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Playing the Victim Card

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"If you always make yourself the victim, you can justify being awful."
Heidi Turner, South Park

A character has given a speech about how poor and oppressed they are, that they’re a victim of circumstance, and everybody seems to be out to get them.

The problem is that the character making all these statements is a villain.

This can be played several ways. A Jerkass Manipulative Bastard will describe a situation to make a third party think that they are an innocent victim, and the real good guys are mean and evil and out to get them for no good reason. They may legitimately believe the grievances - but the heroes can usually recognize a pity party over self-inflicted wounds. Either way, they’ll likely come across as a Dirty Coward for trying to dodge responsibility. However, sometimes the person playing the victim card is neither of those things. Instead they are an actually victimized Designated Villain.


Whether the other characters believe the crocodile tears also depends on who they are. The naive, ignorant of the current situation, will usually buy it. Characters who were there will know better. When a hoodwinked character realizes that they've been fooled, they will not be happy. Or, if it's the designated villain example, the villain will most likely be laughed at, mocked and/or be victimized again.

On the rare occasion a good guy tries to perform this action, they are usually branded as whiners because Might Makes Right.

This may take the form of a Freudian Excuse if the villain legitimately believes what they're saying—see Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse when such cases overlap with this trope. Compare What Is Evil? and Playing Sick. If the fans actually believe the villain, that’s Draco in Leather Pants.


Very often Truth in Television, sadly.


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     Anime & Manga 
  • Vandread: During their Kangaroo Court, one of the female pirates says the government is 'playing the victim' when the judge says they are trying to topple the government.
  • In the first episode of Darker Than Black, Chiaki discovers that two of her "friends" are Contractor special agents that are hunting her. When she starts running from them, one says that that's not very friendly of her. Given that Contractors are fairly emotionless, this amounts to "just because I'm an emotionless killer doesn't mean I don't have feelings", and thus isn't meant to be taken very seriously.
  • Done by Villetta of Code Geass, when she claimed during the final episode that she just wanted somewhere to belong, even though her past was part of the Britannian royal unit and a proud racist. Potentially also when she, alongside Ohgi, testifies against Lelouch on account of Geass leading up to the Black Knights' betrayal, even though she had earlier been keeping surveillance over Lelouch on behalf of Britannia as part of an attempt to keep him from his rebellion alongside the Black Knights, specifically because she couldn't be affected by Geass anymore and may have known more than what she was letting on. Played all too straight with Schneizel that same episode when he claimed he could be under Lelouch's Geass and not know it.
  • Also pulled by Yuzuha in the Tenchi Muyo!: Daughter of Darkness movie. Particularly jarring because she does it after cruelly killing her own "daughter", Mayuka, and mocking her friends's grief at her death.
  • Used to agitate Medaka in Medaka Box by Kumagawa as after he and Zenkichi appeared to have died after their Student Council battle. However the events that cause their supposed death were due to Zenkichi's actions, so technically Kumagawa was the victim. Kumagawa made this statement after his powers brought him back though. Also, Zenkicki was brought back by someone else, though he wasn't dead.
  • Your average Gundam antagonist faction (usually spaceborne) absolutely loves to play this trope. Nine times out of ten they'll claim the local protagonist (Earth) faction is this tyrannical regime that has pushed them to the breaking pointnote , and that everything the antagonists do in reprisal (up to and including genocide through nukes, poison gas, colony-sized BFGs, remote-controlled flying blades and motorcycle battleships) is all justified. Also nine times out of ten, they'll have a legion of fanboys in RL that will not only agree with all of these claims, but decry the heroes for "daring" to stand against them. Special mention goes to the Principality of Zeon from the original series for not only claiming that they were fighting a war of conquest (as in it involved an Earthside invasion) in the name of "independence" from Earthnote , but for nobody in-series ever calling them on their BS (much less their invoking this trope) throughout Gundam's thirty-plus-years long run.
  • Thunder McQueen's primary character trait (suicidal tendencies aside) in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is constantly thinking of himself as a victim, even when he's clearly doing something wrong, like stealing money from Hermes. Whitesnake comments that this victim complex makes him a truly evil individual even though he isn't actively malicious.
  • Light of Death Note seems to enjoy playing this. Whenever he interacts with L, who rightfully deduces that he's Kira, he acts like a poor kid who's being charged with something he's innocent of. Everyone on the task force falls for this trick and gets mad at L for finding new reasons why he believes that he's Kira. During the Mello/Near arc, the task force slowly begin to understand why L thought Light was Kira and they try to bring him in.
    • The first movie ups this trope to the max. Naomi Misora, under the influence of the Death Note, holds Light's girlfriend, Shihori, as a hostage and threatens to shoot her unless he admitted to being Kira. Shihori breaks free and, also being under the Death Note's power, takes a bullet that was meant for him. All of this was an elaborate plan to make him look innocent and get the police to feel bad for thinking that he was Kira.

     Comic Books 
  • One Batman comic features an obscure villain named Maxie Zeus insisting to the media that Batman is only harassing him because he is of Greek descent.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Renno is not an actual villain but he slips frequently into unacceptable behavior in his attempts to win Wonder Girl's affections and always plays the victim when she is unimpressed or angry at him for lying to or trying to otherwise trick her.

     Fan Works 
  • One of the Star Trek fanfic compilations plays with this with a story where the holographic Ming the Merciless knockoff Dr. Chaotica has been reprogrammed from being a shallow powermonger to a complex "my father never loved me, everyone at school ostracized me" pile of wangst. Paris is infuriated. He wanted to have fun, not worry about motivations.
  • Cori Falls's renditions of Terrible Trio Jessie, James and Meowth practically live on this trope. Even after they "go good", they continually describe themselves as "victims of circumstance" to explain away their former lives of crimenote .
  • Caster does a slightly variant of this in Fate/Stay Night: Ultimate Master to convince Ben to associate with her: she relates her whole origin story to him, accentuating the victim aspect of her life (which is true), but carefully neglecting some details so he will feel sympathy for her.
  • In And Again, Naegi has to deal with this in the first trial he faces: Sayaka acts like he's turned on them and making false accusations, and he struggles to convince the others they're really the murderer without revealing how he knows this.
  • In For His Own Sake, Naru uses this tactic when called before the Tokyo University school board to explain why she attacked an innocent man. Specifically, she claims she was acting on instinct because she's so used to defending herself from Keitaro, proceeding to describe him as a shameless pervert who's made her life a living nightmare. It doesn't work, and she is expelled.
  • In Throne of Atlantis Abridged, Orm uses his mistreatment by his mother as justification for invading the surface world. Aquaman promptly calls him out on it.
  • The One to Make It Stay: Not only is this one of Lila's favorite tactics, Alya pulls this twice in rapid succession.
    • First, she accuses Ladybug of being unfair and hitting her with Disproportionate Retribution when she benches Rena Rouge for the summertime, warning her that she needs to review and reconsider her behavior or else risk being sidelined for good. Note that this is in direct response to Alya secretly filming one of Chat Noir's Love Confessions, carefully editing the footage to make it appear like Ladybug returned the sentiments, and posted it on her Ladyblog. Not only that, when Ladybug confronted her about it, she completely blew off all of her complaints about having their privacy violated and their relationship deliberately misrepresented for the sake of clickbait. She also grossly exaggerates the extent of her punishment — Ladybug benches her for the summer, but Alya tells Nino that Rena has been forcibly retired for good, omitting the part where she's been given a chance to prove herself.
    • Then, after repeatedly ignoring what Marinette was trying to tell her in favor of pushing her various agendas, Alya's shocked when her 'bestie' puts her foot down and declares that she needs her space. While Marinette presents this as just wanting some breathing room and taking a break, Alya proceeds to treat it as though she betrayed her and dramatically torched their friendship, wallowing around feeling sorry for herself and refusing to acknowledge that she might have somehow contributed to this shocking turn of events. In both cases, she treats Ladybug and Marinette as being far more unreasonable and inflexible than they actually are, ignoring the opportunity they're offering to salvage those relationships in order to pretend she's being unfairly prosecuted over actions she sees as 'no big deal'.
    • I Owe You Every Joy of Love underscores that this is Lila's influence at work. After learning about Marinette's request, she promptly spins a sob story about having former friends tell her that they needed some space as a 'nice' way of cutting ties with her. In essence, she plays this card while convincing Alya that she is the victim.
  • Risk It All: After Ren breaks the arm of the guy who mugged him, the mugger declares that he's the one getting mugged while coming up with a sob story about how Ren is taking his niece's birthday money. Ren tries to point out the issues with this guy's story, namely that the mugger is holding a gun in plain sight, but his words fall on deaf ears. Ren is then forced to flee, later learning that footage of the incident is filled with comments about what a loser he is for mugging a guy.
  • The Sleeper Hit AU has Bakugou insist that everything Midoriya has done with his life has purely been to spite him. His desire to become a Pro Hero? As far as Bakugou's concerned, it has nothing to do with wanting to help people, and everything to do with 'upstaging' him and ruining HIS dream of being the first kid from their junior high to go Pro. No amount of evidence to the contrary can shake Bakugou's conviction that everything revolves around him.

    Films — Animated 
  • Scar tries this in The Lion King after Simba has him on the ropes, blaming the hyenas for leading him astray. It bites him in the ass later. And the rest of his body.
  • Ratigan does this in The Great Mouse Detective, lamenting on how, because of Basil, he hasn't had a moment's peace of mind in years, and how the "insufferable pipsqueak" has intervened with his plans!
  • At the beginning of The Emperor's New Groove, Kuzco addresses the audience as they watch an image of a crying llama. He tells them that he's that very animal, and proceeds to explain how things got this bad for him. As the movie progresses, though, we see what a self-centered Jerkass and Royal Brat he really is, and that he brought all of his problems on himself. When the film catches up to the same sequence, Narrator!Kuzco comes back and reminds the audience how he is the real victim, and that he did nothing wrong... only for the Kuzco who's actually gone through the story and realized his own terrible traits to tell him to shut up, rejecting the self-pitying narrative.
  • Syndrome from The Incredibles does this to Mr. Incredible by claiming he was hurt after his rejection from him as a kid. He completely ignores that he had been nothing but an inconvenience towards Mr. Incredible that night and caused a lot of havoc in the process. Mr. Incredible was also too busy with Bomb Voyage for Buddy's "assistance". For bonus points, in Syndrome's Self-Serving Memory of the event, Bomb Voyage is completely absent.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This is Commodus' shtick in Gladiator. If he's not murdering, or ordering people to be murdered, expect him to be whining about how awfully vilified his altruistic self is.
  • Regina George pulls this off in Mean Girls when she puts a negative entry in the Burn Book (which she wrote with her friends) about herself and promptly gives it to the principal.
  • In The Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort's narration tries to paint himself as an innocent victim who is being targeted by Patrick Denham and the FBI because they are jealous of his life of luxury and don't want him to be successful. However, it's obvious to the audience that the only reason he became successful is because he's a thief who steals money from people through stock fraud and Denham is pursuing him because he's breaking the law.
  • In The Godfather Part II, Michael Corleone is put on trial. He tells the court how offensive he finds it that a war hero like himself should have his name slandered by accusations of criminal activity. However, the audience knows he's at the head of New York's most powerful mob family.
  • Taken: Bryan Mills impersonates a corrupt French police officer to ascertain the identities of his daughter's kidnappers under the pretense of visiting the Albanian gang of sex slavers to discuss future bribes. One of the men has the gall to accuse Mills of trying to extort them because they're immigrants. Mills immediately shuts this down:
    Mills: "I'm extorting you because you are breaking the law. You come to this country, take advantage of the system and think because we are tolerant that we are weak and helpless. Your arrogance offends me. And for that the rate just went up 10%. Do you want to keep negotiating, or do we have a deal?"
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: Grindelwald consistently portrays all wizards and witches, but followers of his especially, as victims of Muggle persecution. However, most Muggles no longer even know they exist, and so aren't persecuting anyone. He, meanwhile, murders some Muggles simply to take their house, and implies they will be slaves under his rule. When the aurors come, he also tells his followers not to resist, and then portrays one who is killed after going for her wand as a victim (while ruthlessly killing the rest later).

  • Willoughby of Sense and Sensibility for the second type, trying to justify his behavior with I'm a Man; I Can't Help It, but failing miserably. It might have worked if he had been relating the story to anyone who didn't personally know the people he hurt. The ridiculously rich John Dashwood and his wife also qualify, constantly espousing their apparent poverty to themselves and others to shirk the responsibility of being charitable to John's half-sisters.
  • Mrs. Norris of Mansfield Park constantly preaches about all the hard work she does taking care of everyone and all the sacrifices she makes and, like Willoughby, seems to fully believe she's a kind, generous, caring aunt...when she's actually a stingy, vain, pompous, meddling, insufferable know-it-all who spoils one set of nieces and nephews only to make The Unfavorite niece feel more horrible.
  • This seems to be a common Jane Austen character — the sociopathic Lady Susan is so sick and tired of people ruining her plots, enlightening others about her lies, and disliking her once they find out how she mentally abuses her daughter and seduces married men. Why can't they just let her manipulate her Unwitting Pawns in peace?
  • In A Brother's Price, Keifer Porter was a master of this. We know that Trini thought he was stupid, and she might have told him so, but he managed to pull the "poor me, she provoked me" excuse after knocking her unconscious, chaining her to his bed, and torturing her. He had his eldest wives so wrapped around his little finger that he wasn't punished at all. Fortunately, he died in an explosion before Trini had even recovered from the injuries. His sister Kij got a lot of pity for losing Keifer, her sister Eldest and some mothers in that explosion ... even though her family had placed the bomb there in the first place, and the mothers' death was planned. Eldest and Keifer were accidents, but self-inflicted.
  • Zack sometimes uses this tactic to get out of unpleasant activities in The Mental State. Knowing that a prison gang member tried to drug him so that he would develop an addiction, he arranges a police sting operation, then claims that he has been traumatised by being arrested and betrayed by the member who tried to drug him (whom he claims was the ne responsible for tipping the police off). He then feigns paranoia about being exploited again to get out of having to join the rest of the gang in their illicit activities.
  • Satan in Paradise Lost — need we mention the frightening tendency to believe him?
  • Cersei Lannister's "confession" to the High Septon in A Song of Ice and Fire is her blaming everyone else for "forcing" her into sin. Not too surprising since she generally blames everyone but herself for all of her problems.
  • The Baron Vladimir Harkonnen considers doing this to the Emperor in Dune, thinking "Let him wrong me in that! I could place myself on the throne while still beating my breast over how I'd been wronged"
  • In Wings of Fire: Winter Turning, ex-queen of the SkyWings Scarlet rants at another dragon about how her life is ruined by the Dragonets Of Destiny. She also blatantly says that she's the victim in this situation and how someone should help her in her time of need.
  • In P. G. Wodehouse's Ukridge stories, Ukridge basically lives by "borrowing" from acquaintances and by dodging his bills, but if anyone ever points out the problems his Get Rich Quick Schemes cause, he claims that they're unjustly persecuting him. People should be grateful for the chance to be involved, but instead they just drag him down with petty complaints and unreasonable expectations. He was trying to do them a bit of good, and this is the thanks he gets?

     Live-Action TV 
  • Drake & Josh: Whenever Drake and Josh do rightfully get back at Megan for all the stuff she puts them through, she'll act like an innocent victim while ignoring the fact that she started it.
  • Firefly: Saffron does this to disarm Mal (quite literally) at the end of the episode "Trash". It's strongly implied that she's been carrying that card in her back pocket for a long time — and might even deserve it. Of course, her following actions sort of decrease our sympathy...
  • In Friends, Phoebe tries using this to get the others to feel bad for her (usually by bringing up her mother's suicide) so she can avoid getting in trouble when she makes a mistake. As the series goes on, they all grow wise to this and refuse to accept it as an excuse for her behavior.
  • Kitchen Nightmares: One of the things that's sinking Park's Edge is how the owner Richard claimed that complaints against his problem were made out of racism, instead of there being real problems with his food. Naturally, customers were insulted about being called racist, which just made the restaurant's reputation worse.
  • Oz: The supposed victim? Clayton Hughes. After talking to inmate Simon Adebisi, a sense of purpose births in Hughes- racial politics. After attempting to kill Governor Devlin, he is sent to the very prison he originally worked at. His defense? He's a political prisoner set up by an unjust system. What happens after that? Well...
  • One female serial killer attempted to pull this one in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit by saying that she was raped so many times that she can't remember, but Detective Benson doesn't fall for it. She just makes fun of it by saying "Right, and your mother died, and your dad beat ya".
  • Prince Sprocket pulls this on Auric in Power Rangers Zeo to get him to attack the Rangers. Auric realizes he's been had when the Rangers refuse to attack back and tell him they serve under Zordon. Cue Oh, Crap! from Sprocket.
  • Supernatural: Lucifer loves to whine and moan about how Humans Are Bastards, that he was The Unfavorite in God's eyes and unjustly became the fall guy for every ill in the world. His own brother Gabriel calls him out on this being nothing more than a shallow excuse to justify his own malicious actions against humanity, pointing out that Lucifer was actually their father's favorite, not him or Michael.
  • ER. Upon being told that she was not being given the covered chief residency position because she'd taken too much time off for maternity leave, Dr. Jing Mei Chen began ranting and raving about the supposed sexism she was being subjected to, and basically used this to get the position after all.
  • Daredevil (2015): In season 3, after getting his racketeering convictions overturned, Wilson Fisk claims he was framed by Daredevilnote  on the government's behalf because he opposed them.
  • Played for laughs in an episode of Frasier, when Frasier is punched in the face by a man who is later murdered by Niles's ex-wife Maris. Subsequently, whenever Frasier finds himself in trouble for anything he's done, he immediately tries to wriggle out of the blame by melodramatically declaring that he is still suffering the effects of being "punched in the face... by a man now dead!". Incredibly, despite the other characters facing far more serious difficulties than this "problem" at the time, this somehow works every single time he tries it.
  • Fargo: After pretty much single-handedly causing the horrific events of season two with her selfishness and greed, Peggy is being hauled away by the police for her role in everything... and immediately starts up a self-pitying rant about how she’s the real victim here, that she was just trying to fulfill her dreams but was crushed by a sexist society, and even has the audacity to say its all Rye Gerhardt’s fault for getting struck and killed by her car while she was speeding on a dark road at night. After humoring her for a moment, an unimpressed Lou shuts her up with a single sentence; “People are dead, Peggy”.

  • In Jay-Z's song "99 Problems," he relates an incident when he was pulled over, portraying himself as a victim of racial profiling. In the incident in question, however, he was in fact carrying cocaine in a hidden compartment of his car, and only escaped arrest because the drug-sniffing K-9 unit was delayed.

  • Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Note that most modern critics think Shylock had a point.
    • Shylock's famous speech is referenced several times in the film To Be or Not to Be; given that several of the heroic characters are Jewish, the film takes the sympathetic modern interpretation. But at one point, The Quisling argues in a similar manner that "Nazis are people too", and he is definitely not presented as sympathetic.
  • The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui: Arturo Ui is introduced moping about how everyone's forgotten about the things he's done. More specifically, the fact that he murdered twenty people.
  • In Christopher Durang's Baby with the Bathwater, a Black Comedy extreme, main character Daisy (who's a boy) spends over a decade in college because he can't finish an essay on Huckleberry Finn—his family completely botching his upbringing has pretty much left him a wreck, and he can't stop obsessing over what they did. While the therapist he goes to see is largely sympathetic, there comes a moment when he finally asks a powerful question: why doesn't Daisy just finish the stupid essay and stop blaming his family for everything? Daisy's initially upset, but eventually takes the advice to heart: he writes the paper, includes many lines calling out his parents for their terrible behavior, reads it aloud to them, and cuts them out of his life forever. The play ends with Daisy and his new wife raising a baby of their own and doing a much better job, suggesting Durang's Aesop about coming to terms with your past and letting go of it rather than carrying it around forever.

     Video Games 
  • The PC's love interest has this played on them in Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal Of course, it's done by an undead monster to set up a rather brutal ambush.
  • Mikan in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair legitimately thinks that she is a victim, and that nobody will "forgive her existence". This attitude causes the characters to hesitate in a trial when they start finding out that evidence seems to point to her as the culprit, as she has been kind to them and nursed some of them back to health previously. This is a complicated example, as Mikan has been the victim of a lifetime of unjustified abuse at the hands of her peers, including in the game itself - nobody tries to stop Hiyoko from her vicious bullying of Mikan, not even Mahiru or Hajime; this trope comes into play when she uses this past to justify murdering two people.
    • Kirumi in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is a more straightforward example, as when it is revealed they are the culprit, she try to justify it with The Needs of the Many and accuse Shuichi of having some kind of grudge against her that is making him "warp the narrative" so he can pin the blame on her. She even goes so far as to suggest that she needs to survive more than the other students because she was Prime Minister and the outside world need her. While some of the more gullible students like Gonta and Tenko are moved by her words, Kaito and Kokichi call her out on how selfish this actually is - the only time in the game they agree on something, mind you.
  • Lord Brevon from Freedom Planet is fond of doing this, claiming that all he's trying to do is fix his ship, get off Avalice and save his homeworld, and all the heroes are doing is delaying his departure and forcing him to take more drastic measures. Never mind the fact that his plan involves murdering the king of Shuigang, brainwashing his son into being his obedient servant and starting a massive war between the three kingdoms of Avalice while he steals a MacGuffin that provides power to the entire planet. Also the whole "Evil intergalactic warlord" thing. And the fact that Torque rips his victim card to shreds by telling him that his own warmongering is the reason his homeworld is in trouble in the first place.
  • Jack from Mass Effect 2 can come off as doing this, during the loyalty fight with Miranda. Jack walks into Miranda's stateroom, gets in her face, looking to pick a fight, throws things around and then starts complaining about things that Miranda's organization did to her as a child. Bonus points if she does this long after she has already blown her childhood detention centre to atoms, and says that she's found closure.
    • Balak the Batarian Big Bad of the Bring Down the Sky expansion for Mass Effect has such an attitude about his entire race. When humans laid claim to previously unclaimed, undeveloped planets, the batarians protested that since those planets were close to space they controlled, they ought to be allowed to do as they wish to them. When the Citadel Council disagreed, the batarians severed all diplomatic ties, became a rogue state and started a low intensity conflict with humans via slaver gangs as proxies. Fed up, the human navy retaliated and massacred the batarian slaver gangs to a man. Yet Balak complains about how “humans were stronger, so they took our resources and murdered us.”
    • At the climax of Samara's loyalty mission, Morinth will claim that her only crime was being born an Ardat-Yakshi, and her mother Samara is only pursuing her out of prejudice (Samara rebuts that she had the choice of being isolated in a monastery, which both her sisters took). Apparently serial murder isn't a crime to Morinth...

     Web Animation 
  • FreedomToons:
    • Dr. Mac treats an actual jihadist as a horrible victim because of tweets critical of islam, while denouncing an actual survivor of a terrorist massacre as a horrible islamophobic bigot for suggesting a link between religious scripture and acts of violence perpetrated against non-Muslims.
    • In "Ken and Karen Oppress the Mob", the entire mob bursts into tears when two home-owners try to protect their property against looters. As soon as the husband caves and gives up his rifle, they get beaten up.

     Web Original 
  • A recurring trick for Gaea from Noob. The most frequent form is putting on trademark Puppy-Dog Eyes while telling a sob story that is a Metaphorically True version of reality on a good day. Even people that have spent enough time around her to know better get this treatment, with a response along the lines of "Where did you get the idea that I was such a horrible person?".

     Western Animation 
  • Pretty much everybody on Archer pulls this at some point. Archer and Mallory are guilty of it the most, but the other characters put in their fair shares as well.
  • Megatron in Transformers Animated probably really does think that the Decepticons have been treated unfairly, having been driven from their home like common insects by the Autobots and gives a speech along these lines to turn the Constructicons.
    • To be fair to him though, it seems this idea that Decepticons are the victim isn't entirely unfounded, what with Anti-Decepticon paranoia, no Decepticons allowed on Cybertron, and the fact that most of the Autobots are afraid of organic life.
  • South Park:
    • Cartman does this all the freaking time. Like when he actually convinced himself that he, rather than Jimmy, invented the "Fishsticks Joke", and proceeded to get mad at Jimmy for trying to claim credit.
    • Another example — After making fun of Wendy's breast cancer class report, Cartman went crying to Wendy's parents to keep her from beating the snot out of him. After that he kept it up and got the snot beaten out of him anyway.
    • This actually becomes a recurring plot point in Season 21. He sees himself as the victim of Heidi's abuse in their relationship, even though it's him who is distant, emotionally abusive, and at one point, even tried to get Heidi killed by a witch. By the end of the season, Heidi finally sees this, and calls him out on it.
      Heidi: You were hurt! You were the victim!
      Cartman: Yes. I'm glad you understand that.
    • Aside from Cartman, the NAMBLA leader does this in "Cartman Joins NAMBLA". When he is being arrested in the end, he tries to gain sympathy by claiming that they're just being persecuted because they're different and that they didn't choose to be attracted to young boys. Kyle shuts him down with one sentence:
      Kyle: Dude. You have sex with children.
  • Lex Luthor fits the first type in one Justice League episode where he convinces the Amazo android that he is a victim of a vigilante Justice League- and elicits the android's help, at least temporarily, in bringing the League down. Later, in Justice League Unlimited, he refines his arguments (claiming that though he has made mistakes, they were in pursuance of checking the dangerous power of an out-of-control Justice League) to great success for his presidential campaign.
    • In "Patriot Act," another Unlimited episode, General Eiling, a Blood Knight and Well-Intentioned Extremist who hates the League, overdoses on a Super Soldier serum that turns him into a Hulk-like monster with Super Strength. He heads to a parade honoring the League and, finding only Badass Normal heroes (Vigilante, Green Arrow and his sidekick Speedy, and the android S.T.R.I.P.E.) or those empowered with magical items (Stargirl and Shining Knight), proceeds to wipe the floor with them. Things look bad until some ordinary citizens stand up to Eiling and form a human shield around Shining Knight, calling out the general for his hypocritical actions (as one frustrated old woman puts it: "How many of us do you have to kill to keep us safe?"). Eiling tries to protest that he's the real good guy and victim in the scenario: "I'm not the menace! Metahumans are—superpowered beings." A child then snaps the obvious truth: "You're the only one around here with superpowers." Eiling realizes that he's gone too far and leaves without a fight, swearing that someday they'll realize he was justified in his actions (though given the people's angry expressions, that doesn't seem likely).
  • The Protester from Legend of Korra enjoys goading benders, and when they are about to beat him up always shouts about how the benders are oppressing him and other non-benders. He does this at least once when Korra was about to beat him up so he'd tell her and Mako where Bolin might be after he was kidnapped by Chi-Blockers; but he's probably done it more than once
    • Of special note is that he is a noted Attention Whore by the creative staff and this is just his latest attempt. So we have no idea how many times he has played the victim card.
  • In one episode of The Powerpuff Girls, Mojo Jojo gets an Animal Wrongs Group to defend him against the Powerpuff Girls by crying that he's being oppressed whenever the girls try to stop him committing crimes.
  • Marge does this to a ridiculous degree in The Simpsons which has only gotten worse as the series has gone on. While in the early seasons there were episodes such as Homer’s Night Out and Two Cars In Every Garage And Three Eyes On Every Fish where, while not exactly in the wrong, Marge really wasn’t the victim the episode tries to present her as. However after Flanderization set in, during which Marge Took a Level in Jerkass, she acts unappreciated and overworked for doing things that would have gotten Homer villainized. For example, prioritizing other children’s happiness over her own.
    • Marge’s penchant for Incredibly Lame Fun is also a big part of this in the early seasons. The family would agree to do something Marge likes and the joke would be either that they find something else to do in the process or that they have a surprisingly good time while Marge finds the experience too stimulating. Later episodes would have her choosing family and romantic activities that only she would like, then getting mad and acting hurt when the others didn’t enjoy themselves.
  • Rick and Morty: Rick accuses Jerry of always using his status as a pathetic loser to illicit pity from other people so that they won't leave him. Considering the fact that Rick has abandoned various alternate universes and countless alternate versions of his own daughter to save his own skin, he hardly has the moral high ground.
  • In the The Venture Bros., Jonas Venture Senior is shown doing this during a flashback where he acted as his son's "therapist", accusing Rusty of being ungrateful for not liking the very dangerous, highly traumatizing "adventures" he forced him to go on. Likewise, Rusty is quite quick to blame his messed up childhood for his current neurosis whenever the going gets tough. He might have a point (his childhood was positively nightmarish) but he really just needs to get over it.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Victim Card



Frasier would like to remind you that he was PUNCHED in the FACE... by a man now DEAD.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / PlayingTheVictimCard

Media sources:

Main / PlayingTheVictimCard