arrow and Overgirl. Dark Arrow is a Nazi who maintains a reich for only humans he thinks are "Aryan" and Overgirl thinks humans are inferior to Kryptonians, but they are a married couple.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm: Played for Laughs when Larry, who's Jewish, has a brief fling with a stridently anti-semitic Palestinian woman and has to decide whether a bit of Category Treason is worth the best sex — and roast chicken — of his life.
    Marty: [after overhearing them in the act] When did you have your orgasm? When she said she'd "fuck the Jew outta you"?
  • Played for Horror in Euphoria, where Nate Jacobs, who has extremely fucked-up ideas about how women should look and behave, becomes obsessed with trans girl Jules, who he knows would not meet his exacting standards, and sets about trying to force her to "reform" under threat of having her arrested for underage sexting.
  • Done platonically in The Flash (2014). As a villain from the future, Eobard Thawne has no regard for the lives of the past humans except for Barry Allen and Eddie Thawne, and even then only because they're essential to his current existence. Fifteen years of being stuck in the past, however, are enough for him to develop some camaraderie with Team Flash.
  • A French Village: Jean is a French policeman who helped round up Jews and holds antisemitic views. He falls in love though with a Jewish woman named Rita, gets into a relationship, and saves her from deportation to the East. They conceive a child and discuss marrying. After this, he grows more sympathetic to Jews and helped a Jewish family to escape. This doesn't mean he entirely becomes a better person though. Rita leaves him in anger when she learns he let her mother be shipped away to Poland, and when she's back from Switzerland (where Jean sent them for safety) doesn't want him to have any part of their son's life. However, he still saves them from being sent to a death camp, this time even shooting a German officer in doing so.
  • Guerrilla: Pence, a racist white South African detective who works against black activists, has a black mistress and even fathered a son with her
  • The Jerry Springer Show: There was an episode featuring a trailer trash family who were avowed white supremacists. A fight erupted between the father and son when the daughter revealed that her brother was sleeping with a black girl. More humorously, a black girl in the audience then offered the father a hug, which he rejected.
    Audience: Give him. A hug! Give him. A hug!
  • The slave owner Collins from Legends of Tomorrow is suggested to have these tendencies, with his men trying to capture the African-born Amaya as a Sex Slave on his behalf.
  • Noughts & Crosses: Kamal loathes Noughts even more than most other Crosses, but it's revealed he previously had an affair with and fathered a child by a Nought woman.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Despite being prejudiced against Bajorans and once heading the occupation of their planet, Gul Dukat has slept with several Bajoran women including Major Kira's mother Kira Meru and Tora Naprem, the mother of his half-Bajoran daughter Tora Ziyal. Then he sired another half-Bajoran child again when he formed a cult where Bajorans would worship him. He was also an Abhorrent Admirer for Kira herself for a while. He seemed to have a (creepy) Race Fetish for Bajoran women as a whole. Of course, all the ones taken during the Occupation were actually Sex Slaves, which his detractors seem to think was his real fetish.
  • The Tribe: Ram actually marries Ebony after spending much of the season deriding her and any other city dwellers who aren't Technos as worthless "Virts".
  • In To Kafe Tis Haras, a Greek sitcom which takes place in the fictional village of Kolokotronitsi, Periander Popotas, mayor of said village, who is extremely misogynistic, sexist, bigoted, and against modern ideas, falls in love with Hara, a single mother from Athens who stands for whatever Periander is against of. Hara herself also starts to develop feelings for him.

  • In Andrea Chenier, Gerard, a servant at the de Coigny household, hates the aristocracy and wants to execute them all, except for Maddalena de Coigny with whom he is madly in love. His Yandere attempt to get her after a Full-Circle Revolution, however, is what leads to her getting executed.

    Video Games 
  • Juliana Everheart in Valkyria Chronicles II is openly racist against Darcsens (the settings Fantasy Counterpart Culture of WWII-era Jews), but has an obvious Tsundere crush on Zeri. This one ends up being of the Love Redeems variety, where she slowly grows out of her prejudice. Unfortunately, she's killed right as she does, and in her final words she manages to call him by his name for the first time.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, a number of human characters seem to have a Race Fetish for elven women (and some men). The Starter Villain in the City Elf Origin is a serial rapist and murderer of elves and is also very racist towards them. It's possible however that rather than a true fetish for elves, he simply saw them as easy targets.

  • Homestuck: Equius Zahhak looks down on those lower on the hemospectrum. However, he has a massive crush on Aradia Megido, of the lowest blood color. He is fond of both how she behaves ideally for her caste, yet is also suited to have indigo blood so he can feel more right loving her. Thus he puts indigo blood in the robot he built to house her soul.
  • The Order of the Stick: In a debate with Durkon, Redcloak states that he would be killed on sight in any town or city because he's green and has fangs. He adds that orcs would get the same treatment if humans weren't always having babies with them.
  • Unsounded: Duane is repelled and disgusted when he learns his new friend Sarthos is a Third Option, considering it nigh heretical to give up womanhood and become a wright despite not being born male. Before he can put in motion his plan to cut ties a bully tries to kill him, Sarthos helps save his life and the two of them end up having sex in a closet. Duane is upset to realize Sarthos took the fall for the bully who ended up killed in the fight and kicked out of school, and is concerned Sarthos may be exiled or killed for arriving home without having proven to be "worth the loss of their womanhood" as was demanded of them.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


Amon Goeth and Helen Hirsch

Sadistic Nazi commandant Amon Goeth has a crush on his Jewish maid, Helen. He can't express it due to it being taboo in Nazi Germany, so he takes out his frustration by physically and emotionally abusing her.

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Main / BigotWithACrush

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