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Creator Backlash

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It's over.

"Ah, yes, I wrote the 'Purple Cow,'
I'm Sorry, now, I wrote it;
But I can tell you, Anyhow
I'll Kill you if you Quote it!"
Gelett Burgess, Confession: and a Portrait Too, Upon a Background that I Rue

Creators aren't always proud of their work. Sometimes, a more extreme version occurs — a creator ends up despising their past work, whether it's an obscure work that didn't catch on and may not have many redeeming qualities in the first place, or a popular work that is loved by fans, much to the creator's dismay.

Fandom is an interesting entity. Nobody can quite tell how people will react to anything, making the creation of a popular work a crapshoot. However, it's assumed that most creators hold an equal or greater amount of affection for their work than their fans. After all, they had to actually make it in the first place. So obviously, anything that's popular must be something the creator likes, right?

Not quite. See, the creators are people too, and even if they're the origin of a particular work, that doesn't stop them from holding such a strong negative opinion about it. This is what is referred to as creator backlash. It's the most high profile form of hatedom possible, since it's the very creator(s) of the work denouncing it. As they bring up their feelings of hatred for their work in interviews, public forums, and their other creations, it brings a certain amount of discord into being a fan when the very source has denounced it. It might even trigger feelings of betrayal, or resentment that the author has (apparently) become a holier-than-thou hypocrite.

It can take on many forms and for many reasons. Perhaps an obscure work they made before becoming famous left a bad taste in their mouth. In addition, creators may feel their work has been ruined by Executive Meddling. Another reason could be that the creator didn't really intend for it to become so popular, only making it to pay the bills and fund their more serious work (perhaps even getting forced into continuing it). Perhaps people completely miss the point. Perhaps it has them typecast to a sickening level. Perhaps the project that he puts a lot of effort on gets pathetic reactions from fans. Perhaps they were going through a rough time while making it. Perhaps they thought it was great at the time but, in hindsight and with a more "mature" perspective, think otherwise. Perhaps it has become their only work that is generally known, casting them as a "One-Hit Wonder" in the eyes of the majority. Maybe they thought they could have done better. Maybe they begin to think The World Is Not Ready.

It is quite common for creators who start early to simply grow out of their early work. Added to which is the common artistic trait of always wanting to move on: the criticism is just an expression of boredom; been there, done that.

Or perhaps they just really do hate the work they created after all this time; maybe their personality (or the effect the work has on today's society) really has changed that much. The reasons are as myriad as the reasons a fan might choose to like their work in the first place.

Not all creator backlash is permanent, though. They can just as easily choose to later embrace their work when they get over whatever was troubling them in the first place. This seems to be quite rare, however. When it does happen, it usually seems to occur after a lengthy period of time has passed between appearing on the show and the present.

And, of course, no matter how bad the backlash is, the artists rarely return any of the cash they've made from a work.

Compare Old Shame, for when a character in a work of fiction regrets something they did in their past, which may include an in-universe case of Creator Backlash. Compare and contrast Bleached Underpants (where the work in question has questionable history which its creators would like to dispose of) and see also Magnum Opus Dissonance and Disowned Adaptation. Overlaps with Canon Discontinuity if the creator removes a disliked work from the series canon entirely. In the most extreme cases, the creator will attempt to Bury Your Art, in which they hate a work so much that they go the lengths to make sure it isn’t publicly available.

Not be confused with Creator Breakdown or Artist Disillusionment, though they can definitely overlap with this. Artist disillusionment is against fans while this is against works. And definitely not to be confused with creators getting their backs lashed.

This can sometimes result in creators going uncredited for their part in the work, with some going as far as removing their name from the credits.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • While on his death bed, British illustrator Aubrey Beardsley begged friends to destroy his large oeuvre of pornographic line drawings. Thankfully, they did not comply.
  • Despite being one of his most famous paintings, Vincent van Gogh considered "The Starry Night" to be a failure. Some of his critiques can be found in his letters to his brother, Theo, and to contemporary artist Émile Bernard.
  • Surrealist artist René Magritte once titled a painting of a pretty blue sky with clouds "The Curse". Scholars have debated what kind of "curse" may have prompted that title, but some believe that it refers to Magritte being thoroughly sick of how his other works featuring pretty blue skies with clouds were the ones that were most popular.

  • Charles Spencer "Spen" King, the chief engineer of the Range Rover sport-utility vehicle, designed it as a genuine off-road vehicle with more amenities than a regular Land Rover, and was deeply dismayed to see it and SUVs like it driven mainly by rich people who never took it off-road.
    "The 4x4 was never intended as a status symbol, but later incarnations of my design seem to be intended for that purpose. I find the people who use it as such deeply unattractive. Sadly, the 4x4 has become an alternative to a Mercedes or BMW for the pompous, self-important driver. To use the 4x4 for the school run, or even in cities or towns at all, is completely stupid."
  • AC Cars, while still producing the Updated Re-release Cobra sports cars today, has removed mentions of their involvement in invalid carriages sponsored by Ministry of Health in the 1970s, partly due to the unreliability of the microcar and the program ended in 2003.

    Comic Strips 
  • Berke Breathed:
    • He kept a great deal of Bloom County's first two years out of publication for years because he thought the strips were dated, unfunny, poorly drawn, derivative of Doonesbury, or some combination thereof. Finally, in the late 2000s, he began releasing complete anthologies of the strip, complete with running commentary. Even in the commentary, he is highly critical of his own work, saying that he had no idea which direction the strip would take until around 1981, when Opus the penguin became a permanent cast member.
    • Berke's first strip, printed in his college paper, was such a great source of shame to him that he allowed only about thirty strips from it to be printed in the Bloom County libraries—the vast majority of which were to show the origin point of gags reused in Bloom. The Academia Waltz was collected in two volumes, and according to Breathed's bibliography on his site: "eBay is your only hope." When IDW (who published the other collections of Breathed's work) finally got the rights to republish The Academia Waltz, the cover consisted of Opus opening a box labeled "Don't EVER @#?!* open this -BB", and the collection itself is titled Academia Waltz and Other Profound Transgressions.
    • In a crossover with this, literature, and animation, Berke does not like A Wish for Wings that Work, an Animated Adaptation of his 1991 Christmas book of the same name (which in turn uses the Opus character from Bloom County and Outland).
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • One of the primary reasons Bill Watterson decided to stop drawing the strip in 1995 was pressure from Universal Press Syndicate to commercialize his work, with Watterson noting that if Universal wanted to, they could have licensed his characters without his permission or continue drawing the strip with a new artist, so he decided to discontinue it because he had achieved all he could in the comic strip business. Nevertheless, in spite of his efforts, numerous unauthorized products have made their way into the market, with window decals depicting Calvin praying before a cross, and taking a whizz on various automobiles' and sports teams' logos.
    • Within the strip itself, Watterson came to dislike the title arc of Weirdos From Another Planet!. He considered the Martian backgrounds too cartoony and the Green Aesop too Anvilicious. He also disliked the strip where Calvin pretended to be a god that smote his creations, since the restrictive Sunday format ruined what he planned. He even had mixed feelings about being able to design his own Sunday layouts when he realized how hard it was to come up with ideas and layouts that were easy to follow, and how the new Sunday strips took two or three times as long to draw as the old ones.
    • Watterson claims he regrets introducing Calvin's Uncle Max. His reasons are that Max didn't have much of an identity, he didn't bring out anything new in Calvin, and the awkwardness of Max not being able to address Calvin's parents by their first names (which Watterson, as a matter of principle, didn't want them to have).
  • Dilbert:
    • Scott Adams released a series of Dilbert strips that are really contrived to give Dogbert an arch-nemesis named Bingo the Cow Herding Dog in order to give Hollywood some material to work with. It would have turned the strip into something only other cartoonists like. This was during the strip's early years that focus more on Dilbert's antics at home than at work. You can read them here.
    • In a twentieth anniversary collection, Adams included some comics he wrote for Dilbert as practice before trying to find a syndicate. Before listing the examples, Adams wrote "At the time, I thought puns were the highest form of humor. Forgive me."
    • His seventh anniversary collection ("Seven Years of Highly Defective People") includes a meandering Sunday strip captioned with the annotation "I hate this comic. I was tired."
  • Despite his prolific reprinting of past The Far Side strips in books, calendars, etc. there are a rather high number of Far Side comics, mostly from the early years, that Gary Larson doesn't like and are almost never reprinted. The epic every-strip-ever collection released in 2014 remains the only place to see them.
  • Before Garfield, Jim Davis did a short-lived comic called Gnorm Gnat. Davis thought it was funny. Not a lot of other people did. After one editor told Davis that "no one can relate to bugs", he gave up. The only times Davis brings the comic up now is when he's mocking it as "one of his biggest mistakes". This was lampshaded in one of the Garfield book collections. A gag comic at the end of one book was titled "Top 10 Comic Strips Jim Davis tried before Garfield" where Number 2 on the list was... Gnorm Gnat. The number one comic strip "tried" was Garfield being a living toaster.
  • Jump Start creator Robb Armstrong had Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, provide a positive blurb for his 2016 book Fearless: A Cartoonist's Guide to Life, as he had long considered Adams a friend going back to The '80s. That changed in 2023 after Adams went on a racist rant on his YouTube show that was seen by many as calling for the return of segregation. Upon hearing Adams' comments, Armstrong urged any fans who owned his book to take a black marker and use it to cross out Adams' blurb, declaring that That Man Is Dead when asked to describe his former friend.
  • Peanuts:
    • Charles M. Schulz frequently said he was somewhat embarrassed by the first few years of Peanuts. As a result, several hundred strips from the early 1950s were never reprinted in book form during his lifetime, only seeing the light of day via Fantagraphics' Complete Peanuts series.
    • Schulz also hated the title "Peanuts" which the syndicate imposed on him, and to the end of his life never missed an opportunity to call it "the worst title ever thought up for a comic strip." This is why the animated specials and other adaptations released in his lifetime never have "Peanuts" in the title.
    • Schulz grew to dislike the character Pig-Pen over the years, due to his one-joke nature and his difficult character design. What prevented the character from being written out of Peanuts like so many other characters that Schulz had grown bored with was the huge amount of fan-mail that he consistently received for him. It's telling that Pig-Pen's final appearance in the strip shortly before it ended had the usually proud character show embarrassment for his dirty nature.
  • Early on, Pearls Before Swine was a webcomic. Most of it was re-drawn/re-written and published to newspapers, but quite a few were also left out. Stephan Pastis republished some of those webcomic strips that were left out in a book, and spent most of the time pointing out how Out of Character everyone was and how bad the art was (even for his minimalist stick-figure style).
  • The various rights-holders for the various Rupert Bear media pretend Rupert and the Diamond Leaf never existed due to a certain plot point involving racial stereotypes, as it unfortunately compromises the racial harmony that has always featured in the Rupert stories (even the characters considered Fair for Its Day have aged much better, such as Tiger Lily). This didn't stop The Daily Express from reprinting the story in April 2020, but with the offending plot points excised.

    Music Videos 
  • Phil Collins reportedly finds the Genesis video for the Title Track of A Trick of the Tail, featuring a miniature Phil dancing on an upright piano while Tony Banks plays the song and the other members of the band gather around, to be the most embarrassing one of his career. A bit of Special Effects Failure (this was 1976) didn't help matters.
  • Journey was highly dissatisfied with their music video for "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)", to the point that they refused to do any videos for their next album, Raised On Radio.
  • Fred Durst was so embarrassed by the video for Limp Bizkit's "Take A Look Around" that he banned it in the US.
  • No Doubt have made a official statement apologizing for their questionable video to "Looking Hot" for its politically incorrect undertones. It's actually been deleted from their VEVO channel and all subsequent videos of it deleted for a rather stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans.
  • To this day, Sammy Hagar is practically alone in disliking Van Halen's video for "Right Now". He wanted it to be less of a concept and more of a straightforward interpretation of the lyrics, since he had worked hard on them and wanted listeners to hear them. In fact, he was so angry that he refused to sing most of the lyrics in the video, even when the titles say "right now, we should pay attention to the lyrics." The director liked that take anyway and kept it.
  • Billy Squier has forever blamed the music video for his hit song "Rock Me Tonite" for bringing about the downfall of his music career, as the then-questionable and erotic content within did much to destroy his public image. Squier was so disgusted with the final product that he and his colleagues attempted to prevent the video's release, but it was too little, too late and Squier has since blamed the director for allegedly tampering with his original concept.
  • George Strait hated his first music video, for "You Look So Good in Love", so much that he had it withdrawn from rotation. He also largely refused to do music videos at all, to the point that only about 15 of his 100+ singles have videos, and most of the ones that do are live performances.
  • Information Society's vocalist Kurt Harland says this about the video for "How Long":
    There WAS a video made for this song, with Adam Ant directing, but I really hope you never see it.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Great Flood in The Bible is essentially God invoking this trope in regard to humanity:
    "The LORD saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how every plan devised by his mind was nothing but evil all the time. And the LORD regretted that He had made man on earth, and His heart was saddened. The LORD said, "I will blot out from the earth the men whom I created—men together with beasts, creeping things, and birds of the sky; for I regret that I made them."" (Genesis 6:5-7)
  • As far as Bible translations in general, Eugene Peterson, the main translator behind the paraphrase edition called The Message, isn't very fond of that translation being used and read aloud by pastors in the pulpits during sermons. He intended for his translation to be the first translation for beginners of the Christian faith to read and then be weaned away from to other translations.

  • The McElroy Brothers of My Brother, My Brother and Me have expressed some vitriolic distaste for the earlier episodes of their own podcast, at times suggesting that new listeners skip the first hundred or so. Aside from the natural awkwardness, lower quality and underdetermined direction that any improvised media suffers starting out, the brothers believe they were more ignorant then, which resulted in what they consider some offensive or even meanspirited humor. They blame this partly on their limited worldviews at the time and partly on not having yet realized the audience they would reach and the impact their words would have. Their earnest efforts to communicate with listeners and willingness to apologize and do better have made up for past mistakes in their fans' eyes, but the brothers themselves are still quick to denounce their earlier work.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street:
    • Longtime writer and puppeteer Joey Mazzarino (most famous for performing Murray Monster) left the show after its 46th season, unsatisfied with the changes that the show was going through.
    • While neither Jim Henson nor Frank Oz dislike Sesame Street (both devoted at least a few weeks a year, Jim until he died and Frank until the late 1990s, to shooting new material with their respective characters), Henson disliked how it typecast him as a children's performer, even telling creator Joan Ganz Cooney over the phone that "[she] ruined [his] life." Similarly, Oz was very hesitant to discuss it or his Muppet projects until recently, as he was worried that it would overshadow the work he has done as a director.
  • Some longtime puppeteers (including some no longer affiliated with the chief group of Muppets, such as Frank Oz) supposedly expressed dissatisfaction during the production of The Muppets (2011), feeling that it was too serious for the Muppets. Rumor has it that former Kermit the Frog performer Steve Whitmire threatened to have his name taken off the film if the original ending (Tex Richman being revealed to be Kermit in disguise the whole time, as a way to bring the crew back together) had been used.
  • Frank Oz also expressed dissatisfaction with the 2015 Muppets TV series, thinking that it wasn't true to the characters.
  • Kevin Clash had some major problems with Muppets Tonight. When his character, Clifford became the host, he went through some big changes. The most particular thing he hated was that Clifford's sunglasses were removed and replaced with regular Muppet eyes. He hated it so much, that he refused to perform as Clifford again unless he had his sunglasses on. Unlike other examples, the producers did listen to this and returned Clifford to his old look after the show ended.

  • In-universe example in a sketch on John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, which portrays Johann Pachelbel as utterly sick of his Canon in D, and constantly protesting that he has written other works. (This is Rule of Funny; in Real Life, Pachelbel's opinion of the Canon is unknown, and it only achieved its current popularity in The '70s, some 270 years after his death, following a 1968 recording by the Jean-François Paillard Chamber Orchestra.)note 

    Stand-up Comedy 
  • Eddie Murphy came to regret his 1987 standup special Raw due to the misogynist and homophobic jokes throughout the set (as well as other stand-up sets his did during the 80s). He chalked up the misogyny to relationship woes, and he admitted that the homophobia and AIDS jokes were pure ignorance. To his credit, he apologized for those jokes as early as 1996 and has donated to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
    "Just like the rest of the world, I am more educated about AIDS in 1996 than I was in 1981. I think it is unfair to take the words of a misinformed 21-year-old and apply them to an informed 35-year-old man. I know how serious an issue AIDS is the world over. I know that AIDS isn’t funny. It’s 1996 and I’m a lot smarter about AIDS now."
  • Chris Rock came to regret his "Black People vs. Niggas" rant due to the Stop Being Stereotypical implications, as well as the fact that a lot of actual racists were using his words to justify their bigotry, claiming to only hate those black people and not the "good ones."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Gary Gygax said that he regretted a number of rules that he felt pressured to put in various versions of Dungeons & Dragons, singling out psionics, the monk class and weapon speeds and effects versus armor as egregious examples.
    • The sexism of 1st Edition AD&D (the most infamously memetic being the lower strength caps for women rule) is likewise something which later editions' designers would like everyone to forget.
    • Colin McComb has said as much of The Complete Book of Elves, and personally apologized for it on RPGNet. Though, for the record, he says the elves coming off as racist jerks was intentional.
    • When TSR began expanding the Forgotten Realms setting, one of their major pushes for doing so were "Ethnic Fantasy" focused—taking Fantasy Counterpart Culture and Historical Fantasy to the level of using them as the basis for entire new continents on the planet. This gave players the settings of Kara-tur, The Hordelands and Maztica. Ed Greenwood was a very vocal opponent of this decision, and his players have gone on record noting that he felt such additions were entirely missing the point of the Realms in general. He likewise opposed the general push of the Realms towards a more Historical Fantasy or Swords and Sorcery flavor, similar to that of Greyhawk. Fans are split on whether or not they agree with him, and not helping is the Values Dissonance behind such settings.
  • Warhammer:
    • Warhammer 40,000:
      • In the now-defunct official Games Workshop webboard, posting anything about the Squats would typicaly result in the thread being deleted, and the thread-starter banhammered. It's a common joke that there is a special clock in GW's office counting down to a Squats re-release, but anytime someone asks the GW team to bring back Squats, they have to reset the clock. Predictably, a segment of the fanbase has decided that Squats and Zoats were the bestest thing since sliced squig, and mourn their disappearance as further evidence of GW having lost their soul.
      • Games Workshop has tried to covertly resurrect the Squats in the form of the Demiurg, a race of Space Dwarves under the Tau Empire.
      • The Zoats have returned in Warhammer's Storm of Magic supplement, as summonable monster allies.
      • A number of third-party manufacturers have even begun making Warhammer-compatible "Space Dwarfs," such as the Forge Fathers by Mantic Games, and numerous fan-made codexes exist to make Squats compatible with the current version of the game. Games Workshop does not allow third-party figurines and fan-made codexes in official events, however they do allow vintage Squat figurines to be used as long as they are drafted and played under different, "acceptable" army's official rules (typically making Squat units into a reskin for the Imperials).
      • In 2022, what was pitched as an April Fool's joke turned out to be real - the Squats were announced as coming back as a full faction, called the Leagues of Votann.
    • Warhammer:
      • The Firmir, a race of Cyclopean monsters that were essentially entirely excised from the fluff and had their army discontinued. Much of this might have to do with the questionable way they reproduce. Recently they've gotten little minor references in the rulebook, a summoned monster in Storm of Magic and a few Forge World models, but a new book is highly unlikely. Chaos Dwarves also seemed to be going that way, but they recently started get large amounts of reference in the fluff, mostly due to their proximity to the Ogre Kingdoms and their popularity with older players. Every time there's even a hint of something new coming, everyone will declare it's the Chaos Dwarves.
      • The biggest example from Fantasy is doubtlessly the Pygmies (the name itself being inherently iffy not helping...), who were a faction starting in second edition. By third edition, their appearance and culture would just seem like shockingly racist caricatures of the people of the African Congo these days and they unsurprisingly ended up entirely unmentioned within the game's fluff or crunch as the years went on. A Blood Bowl comic mentioned them having a team that was beaten and eaten by the Amazons team who took their spot at the tournament as if to say "No, the Pygmies will never be brought back". The team being eaten in the Gaiden Game is the last mention of them.
  • Being a product of its times, there are more than a few examples of this stemming from the Old World of Darkness:
    • Later editions of Vampire: The Masquerade did their damnedest to sweep everything from the Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand supplement under the carpet.
    • Werewolf: The Apocalypse:
      • It's probably easier to list the various Tribes who weren't this at some point, to the fans if not the producers, given how much of them tended to rely on ethnic or subculture stereotypes. In fact, more than one fan has suggested that this is precisely why the Spiritual Successor, Werewolf: The Forsaken, cast out all ideas of using ethnicity or subculture (feminists, the homeless, etc) as a basis for werewolf tribal cultures.
      • One of the most infamous would probably be the Fianna, a very stereotypically Celtic werewolf tribe whose history in Ireland had some significant ties to the IRA. Come 9/11, terrorism didn't look so daring and dashing anymore, and the Revised edition of their tribebook severely downplayed the connection between the IRA to the tribe, if not condemning the group outright.
      • Before the Fianna's IRA connections were comparable to 9/11, the Black Furies were amongst the most embarrassing of the Tribes, being essentially a faction based on being Straw Feminists — and huge hypocrites to boot. Their second edition tribal book drastically altered its flavor from its predecessor, although unlike the Fianna there was never any formal authorial apology.
    • World of Darkness: Gypsies was embarrassing for its racist stereotypes and reliance on the whole Magical Romani concept. Later sourcebooks that dealt with the Roma pointed out the book's stereotypes, and explored how actual Roma would likely deal with the supernatural.
  • Magic: The Gathering has its share of old shames, specifically:
    • Urza's Saga block, which was massively overpowered and created the most unfun standard environment in history, according to Mark Rosewater the only block where "The entire team got called into the boss's office and got yelled at." To a lesser extent, any other overly format-dominating cards/archetypes.
    • On the other end of the spectrum there are Fallen Empires, The Dark, and especially Homelands, widely considered the weakest sets. The game, at the time, had been having problems with overly powerful cards, and had corrected too far in the opposite direction. Fallen Empires also has the distinction of being overprinted as well, making cards and packs next to worthless.
    • Magic originally was supposed to be played for "ante": Each player, after shuffling but before drawing their hand, took the top card of their deck and set it aside; the winner of the game got both cards. This made the game a target of anti-gambling laws, and Wizards would eventually do away with the ante rule (and ban cards that dealt with ante). Wizards tries very hard to keep that link between its game and gambling under the table (although it could be theorized that the game's strategic elements make it the perfect "gateway game" to poker, as evidenced by David Williams et al.)
    • A number of older cards were very blatantly racist, like Invoke Prejudice, which depicted a knockoff Ku Klux Klan. While updated production standards ensured such cards wouldn't be created in future, they hung around as uncomfortable background facts of the game until 2020, when they were banned from all official tournament play and had their art unpersoned from Gatherer.
  • Every trading card game gets hit with this. You have this one card that quickly becomes exploited to death by the hardcore players. As a result, the card deemed responsible is placed onto the banlist, never to return to normal play.
  • Exalted
    • The much-reviled Scroll of the Monk, for writer Dean Shomshak. The first thing he did upon becoming an Ink Monkey was apologize for writing it.
    • A number of the current writers, like Holden Shearer and John Mørke, have stated that in hindsight, they really wish they hadn't done about half the things that went into late second edition, because they feel the focus on high-Essence play and the spectacular and cosmic stuff papered over the pulp fantasy the game was actually supposed to be about.
  • The Senet cards from Cyberdark Impact set from the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG for having an obscure rule created to accomodate mostly weak cards, namely that cards cannot be moved from the position they were played at on the game mat. Konami later admitted that the mechanic was a disaster because no one cares about card position or moving cards around, especially for convenience with the latter. Card-position-matters mechanics were, however, brought back with a vengeance with the introduction of Link monsters; presumably, Konami figured that making the mechanics much more central would bypass the issue.
  • deadEarth is popular on RPGnet for its hilariously So Bad, It's Good "radiation manipulations". Its reputation has prompted its original author make a post, where he reflects on how his 19-year-old self took his first venture into tabletop gaming too seriously where he went afterwards.
  • Derrick Dishaw, author of Empire of Satanis denounced the game on his blog in 2018, calling it "an amateurish mess of cliches and something even worse- running in the opposite direction of cliche- only to hit a brick wall at top speed."
  • Dogs in the Vineyard forms a fascinating example, in that it was well received by critics on launch and retains a generally positive reputation as a thoughtful examination of religion in RPG form with interesting mechanics. Its author, Vincent K. Baker, now seems to despise it and wants to let it die, as he feels it doesn't clearly condemn the religious targets he was aiming at.

  • Henrik Ibsen was not happy about having to change the ending of A Doll's House for the German Production note . The term he used was "barbaric atrocity". The redo is something of a Writer Cop Out. He also did not react well when feminists began lauding him for the play's support of their movement, which he denied.
  • A similar thing happened with Pygmalion - higher-ups wanted to change the ending to one in which Eliza and Higgins got married, so it could have a standard happy ending, rather than letting Eliza leave Higgins to marry Freddy. George Bernard Shaw would not be happy about the musical adaptation.
  • The Broadway flop 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue by Leonard Bernstein and Alan Jay Lerner was Bernstein's last and least successful musical; he was so ashamed of it that he didn't let it be recorded in his lifetime. As with Saint-Saëns and "Carnival of the Animals," one number escaped the ban: "Take Care of This House." Years after Bernstein's death, a concert version was issued titled A White House Cantata.
  • Love Life, a vaguely similar (and somewhat more successful) musical Alan Jay Lerner wrote with Kurt Weill, could not be revived in Lerner's lifetime because of his personal disdain for it.
  • Older Than Radio: William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan really came to resent their trademark comic operettas, claiming they would have liked to have been remembered for their serious works, too.
  • A despairing outburst by Richard Wagner from 1878 (while he was working on Parsifal), as recorded by his wife Cosima in her diary:
    Oh! I shudder at all this ado of costumes and make-up; when I reflect how characters like Kundry shall be mummed now, I'm put in mind of these disgusting artists' parties, and after creating the invisible orchestra I want to invent the invisible theatre! And the inaudible orchestra.
  • An In-Universe example occurs in Long Day's Journey Into Night. James Tyrone, the patriarch of the Tyrone family, remembers his days as a classical actor in his youth who Edwin Booth (the greatest Shakespearean actor of his day) praised as having remarkable talent. However, rather than pursue an artistic career, James instead purchased the rights to a "vehicle play" that allowed him great financial success by simply playing the same role repeatedly. While it made him and his family rich, it also stripped him of his genuine acting ability and rendered him a Jaded Washout who bitterly regrets the choice he made.
  • In-universe in Fly by Night. Joey Storms has so little confidence in his writing ability that his producers banned him from his own shows for distracting the audience with loud yawns and groans of despair. He's also frustrated by the fact that nobody dares criticize his work due to how many successful playwrights are in his family.
  • What's Up?, a 1943 Broadway musical starring Jimmy Savo as a rajah forced to quarter in a girls' school, was the second musical written by Lerner and Loewe, and their first full collaboration. Unlike their previous musical Life of the Party (whose lyrics were not by Lerner), the production made it into New York, though for only eight weeks. Lerner later called it "ill-advised," and Loewe quipped, "What's Up? Obviously, nothing was. It was awful." The Lerner & Loewe Songbook includes no songs from this show.
  • Prettybelle, a musical in 1971 based on a black comic novel by Jean Arnold it's about a sex crazed wife of a bigoted sheriff in the south who after his death sleeps around and donates to the NAACP. It was so badly received that it closed before Broadway, it was a shame for Angela Lansbury as she wanted to work with 'Gower Champion'.
  • Andrew Rannells has said (at 6:26) that appearing in a porn or a snuff film would have been less traumatic than playing James in Pokémon Live.
    And you know what’s weird? Even at 21, when I was like cast in Pokémon Live, I was like 'I'm going to fucking regret this every day of my life.' But I was so poor that I was like 'eh, fuck it.'
  • In the book Nothing Like a Dame, Audra McDonald is shown to not necessarily be embarrassed by Ragtime (it did win her her third Tony), but that the experience was so emotionally draining she can't even watch other productions of it.

    Theme Parks 
  • Fast & Furious: Supercharged, upon opening in 2018, was widely lambasted as one of the worst rides that Universal Studios Orlando had ever built, earning an acidic reception from not just theme park enthusiasts but even from casual guests that was enough to stop Universal from building more motion simulator rides and start relying more on tangible props and dynamic ride vehicles again. Thierry Coup, the senior vice president and chief creative officer of Universal Creative, has gone on record stating that he considers not stopping senior management from building Supercharged as the biggest mistake of his career.

  • As reported by the book Brick by Brick, certain unnamed higher-ups at LEGO felt this way about their non-traditional series like BIONICLE, feeling its story-driven nature, ball joint-based building system, and at times overly dark and violent story stood against everything the company represented (some of these were also major concerns regarding their Star Wars sets). Within the BIONICLE franchise itself, writer Greg Farshtey hated Vakama's forced betrayal-arc in the 2005 plot, which was pushed by the team producing that year's Direct to Video movie. Greg allegedly yelled at them, but his arguments were ignored, and he had to somehow fit the arc into his book series.
  • Lauren Faust doesn't hate Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls (far from it, actually), but she dislikes their designs and has expressed a desire to redesign them (they were created in the early 2000s, and she's developed as an artist since then).
  • A lot of the creative teams behind the various entries of the Transformers Aligned Universe didn't want their work in the Aligned continuity in the first place, which goes to explain a lot of the creative license and various continuity issues between each entry. By the time Prime ended, the Binder of Revelation, the Universe Bible, had ended up completely ignored (and even before then, the IDW comics had already established too many character backstories for it to have been feasible to use anyway).
  • In spite of the brief success of the Poopsie toyline, MGA Entertainment is all but outright stated to have regretted making the franchise. As of 2022, the MGA website no longer makes any mention of Poopsie and the official YouTube channel is private (so far the only MGA YouTube channel to be so as official videos from other discontinued toylines such as Bratzillaz and Novi Stars are still up).

    Web Animation 
  • Matt Wilson, creator of Bonus Stage, seems to hate his most famous creation, or at least, all of the fans. He had stated after the end of the series that he hardly, if ever, plays video games any more. Also, he is embarassed by the poor animation quality of many of the episodes, and doesn't find a lot of the jokes funny anymore.
  • Alvin-Earthworm, creator of Super Mario Bros. Z, has been incredibly annoyed by fans constantly asking him to work on new episodes, to the point where he has completely stopped working on the series. He claims that it's not forever. He wasn't lying. He's started making him again and most of his fans are listening, seeing as it seemed like they made him quit the Internet. He still updates his DeviantArt account, although you may wish to be cautious before observing it. The comments sections still partially consist of SMBZ fans asking for more. He created a second account as well. His first post stated that so much as mentioning SMBZ on that account is a blockable offense.
  • Not the straightest example, but Brian Kendall has apparently a love/hate relationship with that one flash movie he made, The Demented Cartoon Movie. Much of the "hate" part comes from the amount of effort he thought he could put more into this movie.
  • Homestar Runner parodies it with this comment:
    Strong Bad: You internet types ruined Trogdor! Just like you did zombies, pirates, ninjas, and Strong Bad! Er, wait, no. Yeah!
  • Benthelooney disowns every video that he has made during the first season of his Rant series. Before he started using a script, and also disowns a fair amount of his pre-cancellation rants.
  • Jon Graham, creator of Arby 'n' the Chief, stated on his blog while working on Season 6 that since learning some things in film school, he now looks back on the first 3 seasons of the series with regret due to how unrealistic and overly-silly they are in comparison to his work on the more drama-based series it became towards its end. As a result, he implored fans to simply disregard the events of the earlier season for said reason. This however made the series's abundant plotholes that much more confusing and unexplainable.
  • Robert Benfer seems to have grown into this as his KlayWorld series drew to a close. While it was clear he enjoyed doing it for a number of years, he eventually changed the name of his YouTube channel and stopped producing these videos completely, despite their popularity. In a video he released explaining that the series was going to end, he sounds exhausted with the Klay World series and mentions that the only reason he kept making them was to fund his other projects.
  • Misteroo of Arfenhouse fame had the message "I despise my creations" plastered all over the Disaster Labs website.
  • Jacob Lenard, creator of Mugman, suffered from creative burnout in the series' final years and grew to dislike much of the earlier episodes. Several changes were made in the final episodes, such as the removal of longtime characters Teanna, Johnny and Papa, complete retooling of character designs and character dynamics and a re-make of an earlier episode. Eventually, after growing tired of the aimless direction of the series and fan backlash, brought the series to a close. Mugman would briefly be brought back in "Welcome to Wedgewood" shortly after the original series' cancellation, but that show would also be cancelled just after one episode due to Lenard's dissatisfaction with it.
  • The Object Lockdown team really hates Drago, especially series creator Wuggolo. They felt that he didn't really fit in the show's cast despite the fact he's a dragon action figure. No wonder they sent him on a Long Bus Trip in "The Cream of the Crop."
  • Minilife TV: An In-Universe example comes from the episode "Br*ck People Say!", where Chris admits the episode isn't very good and that he and Ian are only making it in an attempt to get more views.
  • Burnie Burns has come to regret rushing season 3 of Red vs. Blue so they'd change to Halo 2 the same day the game came out, specially at how overworked he got. Two of his replacements had moments, with Miles Luna regretting injuring Carolina's leg to sideline her in Season 12, and Joe Nicolosi coming to hate how in Season 15 he made VIC's Heroic Sacrifice a parody of Epsilon's in season 13.
  • Dom Fera, of The Lazer Collection fame. The series often completely overshadows the rest of his work. He expressed this sentiment in Lazer Collection 4. That said, he doesn't hate the Lazer Collection, he just thought it was ridiculous that people expected him to put out 4 so soon after 3.
  • Seth MacFarlane would claim in a Reddit AMA that Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy was his least favourite project, feeling that he didn't get to put as much time in it as he should have in order for it to work.
  • FreezeFlame22 has gone on to state how much he regrets The Koopa Kids, the first series he ever made when he was very young (13 when it started and 16 by the time it ended). The series ran for three seasons from 2013 to 2016, and while it amassed a decent fanbase, FreezeFlame22 came to dislike his own creation, regarding it is a poorly written embarrassment and regretting many of the decisions he took with it, such as the terrible writing for the characters (especially the Koopa family being portrayed as the good guys even though they all come off as terrible people most of the times), the crude visuals and voice acting, non-sensical lore and plotlines, and comedy that feels forced and unfunny (some of which hasn't aged the best) among other things. Because of this, Freeze decided to cancel the series in 2016, rebooting it a year later as Bowser's Koopalings, a project which he is much more satisfied with.

  • Vincent Connare, designer of the "Comic Sans" typeface, sympathizes with its detractors. Interestingly, he "credits" the lettering on Watchmen (done by artist Dave Gibbons) with part of the inspiration for the font. Dave Gibbons is... conflicted about it.
  • DeviantArt
    • There's at least one example of an artist being rather disappointed that they got a Daily Deviation... on a joke piece they made ABOUT Daily Deviations. Understandable in that they had so many examples of attractive, interesting art in their journal that had always been overlooked.
    • Moderately-popular DeviantArt cartoonist BrokenTeapot initially used to draw comics and characters involving kink-driven material, mostly related to Hypnofetishism as either his own pieces or fan-commissions. Somewhere along the line he has since become ashamed of them in general, criticized the attraction and attention he had gotten from said fetishes, and went on to draw almost predominantly video game-related parody one-page comics. Later, he would begin a Castlevania-inspired spoof called "Nosfera" which become relatively popular. Soon after eventually finishing the ongoing comic, he would go on to write a surprising post about how it "sucked" and stated he would begin doing it over. He's currently in the process of doing just this.
    • Similar to BrokenTeapot, cartoonist Tom Preston (creator of So... You're a Cartoonist? fame) used to go under the pseudonym "Catty N" and drew a lot of inflation fetish art during his early years. Preston has since distanced himself from the inflation fetishist community and instead sticks to humor comics, even once saying "yes I was once Catty N, lets just forget that ever happened." His past has become a major Never Live It Down among his detractors though, who often reference his Catty N years in art mocking him. Even some artists in the inflation fetishist community have been vocal about their dislike of Preston, saying Preston did not leave the community on good terms and was supposedly a real Jerkass to other fetish artists in his early years. The fact Preston has become infamous for issuing DMCA takedowns of his Catty N art on imageboards and other sites has only contributed to his Hatedom.
  • Illusionist David Copperfield is reportedly not happy with his 10th TV special "The Bermuda Triangle." On a DVD commentary he mentioned that he didn't like the final illusion (to be fair it is VERY hokey) and that it came "during a very rough part of my career." However, the special did feature one of Copperfield's signature tricks... The Death Saw.
  • Albert Einstein:
    • He considered the cosmological constant term he added to his theory of general relativity to be his "biggest blunder", as he put it in in an attempt to make his theory consistent with a static universe. Shortly after, Edwin Hubble published observations that the universe was in fact expanding, in accordance with the original theory of general relativity… However, as of circa 2000, a nonzero cosmological constant has become part of the standard model for cosmology, as there are stars that are older than the age of the universe as computed using original general relativity (if expansion is accelerating, then it was previously slower, and it would therefore have taken a longer time than predicted by original general relativity for the universe to expand to its present size).
    • Also relevant is Einstein's involvement in quantum mechanics. He expanded on Max Planck's ideas, wrote a paper in 1905 on the photoelectric effect, won a Nobel Prize for his breakthrough, and out of that, the whole field of quantum mechanics was born, which is influential in science and computing to this day. However, once Erwin Schrödinger and Max Born realized that probability and randomness were major factors in quantum mechanics, Einstein turned his back on the whole field, trying to debunk it to his dying day, refusing to accept it long after it had become useful to the rest of the scientific community.
  • Cracked's articles named "6 Classics Despised by the People Who Created Them" and "5 Famous Actors Who Hate Their Most Iconic Roles" detail some examples.
  • For Microsoft:
    • Internet Explorer 6. They even created a website dedicated to getting people to drop it.
    • Upon stepping down as the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer said his greatest mistake as the man in charge was Windows Vista, due to its Troubled Production and the fact it took focus away from things they could have been focusing on instead, such as phones.
  • Vince Lombardi once said "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." He later said "I wish I'd never said the thing. I meant the effort... I meant having a goal... I sure didn't mean for people to crush human values and morality."
  • Anna Jarvis, the creator of Mother's Day, resented the commercialization the holiday brought and was even arrested protesting it.
  • There are people who create trope terms, and then come to regret it.
    • Gail Simone hates the term Stuffed into the Fridge and regrets coining it, largely because she feels it's been horribly distorted and over-applied ever since its creation, being used to insult any work in which a female character gets hurt or dies. It really doesn't help that when she started working for DC Comics, she became friends with Ron Marz (the writer the trope is named in reference to), and was promptly insulted by some "fans" for being nice to him.
    • Likewise, Nathan Rabin, who coined the term "Manic Pixie Dream Girl," wrote an apology for coining it, citing how the term quickly flooded the pop culture discussion, and how critics applied it even where it didn't fit until it lost most of its meaning.
    • Alison Bechdel, namesake of The Bechdel Test, has expressed reservations with the way that it's taken as a simplistic measure of whether or not a work is sexist.
    • Hikaru Ijiun who coined the word Chuunibyou has lost interest in it (note: Tweet in Japanese) due to people online misappropriating its original meaning.
  • One of the pioneers of television was Philo Farnsworth, who had high hopes of the device being used as an educational tool by society. He eventually came to openly despise television, seeing it used primarily for entertainment, and practically went to his grave wishing he'd never worked on the thing.
  • John McAfee, the creator of McAfee antivirus software, eventually grew to hate the pioneering software that bore his name after he resigned the company and sold the naming rights in 1994. He even released a video telling users how to uninstall the software. When McAfee AntiVirus was (temporarily) re-branded as Intel Security, he said "I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet. These are not my words, but the words of millions of irate users." It was never clear whether his concerns were real or were an expression of resentment for a popular product with his name that no longer earned him money. The point became moot when McAfee died in prison in 2021.
  • Some people that cause a Memetic Mutation, either by accident or on purpose, may sometimes regret it and speak out against it. An example of this comes from the Ugandan Knuckles meme where it involves an Off-Model of Knuckles appearing in VRChat speaking in a terrible Ugandan accent asking people if they "know de way", name a random female player as their queen, and making lots of clicking noises. The person who uploaded the model for people to use regrets making the model open to the public and feels responsible for people not being able to enjoy VRChat without others abusing the meme everywhere.
  • In 1988, an Australian breeder named Wally Conron created the "Labradoodle" (Labrador Retriever x Standard Poodle mix) as we know it. He intended to make a new service dog-geared breed meant to be low-maintenance, friendly, and easily trainable. However, the popularity of the mix led to others breeding their own Labradoodles and other similar mixes with cute names (Goldendoodles, Cockapoos, et cetera). Since then, numerous other Poodle mixes have popped up and Labradoodles are still not any closer to being a "real breed" than they were in the 1980s. Wally Conron no longer breeds them and says he regrets starting the "designer dog" fad. He says that he created "a Frankenstein" and that Labradoodles (and similar mixes) are generally poorly bred, having many problems and no breed standard instead of the original intention of fixing the "flaws" of Poodles and Labradors.
  • Parenting blogger Jenna Karvunidis, who created (or at least popularized) gender-reveal parties, has come to regret her contribution to pop culture. When her eldest daughter (for whom Karvunidis threw the first of these parties and blogged about it) started exhibiting tomboyish traits including a preference for suits, Karvunidis realized it's unfair to a child to place so much emphasis on their biological sex instead of letting them develop as individuals. Not helping matters are the increasingly over-the-top acts parents have decided to take on to celebrate the sex of their unborn babies, including pyrotechnic displays that have caused two wildfires and the death of at least one firefighter. All Karvunidis herself ever did was bake a cake that was pink on the inside. She never suggested the more outlandish reveals people have done, causing her to put this line in her Twitter profile so that it's the first thing everyone sees on it:
    Stop blowing up forests to tell your “friends” about your child’s peen. Thank you.
  • Voice actor Matthew Mercer said in an interview that he has gotten tired of being The Other Darrin for many of Troy Baker's old roles. After Baker became high in demand, Mercer took over for him in many instances since the two have a similar vocal range. He was offered to replace Baker as Yuri Lowell in Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition, but turned it down, feeling that someone else should have the role instead.
    • And then there's the Mercer effect, where people introduced to Dungeons & Dragons via his being the DM on Critical Role expect every campaign to be like his (and the DM to provide different voices on par with a professional voice actor) and complain about their DM "not doing it right" when Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs. As you can imagine, he's not happy about being associated with it.
  • John Sylvan, the inventor of the Keurig coffee machine, regretted creating it due to the plastic waste of the K-cup coffee pods, saying that he didn't even own one.
  • Inventor Alfred Nobel is perhaps best-known for his invention of dynamite, which he created as a way to help mining and construction projects. Later in his life, he was visiting Europe when he was shocked to hear that he'd recently died; it was actually his brother who'd passed away, but somehow the wires got crossed. Nobel decided to see what people had to say in their obituaries of him...and was absolutely horrified to see himself painted as a "merchant of death" because of how armies around the world appropriated dynamite and nitroglycerin for weapons. The inventor was determined to leave a legacy of unquestionably positive change instead and so established a series of annual awards to be given to people who bettered humanity in areas of science, the arts, and, most importantly, peace. You probably know those awards better as the Nobel Prize.
  • has Inventors Who Can't Stand Their Own Creations.
  • Adam Ellis drew a comic of himself killing off one of his earlier comics. In said comic, someone told their annoying friend to "let people enjoy things". This was often used about perfectly innocent stuff, like the Star Wars Prequels, but many also used it to promote hate and racism and act hyper-defensive of legitimate or constructive criticism. On his Twitter, Adam has also stated that it was being used by pedophiles.
  • Several members of Monty Python quickly became tired of the notoriety that came with their television shows and movies. More specifically, they'd founded the Pythons on the grounds of "shock comedy" that was supposed to be different, engaging, and surprising every time people watched it. As such, the very notion of codifying "Python-esque" humor was the exact opposite of what they wanted, and seeing people endlessly repeat their jokes made the creators frustrated to no end (John Cleese once remarked that he'd seen a group of people have a conversation of nothing but Python quotes and went home bitterly disappointed). The backlash against any sort of formula also led to interesting moments in the group's live shows, as they'd deliberately subvert the fans' expectations to try to keep the original point of shock humor alive. In one famous instance, the "Dead Parrot" sketch began as usual, but when Cleese entered the set and said that his parrot was dead, Michael Palin looked at it, agreed, and gave Cleese a refund, thus completing the bit without telling a single joke (which was the joke).
  • Victor Gruen was an architect best known for conceptualizing the modern shopping mall, with many of his projects including Southdale Mall in suburban Twin Cities and (the now defunct) Northland Center in suburban Detroit, being among the very first malls in the United States. However, he later came to regret his role in developing them; in a 1978 speech, Gruen said, "I am often called the father of the shopping mall...I would like to take this opportunity to disclaim paternity once and for all. I refuse to pay alimony to those bastard developments. They destroyed our cities."
  • Nicholas Price was a British artist who was the creator of the 'Old Joe Camel' character, who was briefly used in an adult magazine in the 1970s to advertise Camel cigarettes. Years later, when Camel resurrected the character for their more mainstream, controversial ad campaigns in the '80s and '90s, Price was not happy about it and stated that it "mortified him" to see the character used in that way, especially when it was more appealing to children. He ended up suing Camel for not paying him properly for the use of the character (it later got settled out of court), and went on to say that he never would've created the character if he knew it would get to that point.
  • Colonel Sanders came to hate KFC and called the gravy "wallpaper paste" .
  • British supermodel Kate Moss coined the well-known phrase "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels", which many people (especially women) took to heart as not just a simple motivation to lose weight, but to be as thin as her, the progenitor of the then-popular 90s "heroin chic" look. Problem with this slogan is not only did it (as well as the term) become closely associated with many pro-ana and pro-mia groups but others who literally did drugs to lose a significant amount of weight, which only looks worse when it eventually came out years later that Moss herself was addicted to various drugs throughout her career. Needless to say, the-now clean and sober model deeply regrets the statement.


Video Example(s):


Johnny on Pokemon

When Johnny starts his video review of the Pokemon: Let's Go games, he takes a moment to talk about his past videos in the series. He's openly critical of having a head-cold during is Gen 1 review, and making an Innocently Insensitive transphobic remark by referring to Bugsy with an "it" during is Gen 2 review.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / CreatorBacklash

Media sources: