Follow TV Tropes



Go To

"That's the problem with being the devil, everybody demonizes you."

TV Tropes is the devil. It teaches our children it's okay to be aroused by filth. It wants to make everyone in the world fat and lazy, pollutes the English language even more than Internet speak and unlike those evil drug dealers, they will actually admit they want to ruin your life!note  Self-identity is discouraged among the members of this cult, to the point where personal pronouns and references to oneself are actively discouraged. It's anti-American.

Of course none of that is true, or completely true, but that's how Demonization works. It's about twisting facts, or making them up, to make something look worse. Sometimes it can actually go as far as claiming something is satanic, but usually it's more down to earth. Either way, these claims are made either without proof, or counter to actual evidence.

After all, why let facts get in the way of complaining about things you don't like?

No, you want people to hate this thing. So you will do whatever you can to make this thing seem truly evil. It kills people (based on one or two deaths, that were quickly proven unrelated)! It ruined a nation (was coincidentally a fad in a country just before a coup d'etat)! God told you it's the sign of the devil (but somehow didn't tell anyone else, if it was that important)! Someone (whose name escapes me) even told me that it Eats Babies and puppies, someone Think of The Children!!! If it is a race, a nation, or another group of people, they are Always Chaotic Evil!

Strawman arguments can be a form of demonization at times (and vice-versa), but the two terms differ; strawman arguments involve making a weaker (or absurdly stronger) statement of the opponent's views in order to demolish them, while demonization usually ignores those positions outright in favor of a totally invented narrative.

A Super-Trope to Attack of the Political Ad, Nicknaming the Enemy, Ron the Death Eater, Everybody Hates Hades, Historical Villain Upgrade, Adaptational Villainy, Adaptational Abomination.

Compare with Accentuate the Negative (amplifying negatives instead of just pulling them from nowhere), Everyone Is Satan in Hell (when the symbolism of a work is interpreted to be demonic), Character Derailment (a writer suddenly has a character act demonic for no good reason), Godwin's Law (comparing persons or ideas you don't like to Hitler and/or Nazism, which carry the same connotation of absolute evil), Ron the Death Eater (demonizing a character in fan fiction), Digital Piracy Is Evil, Abomination Accusation Attack, Dehumanization.

Contrast with Rose-Tinted Narrative, Draco in Leather Pants, and Historical Hero Upgrade.

Not to be confused with demonetisation, which is what can happen if you use too many curse words in your YouTube video.

Since one person's Demonization may seem like another person's "fair and frank criticism," we should probably just say: "No Real Life Examples, Please!"


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Invoked in Code Geass—Lelouch deliberately drives public opinion of himself into the dirt, to the point that others call him "Lelouch the Demon." However, it's not entirely clear whether Lelouch used rumormongering to achieve this, or whether he ''actually'' carried out the many atrocities for which he had been accused.
  • Attack on Titan has the Eldian people, who are called "devils" by the rest of the world. This comes from their ability to transform into Titans - something no other race can do. They're essentially enslaved, with some of them living in ghettos and concentration camps around the world, most notably in the Kingdom of Marley, who use Eldian kids as Child Soldiers for their Warrior program and train them to become Titan shifters. The Eldians who live on Paradis Island (most of the main characters) are seen as even worse than the other Eldians, even by people of their own race and are considered cowardly traitors for fleeing there.
  • In Kuro no Maou, the Ark Continent, especially the Church Militants, "Cross Army" literally call all the natives of the Pandora continent that they want to conquer, and the humans they kidnap from other worlds, enslave, torture, put through unethical human experiments, and ultimately mind-wipe, as "demons" so they feel no guilt whatsoever about doing whatever they want with them, including wholesale slaughter. The title character, Kurono - having gone through all of it - whenever he faces a group of Cross Army soldiers, and hasn't gone into a berserker state throws it back at them.
    Kurono: Devil? Me? No, you are the devils! (attacks)
  • In High School D×D, the Devils are victim of demonization. In the setting, Devils really aren't evil. Most of them want to live normal lives like everyone else. Satan himself is a Reasonable Authority Figure, and Devils in general don't hold any ill intentions or preconceived notions about Angels or Humans. But thanks to the Holy Bible, itself described as "the greatest piece of propaganda that God ever created", both Angels and Fallen Angels believe that Devils are inherently malevolent and that should be hunted down and exterminated for the sake of everyone else.

    Comic Books 
  • The Chick Tracts are infamous for this, often literally tying anything Chick doesn't like (for example, Dungeons & Dragons or Rock 'n Roll) to Satan.
  • Cerebus the Aardvark does this to the entire female gender for the last third or so of its run (very arguably earlier).
  • Frank Miller's Holy Terror does this to Muslims and those of the Islamic faith by implying that they are all part of Al-Qaeda. It was originally pitched as a Batman story, but for fairly obvious reasons, DC turned it down.
  • Metahumans undergo this in Doomsday Clock, thanks to a whole confluence of factors, primarily the meddling of Doctor Manhattan.
  • Mutants are famously "hated and feared" in the Marvel Universe. Why they get this treatment when other metahumans don't is considered to be a bit puzzling, but the general explanation is the very clear knowledge that mutants are not just odd ones out, but an existential threat to baseline humanity by their mere existence - they're meant to replace them. Also, it's sometimes implied to be caused/aggravated by outside forces e.g. John Sublime.
  • In-universe example: The Daily Bugle will make sure the world knows that Spider-Man is a menace, even if they have to massage the facts to fit the narrative. This gets brought up, repeatedly, In-Universe and as of 2020, J. Jonah Jameson, the primary driver of the Bugle's hate for Spidey and the main reason he is a Hero with Bad Publicity, has come to regard it as Old Shame (partly because he knows who Spider-Man is now).
  • Elf/human relations in ElfQuest are traditionally prone to this; humans often try to fit the elves into their pre-existing belief systems as supernatural beings. Which means that elf tribes who aren't lucky enough to hit it off very well with their human neighbors right away tend to get quickly labeled 'tricksters' and 'evil spirits'.
    • Admittedly, the Wolfriders have a tendency to make this reputation for themselves in their early history, when harassing humans was something they did for fun.
  • The Germans in the World War I serial "Golden Eyes" and Her Hero "Bill" are painted as savage, violent, sneaky, and vehemently misogynistic to boot—the only named German character using his position in the army to capture and attempt to assault the American heroine. He believes that women are to be treated as "servants and slaves and dolls!" and when she fights back, he hauls her to the top of the trenches with the intent to shoot her in front of the onrushing American soldiers. Even the dog who gets to narrate a chapter describes the German forces as "that army who ravished the children—the women—the fruit trees—of God!"
  • Johnny Turbo portrays NEC's rival company, Sega (renamed FEKA in the comic) as evil robots who lie to children.
  • Edge of Spider-Verse (2023): Much like her alternate universe counterpart, Spinstress finds herself on the receiving end of bad press when she comes home from multiverse shenanigans, with wanted posters portraying her as a four-armed monstrosity, and her pet spider Webster as an even bigger spider (when he's small enough to fit in the palm of someone's hand). It proves slightly advantageous when Kraven the Huntsman comes looking for her, as he refuses to believe Spinstress is who she says she is, because she doesn't look like her poster.

    Fan Works 
  • PRT propaganda would have you believe Weaver's Society has a habit of forcing innocents into its service. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially since this is an extremely sore point for Taylor herself. Several assertions seem to follow this trend, and while it is unequivocally true the the Society has a lot of shady dealings and dubious methods, they are nothing approaching the bloodthirsty baby-eaters the PRT portrays them as
  • Sometimes someone resorts to Demonization in an admirable attempt-gone-horribly-wrong to fix someone else's Demonization, as a case of He Or She Who Fights Monsters. For example, the fanfic author known as Cori Falls was motivated to write most of her works in response to her frustration that Team Rocket kept getting demonized, in her view. Unfortunately, she chose to attempt to fix this demonization by demonizing Ash Ketchum instead, and she demonized everyone who stood against Team Rocket in any way, which somewhat detracted from the quality of her fanfiction and thwarted her attempt to lionize Team Rocket.
    • As another example of "Demonization as a response to Demonization", someone wrote a fanfic called "Hogwarts Exposed", in which Hogwarts cheerfully embraced the practice of nudism, meaning everyone going around naked all the time. The fic was written as a response to the fact that most people demonize nudists as a pack of sexual perverts or irresponsible hedonists. However, there were two problems to the author's attempt to fix this demonization: One, the fic demonizes everyone who hates nudism instead. Two, the fic portrays several of the nudists as sexual perverts only without actually criticizing their behavior, thus ironically destroying the point of defending nudism in the first place! An added layer of fail is added by the fact that nudism isn't routinely demonized in the country in which Hogwarts Exposed is theoretically set, as most people don't really give it much thought at all.
  • In Equestria: A History Revealed, the narrator seems to go out of her way to demonize Celestia every time she gets, even when in subtext, it is made clear that Celestia is one of the few good guys in the fic.
  • It's mentioned in RWBY: Scars that many humans demonize Faunus for their traditional religion and believe that they're Grimm worshippers.
  • In Ash's Coma, Ash demonizes his father, placing him as being the evil boss over Team Rocket.
  • Northstar Pokeshipper, similarly to Cori Falls, often demonizes Serena in his stories, seeing her as an obstacle to his favorite pairing (Ash and Misty). Taken a step further in Chapter 29 of his 151 Pokeshipping Stories, where he accusses the fandom (namely the supporters of Serena and her pairing with Ash) of being toxic, and portrays them as causing riots in Pallet Town that result in Tracey Sketchit's death. No, really, that's what the chapter is about.


  • Arthurian Legend: Morgan le Fay was a victim of this, since the publication of works which were often Older Than Print or Older Than Steam, like those postdating Chrétien de Troyes's ones, all because, to sit well with his audience, a healer had to be A) a man B) a nun. She was only made ambiguous and ultimately good as of Le Morte D Arthur, but later works show the woman who saved her brother by sending him to Avalon as a vengeful Vain Sorceress. Something which was partly kept up until some modern works like Marion Zimmer Bradley's modern novel The Mists of Avalon. This may also be partly due to later works making her a Composite Character taking on the traits of Nimue.
  • This is a long-term problem for the Deryni in Gwynedd. Some churchmen and lay people believe that Deryni (the people), their powers and their use are satanic, and they say so openly in some cases. And no, it doesn't really matter the use to which those powers are put.
  • Elantris: Hrathen is on a time crunch to convert the kingdom of Arelon to his religion before his people's army shows up to do it. So he takes to blaming all Arelon's misfortunes on the wicked and sinful Elantrians who lost their powers and immortality a decade ago.
  • Sword of Truth does this simultaneously to communism and theism by having the main villains of the series be an evil empire set out to conquer all of the world and force their fundamentalist religion and bureaucratic Soviet economy upon it.
  • Paradise Lost does this the most literal way possible, identifying the gods from the other religions of the ancient Levant as higher ranks of Satan.
  • The In Death series: Defense attorneys tend be subjected to this. Then again, the story is told from the perspective of a cop who arrests criminals and then has to testify against them, so ...
  • Monstrous Regiment: Protagonist Polly's country, Borogravia, dubs the leader of the Ankh-Morpork forces "Vimes the Butcher". When she meets Vimes, he tells her that Borogravian propaganda is laughably amateurish.
  • There are various webpages on the Internet (such as this one) hosting a piece which claims that The Nutcracker was originally a dark and gruesome tale completely unfit for children. While it was dark and gruesome by some peoples' standards, many of the "facts" listed to support the claim - such as that Marie's family doesn't love her, that Marie is depicted as lying in a pool of her own blood after injuring herself, and that her parents lock her into her room to punish her—are completely untrue.
  • Victoria does this to just about everyone, really. Liberal college professors and mass media aren't just wrongheaded, they're part of an active conspiracy to destroy America through stealth Marxism. Feminists are crazed man-haters who are just upset their love life doesn't work. Blacks are shucking and jiving purveyors of noise, filth and violence, environmentalists are hippie druids who would kill people in job lots for the sake of a single tree or squirrel. In one of the book's stranger moments Black Muslims seize control of Boston, facilitating an invasion by every Islamic country because everyone who prays towards Mecca gets on so well regardless of sectarian or ethnic differences ...
  • From Piers Anthony's Xanth series, we have the demonization of Magician Trent in the very first book, who lost the election to become King to the current ruler, the Storm King. As the loser of the political contest, Trent was demonized as an evil monster who transformed men into fish and let them suffocate on dry land (actually it turns out he turned them to fish in water, but they then unknowingly hopped up on dry land and then suffocated). Trent actually discusses the trope when Bink calls him on his perceived crimes; if the Storm King had lost the election, he would be portrayed as a doddering senile old fool who carelessly called up storms that went wild and killed people. All of this would normally be a huge spoiler, but in a rare triumph over this trope Trent becomes King Trent at the end of the book, and he's a major character in most of the books thereafter.
  • In The Last Days of Krypton, Zod paints Brainiac, Kandor's abductor, as this Silver Age Card-Carrying Villain who does his thing For the Evulz, when the book portrayed him as a neutral alien who stated (To Zod, no less) that he had no further designs on Krypton besides stealing their capital to be preserved. Zod does this so he can use the threat of alien invasion as an excuse to build up his power base.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: The ruling theocracy of Karse subjected the neighboring kingdom of Valdemar and their incorruptible troubleshooters to this trope for literal centuries. Even a few years after a divinely endorsed coup d'etat caused a massive adjustment of domestic policy and the pathologically aggressive new king of a third polity obliged a similar shift in diplomatic alignments, the young secretary of an envoy is completely gobsmacked when the lamed veteran in a neat white uniform sent to escort them is offhandedly as identified a Herald and his beautiful almost-impossibly-well-trained mount turns out to be one of the White Demons of his childhood horror stories.
  • In The Rising of the Shield Hero, Naofumi Iwatani is subjected to this during the first arcs, literally being called "The Devil of the Shield" by both the Melromarc Kingdom and the Three Heroes' Church, all due to religious bias, the princess's spiteful laying of a False Rape Accusation on him, and the king's personal hatred of him. He slowly lets his actions speak for himself, earning the respect of people around, and finally getting vindication when the queen personally clears his name.
  • In Roll Over and Die, the Church of Origin, the dominant religion, in collusion with the royalty, has spent over 50 years proclaiming that the nearby "demon" race are Always Chaotic Evil to the citizenry, starting from early childhood. The propaganda also includes several human towns reduced to ash with several convenient lone survivors who testify that demons are responsible for the carnage.

    Live Action TV 
  • An episode of Forever Knight had a flashback in which Hitler was portrayed as a man so full of evil that it made him too evil to dare turn into a vampire.
  • Terry Jones' documentary miniseries Medieval Lives discusses how Geoffrey Chaucer partook in satire of the contemporary Church to such a level as to seem this. Chaucer had a problem with how the Church had become commercialized—and how did he go about voicing this? By penning a story positing that when friars die, they go to Hell and dwell in Satan's ass for all eternity.

  • They Might Be Giants' "Youth Culture Killed My Dog" parodies this. "____ killed my dog" in general has become a common way to make fun of demonization.
  • Alice Cooper has a number of songs dealing with the topic of demonization (usually his own) including "No More Mister Nice Guy," "Go To Hell" and "Sex, Death and Money." These songs are actually from the point of view of moral guardians.
    • As well, the song "Wicked Young Man" seems somewhat of a reaction to the demonization of music and video games in the wake of the Columbine massacre.

  • Old Harry's Game: In-universe, the protagonist complains he has been unfairly maligned over the centuries. And he's Satan. If his testimony is to be believed, the rebellion against God wasn't a rebellion as such, more an overreaction to a load of corporate-jargon about decreasing the Almighty's workload which just happened to leave Satan in charge of a lot. However, Satan is shown to be a somewhat petty and vindictive figure, just not as outright evil as the Bible claims, since it's a comedy program.

As a general rule, inter-religious conflict often ends with one or both faiths coming to view each other's deities, spirits or heroic figures as demonic entities. As such, quite a lot of demons began as a bygone faith's gods.
  • The various Abrahamic faiths and their related religions have a long history of this:
    • Zoroastrianism, an early pseudo-monotheistic religionnote , arose among and displaced an older Indo-European polytheistic system in Iran related to what would later become Hinduism further east. As such, it uses the term "daeva" to refer to wicked spirits that sow chaos and disorder and which humans must oppose; not coincidentally, "deva" is the term for "divine being" in proto- and modern Hinduism. This term's influence is still common in modern Abrahamic religions; div, an Islamic term for demons and evil spirits, derives from daeva, while aešma-daeva, "daeva of wrath", is very likely ancestral to "Ashmedai", an archaic form of "Asmodeus".
    • Early Judaism existed in a state of periodic conflict with the religions of other Canaanite peoples, and a lot of the latter's deities were enshrined in scripture as demons or as the idols of evil people. Ba'al, the chief god of several religious systems, remains well-known as an archetypal false god. Additionally, since "Ba'al" simply meant "lord" and was often appended with various terms to signify what the deity was lord of, he was often mockingly referred to as "Ba'al Zebub", the Lord of Flies.
    • Moloch was a major patron deity for the Phoenicians, and is as such remembered for various failed attempts to introduce his worship into Israel. His scriptural descriptions as a terrible entity worshipped through child sacrifice ended up eclipsing most surviving historic records of his worship (although, notably, Greek and Roman historians ascribe fairly similar practices to the Phoenicians and their Carthaginian descendants — but by the same token, the Romans also had a significant axe to grind where the Carthaginians were concerned).
    • In late antiquity, a number of symbols of Greco-Roman polytheism, such as Poseidon's trident and Pan's horns and goat legs, became iconic imagery for the Devil Himself.
    • Norse lore was instead besieged with unflattering propaganda, such as the Sorli's Tale and the Gesta Danorum. Ironically, the Nordic people's belief in The Fair Folk persisted even as the old ways waned. Presumably because it was hard to demonize things that were already evil and dangerous from the get-go.
    • As the page image shows, Christianity is also no stranger to interfaith rivalry taking this tack. That's the Pope depicted as a demon.
  • There was once believed to have been some evidence that the Perseus and Medusa myth was created as part of a way to demonize a female-centric religion by the highly patriarchal Greek society. The existence of said female-centric religion is now widely discredited, however.
  • Set from Egyptian Mythology is primarily known today as an evil god, but, prior to 1st millennium BCE, he was much more amiable; as the top lieutenant of Ra during the latter's journey through Duat, he was the hero against the original evil god of Egyptian religion, Apep. His demonization came about because Set was the god of foreigners (as an extension of his domain of desert, since foreigners traditionally invaded Egypt through that terrain), and the aftermath of the Bronze Age collapse saw Egypt being ruled by foreigners for large stretches of time. While the Osiris myth far predated the event (it was probably the side effect of the unification of Egypt, as the cult of Set was displaced by the cult of Horus), Set was regarded as a mercurial god before the collapse, after which he was uniformly seen as evil.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons was subjected to this in the 80's and early 90's from Christian groups (most notably Jack Chick and Patricia Pulling, the founder of Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons) believing the game encouraged witchcraft, satanism, suicide, and all sorts of other horrible things. It got to the point where TSR (the game's publisher at the time) removed demons, devils, and other monsters from the line (mostly by renaming them into tanar'ri and baatezu), stopped to call shamans "wicca" and funding studies to counter the claims.
  • Eberron: Sarlona, the origin of humanity, was always closest to the planes, and thus hosted the most manifest zones and wild zones. Every nation was strongly affiliated with multiple planes, and many even had advisers native to those planes. When the Inspired were taking power, they convinced everyone that these extraplanar entities were demons and fiends pretending at benevolence, and used this to fan the flames and crush all opposition (the fact that some of them genuinely were fiends didn't help). The cruel irony, of course, is that the Inspired were controlled by the quori, demons from the realm of dreams, and they caused most of the problems that they so graciously solved.
  • Exalted:
    • The Realm's state-sanctioned faith, the Immaculate Order, demonizes Solar and Lunar Exalted as anathema. If allowed to exist, according to the Order, they will bring ruin to the world. This genocidal treatment of the celestial Exalted was brought about by the Great Curse corrupting the Solar and Lunar Exalted of the First Age, but declaring them anathema for all time might be a wee bit harsh.
    • There's also a case of literal Demonization — when the champions of the gods and humanity overthrew the alien Primordials, they branded the imprisoned titans as Yozis and named all their spiritual progeny demons.
  • RPGs, as explained on the Tabletop RPG section of Cowboy BeBop at His Computer, suffered this in Spain after two students killed a man in a bus stop with accusations -by clueless, sensationalistic, or both media- including that they basically transformed players into sociopaths unable to distinguish reality of fiction. That stigma lasts to this day, despite having been left clear those two did not play an RPG when they killed that man and studies that countered those claims.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Imperial Guardsman's Uplifting Primer has several examples of this intended to prove mankind's superiority over all alien races. Unfortunately, the information given is so woefully inaccurate (Ork teeth can easily be pulled out, Tau can only see you if you move, Eldar tech is outdated, and other Obviously Evil traits that are the complete opposite of what they're facing..) one suspects it was written by a Chaos cultist.

  • Beast Wars: Uprising: The chronologically last story in the series, a hidden coda, has a highly suspect historian called Hatchet trying to do an analysis on Lio Convoy, around ten thousand years after the fact, with demonization going on all around. Various members and activities of La Résistance are skewered, but Lio gets it worst of all. Not helping is that someone going by the name of Pontiff General Rampage swears up and down that Lio Convoy really was a horrible person, who among other crimes forcibly turned 'bots into suicide bombers. Hatchet comes to the conclusion that maybe the Builders really did have to unleash a Zombie Apocalypse against such a fiendish villain.

    Video Games 
  • Because he abolished slavery, Abraham Lincoln in BioShock Infinite has been demonized in Columbian propaganda (complete with horns) and John Wilkes Booth is depicted as a saint for assassinating him.
  • Yew's journal entries for the sin beasts in Bravely Second reference how some of them had characterization beyond "embodiment of sin" before they were subjected to this trope by the Crystal Orthodoxy, in a manner very similar to real-life religious doctrine, especially Christianity.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) portrays Russians as evil, weak, cowardly, and stupid.
    • The Russian military is portrayed as monsters who commit war crime after war crime. Evil Russians beating innocent civilians begging for mercy. Evil Russians forcing civilians to watch the public executions of their neighbors. Evil Russians executing unarmed and surrendering civilians en masse. Evil Russians attacking children with intent to kill. Evil Russians nonchalantly executing wounded civilians. Evil Russians torturing helpless and innocent prisoners. Even Nikolai, the one Russian character allied with the protagonists, shows no qualms in kidnapping an innocent woman and child so the protagonists can threaten to execute them in order to psychologically torture the child's father.
    • The Russian participation in the conflict in Urzikstan is never shown with an ounce more nuance than "Evil invading Russians are massacring innocent Arabs for no other reason than insane paranoia or outright sadism." Despite the conflict being explicitly called a Civil War, not once do we ever see any actual 'Urzikstanic' natives fighting alongside or cooperating with the Russians. Additionally, the Russians are producing the chemical weapons which are the basis of the plot, which is portrayed as an act of irredeemable evil that automatically qualifies the perpetrator as a terrorist.
    • Additionally, Russians are not only shown to be pure evil, but absurdly incompetent. The only successes the Russians have in the story are against completely helpless civilians and children. This is seen most strikingly on a mission where the Russian military is defeated by a group of starving, abused teenage girls with zero combat training. We see this again at the end: in most Call of Duty games the campaign ends with a climatic struggle against an antagonist who is usually able to put up a fight and often expresses some reluctant respect for the protagonist. In Modern Warfare, Farah sneaks up behind the evil Russian general, stabs him, he grabs her and struggles with her a bit, she grabs the knife and stabs him some more while he begs and pleads for his life.
  • Dragon Age II, the sequel to Dragon Age: Origins, both explores this trope as part of the plot and unfortunately uses the trope in a meta sense. The plot of Dragon Age II revolves around the conflict between the Templars and Mages in Kirkwall, and the defensibility, or lack thereof, of a system known as the Circle, in which mages (who in the game's setting can potentially be possessed by demons or use "blood magic" to control other people's minds and bodies) are taken away from their families as small children and made to live their whole lives in the Circle, with Templars to watch over them 24/7, ostensibly to teach them how to control their magic and themselves so they aren't a danger to themselves and other people. Unfortunately, because the nature of the system assumes taking away people's human rights due to what they might do, most people who grew up with American ideals will naturally side with the mages, because giving the Templars that much power over other men is going to lead to Templars demonizing mages. And that is in fact exactly what happens: mages are feared and hated, and Templars treat all mages as though they must eventually snap and turn into demons and slaughter everyone. So, to give the player a reason to root for the Templars, the Dragon Age II developers went far out of their way to make the Templars look justified. The mages' primary advocate, Anders, is portrayed as someone who demonizes the Templars and is irrational and unreasonable due to being possessed by the spirit of Justice. Almost every mage the player meets is an insane blood mage, the First Enchanter turns out to be aiding and abetting a serial killer because his use of magic would reflect badly on mages if revealed, the Templars are given an advocate in Fenris the elf that never learns his lesson or is ever proven wrong and shifts the "burden of proof" onto the innocent rather than the guilty, and the other sympathetic mage character, Merrill, accidentally makes a deal with a Pride Demon that results in the death of her Dalish clan's Keeper. So even as Dragon Age II tries to present both sides as having a point, since Dragon Age Origins players demonized the Templars while they were playing since the system is inherently open to abuse, the fact that the developers had to go this far out of their way to make the Templars have a point means that the mages were demonized, causing most players to side with the Templars since it looked like the Mages were all a bunch of lunatics and it looked like Anders had no good reason to complain or to object.
    • As if to balance this, the developers did see fit to include a few Templars who do abuse their power and authority: Sers Alric, Mettin, and ultimately Meredith.
      • It would be far more accurate to say that the game crafted a conflict based on both sides having extreme "bad apples" in them to show the player that what the detractors of each side fear so much is real albeit not nearly as ubiquitous as those who demonize the opposition claim. There are more than enough instances where the Templars show their oppressive, prejudiced behavior. The game runs mostly on Gray-and-Gray Morality where the only options are to pick your poison.
  • The Fate Series has the metaphorical demonization of historical figures cause literal demonization with the “Innocent Monster” trait, with several spirits appearing as inhuman villains who may have no resemblance at all to the people they were in life, because that was what public opinion imagined them to be.
  • In Live A Live, after Oersted kills the king by mistake, he is blamed for several other deaths and denounced throughout the kingdom as a demon. This weighs heavily in his eventual decision to become an actual demon.
  • A well-popularized example: Back in the late nineties, there was some backlash against Pokémon by varying fundamentalist groups, who claimed that the games (and related series) promoted violence and occult imagery. Notably, the Vatican publicly defended Pokémon from these detractors. More specifically, the Vatican defended Pokémon on the issue of evolution, of all things.
    • Pokémon, among tons of other "new media", are still treated this way by many fundamentalists.
    • PETA's flash game takes this to a whole new level, especially as the organization has been sorta quiet for the last 15 years on the franchise.
  • In Psychonauts Raz's dad, Augustus Aquato is said to hate psychics, among other things, his image in Oleander and Raz's head, merged together, shows this quite a bit. "Man do I hate Psychics, and seeing my son happy!" The real version is, of course, nothing like that; in fact, he is horrified when he sees the mental image, saying, "Is that really how I look in your mind?" and "I have a lot more hair than that!"
  • Done in-game to Ratchet & Clank in Ratchet: Deadlocked, although the audience isn't falling for it. This demonization reaches Implausible Deniability when kids clearly cheering for Ratchet are dubbed over on the show.
  • Saints Row: The Third has an In-Universe inversion, where Jessica is painted by one of the Saints' enemies as an innocent who got caught up in gang violence, conveniently leaving out how she was actually the girlfriend (and defacto second-in-command) of a rival gang leader and had subjected one of the Saints to a Cruel and Unusual Death.
  • Shin Megami Tensei I and Shin Megami Tensei II had this happen quite literally to several gods, turning them into demons; namely, Ahura Mazda (turned into Asura) and Ishtar (turned into Astaroth), by YHVH. And in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, YHVH himself becomes the receiving end of this as everyone can demonize him as well.
  • Lampshaded in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 by Raziel. Raziel encounters a stained glass mural depicting Janos Audron and describes Janos' history, ending with:
    Raziel: I wondered, could Janos Audron truly have been as monstrous as depicted here, or was this merely artistic license by the Sarafan, who sought to lionize themselves by demonizing their darkest enemy?
  • The Melnorme and Druuge do this to each other in Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters. Since each of them have their own moral compasses different from ours what they do and do not say when they demonize each other is a bit curious. For example, the Melnorme (who consider altruism highly despicable) are quite emotional about the Druuge "giving away fuel" but make no mention of the fact that the Druuge are slavers. There's more than a bit of Boomerang Bigot in play, on both sides—for example, the Druuge accuse the Melnorme's "rescue service" of being little more than piracy, but the Druuge consider any unarmed and unescorted vessel as derelicts free for the taking.
  • Implied Trope in Stellaris. Most empires, when meeting alien lifeforms, will call them "Alpha/Beta/Delta/Gamma Aliens" until First Contact is properly established. Xenophobes will call them "Alpha/Beta/Delta/Gamma Menace" in a simple, subtle yet chilling way of Painting the Medium.
  • Later in Tales of Berseria, Velvet begins to be known by the populace as the Lord Of Calamity. While she does many questionable things, has a bad attitude and is indeed a Daemon, she's not remotely as evil as the rumors and propaganda say. Ironically, information about her appearance got demonized and distorted to the point that people don't recognize her even when she's standing right beside them!
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines contains many examples of this, although it's played much more low-key than usual examples of this trope, since the demonizations aren't brought up too often. But when they are, the Camarilla are a bunch of tyrannical snobs and elitist pricks who simply want to enslave all vampires according to their whims! The Anarchs are a bunch of children who hate responsibility and would love an excuse to go on a rampage! The Nosferatu are a bunch of ugly monsters! The Toreadors are a bunch of superficial snobs who love only beauty and have no other values at all! The Malkavians are all a bunch of insane whackjobs! The Ventrue are all snobs who sneer down their noses at everyone else! The Tremeres are secretive and untrustworthy and probably wish to enslave everyone! The Brujah are all shiftless and thuggish and the Gangrel are all mindless animals!

    Web Originals 
  • The CollegeHumor video "If The Other Party Wins" uses this (as a spoof, of course, since it's a humor website) against both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party of the United States during the 2008 elections, from the other Party's perspective:
  • Todd in the Shadows does this in a tongue-in-cheek way to Peter Cetera, claiming that he's a war criminal, that he caused the stock market crash, and that he killed Todd's dog.
  • Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw relishes in doing this to the United States and Americans in general. If he so much as thinks Americans have anything to do with a game, he will spend a considerable amount of time demonizing them. This was aptly demonstrated in his Killzone 3 review, which included a lot of bile levied at Americans despite Killzone's creators being Dutch. Yahtzee attempted to dismiss people calling him on this by claiming that Americans were the game's target audience.
  • The Nostalgia Critic and its star and creator Doug Walker have recently gone on long, very hateful speeches about Michael Bay that comes off as very off putting. It's gotten so bad that even people that don't like Michael Bay or the Transformers Film Series have began to find it uncomfortable and rather hypocritical seeing as how he insulted anyone who likes the fourth film Transformers: Age of Extinction, breaking his stance against fan hating.

    Western Animation 
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers has Adolf Hitler's very gaze be as bad as pollution on Captain Planet. A big problem with the series is that the villains are into polluting for no good reason (or for money), which implies that anyone who pollutes is just a plain villain instead of someone making a mistake — even a big one. Ironically the Eco-Villains were made to be over-the-top Card Carrying Villains in an attempt to avoid demonizing normal people who were just doing their jobs, as the creators were trying to avoid kids getting into major drama with their parents if they weren't so different from grayer Punch Clock Villains.
  • South Park is open to demonizing and attacking everyone.
    • For example, the show's depicted environmentalists as Ax-Crazy. Not just eco-terrorists — all environmentalists.:
    • The episode "Canada on Strike" implies that people were starving to death during the 2008 Writers Strike.
    • South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut demonizes Moral Guardians, both figuratively and literally. Not only does the show draw parallels in their behavior with that of Nazi Germany, but their habit of raising Hell over small issues ends up summoning Satan. Heck, some may say that this show is the Trope Codifier for how they are portrayed in modern media.
    • "Butt Out" casts the anti-smoking movement as being comprised of Gollum-like sub-humans led by Rob Reiner who plan to kill Cartman to further their campaign against Big Tobacco, whereas the local tobacco company itself is treated quite fairly and realistically, acknowledging the health risks of smoking but also that it's one's own choice to do so and no one forces them. With all that said, apparently the point of the episode wasn't to be pro-smoking — it's because Parker and Stone just think Rob Reiner is an ass. The demonization is played for laughs in any case.
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Ember Island Players", the heroes watch The Boy in the Iceberg, a play about their adventures, written by Pu-On Tim and performed by the titular Ember Island Players. It turns out to be a Fire Nation Propaganda Piece, and gives all the heroes this treatment (with the villains being given leather pants).
    • Aang doesn't get this as bad as the rest, but pretty much all of his responsibility was stripped away, and he was portrayed as an immature prankster (he's also played by a woman).
    • Katara is turned into a melodramatic crybaby with no fighting ability and no objection to Jet destroying a town for her (which was what caused the real Katara to turn on Jet).
    • Sokka becomes a dumb water tribe hick who is always hungry and keeps telling bad jokes about food.
    • Zuko... well, they just exaggerate what is already there. The play's Zuko is even more of an Emo Teen than the real deal.
    • Iroh becomes a hedonistic Fat Bastard with none of the real Iroh's kindness or spirituality.
    • Toph is depicted as a very large man... but the real Toph just thinks it's funny.
  • In the first Doug Christmas Episode, the title character watches a "recreation" of Porkchop's supposed attack on Beebe Bluff, which is depicted as a snarling bulldog throttling a girl around. This is the point where Doug realizes things have went way too far.
  • In Drawn Together, virtually every character with conservative viewpoints are often portrayed as ignorant, racist, homophobic, overzealous religious nutjobs, or otherwise just plain heartless or hypocritical. Clara often exhibited such traits, especially in later episodes, and even antagonized some of the main characters due to her remarkably intolerant political and religious views. On the other hand, while other main characters certainly had unlikeable aspects to their personality, they're not nearly as close-minded (aside from the occasional joke about Xandir's sexuality) and Foxxy (one of the more liberal characters on the show) is often depicted as the voice of reason.
  • In Family Guy, conservatives, Christians, pro-lifers, and in general people who don't agree with the writers' political views get this treatment — which unfortunately affected the show's quality.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Exaggerated in "Sideshow Bob Roberts", which depicts the Springfield Republican Party as zealots who hold meetings (prefaced by a round of Ominous Latin Chanting) in an ominous castle straight out of a Hammer Horror film, and who at one point confuse a water cooler with their mayoral candidate.
    • Later, the show takes a potshot at the Democrats, who are portrayed as a bunch of liberal stereotypes who are so ineffectual and poor that they have to hold their meetings in a random smoothie shop over lunch.
    • In "Homer Badman" with the TV movie Homer S.: Portrait of an Ass-Grabber, Homer, played by Dennis Franz, is portrayed as a cackling, dog-kicking pervert.
      Ashley: No, Mr. Simpson! A cat is a living creature!
      Homer: I don't care! [runs over cat] Now I'm gonna grab me some sweet!
      Ashley: No, Mr. Simpson, that's sexual harassment! If you do, I'll scream so loud the whole country will hear!
      Homer: Heh, with a MAN in the White House?! Not likely! Muah ha. Muah haha. MUAH HA HA HAAAAAA!
  • Deconstruction In-Universe in My Life as a Teenage Robot: Evil Queen Vexus of Cluster Prime has lied to her own robot people about Earth's defender, Robot Girl XJ9, presenting her like an Always Chaotic Evil, horrible monster robot that wants to destroy her own kind in various propaganda videos. When XJ9 accidentally goes to Cluster Prime, all the robots see her for the cute, normal, heroic robot who wants to help and protect others that she is. This is Queen Vexus' downfall. There is also an earlier incident in the same special where the policemen who find her argue because only one of them realizes who she is, the others not seeing it because she looks nothing like the propaganda.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • In general, since the show operates from a Rule of Funny premise of "kids vs. adults", obviously "adults in general" are also demonized. They're either completely useless, or demonic monsters of some kind, or they're crazy whack-jobs, or they do things to make kids suffer for the sheer kicks of it.
    • The episode "Operation: B.U.L.L.I.E.S." depicts bullies as giant dinosaur-like creatures with names like Spitballosaurus and Wedgiesaurus Rex.
  • Megatron in Transformers: Prime does this for an amnesic Optimus/Orion, saying that Ratchet was the Big Bad and that the reason the Autobots call them "Decepticons" was as a form of Autobot propaganda.
  • Similar to the Teenage Robot example above, Horton Hears a Who! (1970) has the Sour Kangaroo tell everyone that Horton's sayings about the speck will lead to anarchy and gets everyone to cage him and destroy the speck. When Horton's words turn out to be true and the speck is saved, the Kangaroo gets shunned and hated.
  • Aku tries to attack Samurai Jack this way, by gathering children and telling them fairy tales where he's the hero and Jack is the bad guy. It doesn't work, but it made for some of the best moments on the show.
  • In Steven Universe, Pink Diamond did this to herself by telling stories portraying Pink Diamond as a merciless and cold-hearted tyrant who would laugh emptily when Rose Quartz begged her to spare humanity. Garnet would later continue this in "Your Mother and Mine" describing Pink Diamond as a Dirty Coward who begged Blue and Yellow Diamond for help because she was so afraid of Rose Quartz.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: The Horde, being reimagined as a fascist-like army where recruits are Obliviously Evil indoctrinated Child Soldiers, resort to this, teaching their Cadets that princesses are Axe-Crazy monsters with destructive powers they barely control, complete with depicting them as wraith-like figures with a Slasher Smile during training sessions. This propaganda is so effective Adora actually is horrified upon her first transformation into She-Ra, seeing it as a case of Tomato in the Mirror.
    Adora: I didn't know being a princess was contagious!
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): The title characters were always treated by the media as someone Earth needed protection from not as the protectors of New York that they actually were. It doesn't matter how much April O'Neil presented coverage, live or unedited, that they were genuine heroes, talk shows and other forms of the press would always be quick to jump on them as a menace on the flimsiest of hearsay, rumors, or stuff they pulled out of their own ass. Just for ratings.

Alternative Title(s): Demonisation, Demonification