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Scapegoat Creator

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"Some people think I'm in charge of every decision, design or no, of Magic. I'll get angry letters, for example, where they blame me personally about packaging or translation or tournament software. But hey, it comes with the territory of being one of the faces of the game."
Mark Rosewater, head designer for Magic: The Gathering (link here)

In TV shows or other works produced by a team of people, or where a Long Runner has a long succession of different creators, the fandom or part of it sometimes decides to hate one individual creator to an unhinged degree and blame him or her for everything that ever went wrong with the work. Often, the alleged flaws in the person's run/episodes are more generally present in the work as a whole, or habitual to the genre. Still, it is easier to focus the rage upon a single entity, than to admit to that.

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Often the result of actual or perceived taking sides in a Broken Base situation. Frequently the result of perceived responsibility for a Dork Age or Canon Discontinuity. Can happen when a person becomes a lightning rod for general Fan Disillusionment, resulting in them being Misblamed.

Of course, if you set yourself up as the public face concerning a work, franchise or even a particular decision, you have to expect this to come with the territory. And if you've made a habit of deliberately needling fans in other areas, it is not wise to expect much charity from them. In Hollywood it's historically producers who have been targeted, although now thanks to The Auteur Theory it's commonly directors and at times even actors.

Contrast Protection from Editors and Creator Worship.


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Examples:

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    Anime 
  • For arguably the worst example of this, look no further than Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny and the husband and wife team of director Mitsuo Fukuda and head script writer Chiaki Morosawa. They are responsible for some of the problems that afflicted the series; rather infamously, late in the show's run an animator blogged about Morosawa's perpetual tardiness with the scripts, which turned out to come from her bad health, which forced them to add lots of Padding. However, the fandom tends to exaggerate this wildly, and gladly parrots off a number of unflattering and never confirmed rumors on request, out of pure hatred for both of them ("Fukuda hates America because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and based off Blue Cosmos and ZAFT over them"; "Cagalli got demoted to extra because Morosawa hates her voice actress personally"). All this is on top of the accusation that Kira Yamato and Lacus Clyne are their Mary Sue Author Avatars, used to explain why they win and look good doing so (The fact that Rie Tanaka said that Lacus is a difficult role for her in an interview certainly didn't help matters.) Some have even gone so far as to whine about Morosawa's perpetual illness and blame her for the Development Hell that's delayed the rumored SEED conclusion movie for over five years - to the creepy point of hoping she dies of it as "punishment" for "ruining" the series!
  • Speaking of Fukuda, he's blamed for everything wrong with Cross Ange, despite only being the creative producer and mecha director. Actually came to a head with the broadcast of Episode 22, where two characters who were supposedly killed off in the previous episode reappear with little to no explanation; it also doesn't help that one of them looks suspiciously similar to Kira Yamato (see example above.) No one ever suggests blaming the director or writer for any of the show's problems.
  • Chiaki Kon is responsible for most of the problems that plagued the anime adaptations of Higurashi: When They Cry and Umineko: When They Cry (so much so that the original writer had to step on board and supervise the second season of the former). But that doesn't stop the fans of the Sound Novels for portraying her in the most negative light possible and some even put the blame also on Studio DEEN as well, never mind the studio only produces the anime of the 2 adaptations.
  • Many Bleach fans hold Tite Kubo responsible for the anime fillers (and for the anime in general, including openings/endings), despite the fact that he has nothing to do with the anime aside of sometimes designing characters for fillers. Probably because he's said he's "more involved" with the anime than normal mangakas. But that doesn't mean he has to be much more involved. (In fact, the Troubled Production of the fourth movie had him asking to have his name removed from the movie credits, as his ideas were ultimately disregarded and he felt he wasn't involved enough in it.)
  • For that matter, similar to the Bleach example, manga authors are often credited with/blamed for anything that happens to the animated version of their work. Yes, some like Kubo actually do have involvement with the anime, but sometimes, they're often blamed for parts of the anime that they don't have any control over, especially fillers and pacing.
  • Shoji Kawamori is a very strange example: around the time Macross Frontier was airing, quotes and interviews popped up that annoyed fans so much it started the meme "Kawamori trolled my fandom!" Then it turned out that he never actually said any of those things, because they were fiction made up by a disgruntled member of the fandom. This doesn't stop people from treating Kawamori like mocking the fandom is his one true love.
  • Several shipping moments in the Fairy Tail anime earn a lot of complaints towards Hiro Mashima. Many of them were anime only, or minor, but greatly played up by the anime. One of the biggest ones even came right after the anime staff proved that they weren't consulting with Mashima for every little change they made either.note 
  • It's not uncommon for mangaka to be criticized for story elements/ideas/etc. that were actually the editor or publisher's idea (or vice-versa)
  • Naoko Takeuchi has been getting a lot of blame fired at her for Sailor Moon Crystal not living up to fandom's expectations. The truth of the matter is, Naoko doesn't have nearly as much control as people think she does.
  • Several people in charge of Blood-C got smacked with this:
    • CLAMP gets usually blamed by Blood franchise fans for tainting the series's plot with their characteristically controversial writing shenanigans. It got worse when it was leaked that Junichi Fujisaku, one of the pioneers of the saga, worked in Blood C only to direct the fight scenes, thus allegedly limiting his chances of getting the series right. Then it turned out in an ANN interview that, while he certainly wasn't in charge of the screenplay, the series's story was outlined by himself before CLAMP, and more specifically, the controversial reinventing of the show was his own idea. It's very telling that Junichi Fujisaku is again in charge of the screenplay of the 2015 stage play and 2017 live action movie while CLAMP are only credited as original co-creators.
  • Inverted with Naruto: For shipping fans who disliked the canon pairing of Naruto/Hinata, Studio Pierrot has become the lightning rod of their hate, in great part because previously several of the staff from the studio had publicly declared themselves as Hinata fans and they were the ones who originally came up with the idea of making the canon movie The Last: Naruto the Movie (which details the story of how Naruto and Hinata became a couple), as such they blame them for forcing their preferred pairing into the author Masashi Kishimoto. Actually the opposite is true: Studio Pierrot had no control over the source manga, and for this case the animation studio had to follow the author's directions (unless the movie was declared non-canon), and also to top it all Kishimoto himself has claimed that the main Official Couple was his idea and it was decided from a while ago.

    Card Games 
  • While Richard Garfield is largely exempt (he even had a card made of him with the art portraying him as Jesus) from the RAGE of the Unpleasable Fanbase, the current head designer of Magic: The Gathering Mark Rosewater is often blamed for breaking the game's balance.
    • This is especially funny because he's only the lead designer, not the lead of development. While design tries to get in the general area, it's really development's job to hone the balance to just right.
      • He catches blame for anything players dislike about the game, whether it involves card design or not! Price of packs goes up? Blame Rosewater. Bad piece of artwork? Blame Rosewater.
      • Well, okay, you can blame him for one bad piece of artwork.

    Comic Books 
  • Ron Marz reportedly received death threats from Green Lantern fans upset about the Emerald Twilight storyline (which had the hero going through a Face–Heel Turn, massacring most of the secondary characters and then being killed off). This was especially unfair since Marz had the plot imposed on him by more senior writers. Marz himself has since gone on the record saying it was something he did for pay, and was rather glad when much of Emerald Twilight was retconned. Also, it was Kevin Dooley who came up with the original concept for Emerald Twilight.
    • It was more than just Dooley. Several DC bigwigs contributed to the Emerald Twilight we got after they nixed Gerard Jones' original versionnote . In fact, Paul Levitz, Mike Carlin, Archie Goodwin, and even Denny O'Neil helped Dooley write the outline that Marz was forced to fully write. In fact, infamously in the letters section in Green Lantern Vol 3 #50, a blurb was written that even O'Neil, who had famously written great stories with Hal & the Corps, said that Hal Jordan was "too hard to write" and was "either too nice or a jerk, leaving no lasting impression", while another (from Dooley) stated that Hal was essentially a Flat Character and that things were going to be okay since "nobody was talking about [this] book or even cared about its central character to any great extent".
  • Dan DiDio, DC Comics editor-in-chief, gets huge amounts of flack for any unpopular turn any DC title takes. While the man has made more than his share of editorial blunders, he gets the blame for just about everything, regardless of whether it was his idea, another exec's, or the writer's, or whether it was something that happened before he came to DC. His antagonistic statements to fans don't help.
    • And now that he's been bumped up to co-publisher, it's likely he'll get a lot more Mis Blame (Bob Harras is now DC's editor-in-chief and Bobbie Chase is the executive editor while Geoff Johns is Chief Creative Officer).
  • And it's pretty much the same as Joe Quesada. Again, he did do some really bad stuff, just that many other things are the fault of others like Millar and Bendis. His antagonistic statements to fans don't help either.
    • And now that he's been bumped up to chief creative officer, it's likely that he'll get more Mis Blame (Axel Alonso is now Marvel's editor-in-chief and Tom Brevoort is the executive editor).
  • Brian Michael Bendis has been blamed by fans for doing Avengers vs. X-Men and Civil War II. He also gets most of the hate for Battle of the Atom, even though Jason Aaron was a main architect of the event - Bendis was doing most heavy lifting to someone else's story, had his own ideas shot down by Aaron or editor Nick Lowe and apparently disliked it so much that the moment these two were gone he went Armed with Canon on several things.
  • Rick Remender has been blamed for age-progressing Steve Rogers to allow Sam Wilson becoming the new Captain America and for doing Axis, especially the one that pissed off Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch fans by revealing that they're not Magneto's children.
  • Nick Spencer has garnered flack from longtime Captain America fans for turning him into a Hydra agent.
  • Dwayne McDuffie during his run on Justice League of America. Fans would blame McDuffie for every change that happened in the series, such as John Stewart's inclusion over fan favorite Hal Jordan. In response to these complaints, McDuffie started a question and answer thread on message boards, where he would answer fans' questions. It was here that he revealed a lot of roster changes were the result of Editorial Interference. Though, after all his comments were compiled, DC Staff were not happy and he was promptly taken off the title.
    • What's especially odd is that he got the job after doing so well on the cartoon, but wasn't allowed to do much in the comic. Neither fans nor staff forgave him for this.
  • Ken Penders for fans of the Sonic the Hedgehog comics. Whether it was for the much-disputed events of Endgame (the twist ending was a direct order from Sega), the Dork Age that some say plagued the comic, or his later attempt to claim ownership of the characters he created despite them being obviously derivative of Sega's creations (and that it was Work-for-Hire) and later suing Sega, he attracts a lot of vitriol in the fandom. This tends to overshadow his contributions which were once widely appreciated by the fandom and had an impact on the book, which ended in 2017 after Sega of America ended their partnership with Archie and soon jumped ship to IDW Publishing.
  • Every writer who followed Brian K. Vaughan on Runaways has been blamed by at least some of the fans for the book's decline in quality, but the last writer, Kathryn Immonen, probably receives the most hate - for all that the fans may have disagreed on the decisions made by the other writers, killing Old Lace was an almost universally-loathed decision.
    • In recent years the status has been shifting towards editor Nick Lowe, who might have forced Immonen's story to fit what he wanted, was responsible for evil Molly from the future in the above mentioned Battle Of The Atom, which many Runaways fans saw as a slap in the face, and rumors are he is good friends with Dennis Hopeless, a writer Runaways fandom loathe for the Character Derailment he subjected team members to in his Avengers books - many even claim Lowe is the only reason Hopeless still gets new books, despite several commercial flops. Many fans were hesitant of picking up the 2017 Runaways series solely because Nick Lowe was involved.
  • Gene Yang, the co-writer of Avatar: The Last Airbender post-finale graphic novels, gets so much for the fan-loathed The Promise and The Search, due to the break up of Zuko and Mai, Sokka and Suki's relationship in limbo and Zuko telling Aang to kill him in The Promise, and in addition to the minor role of Toph, Zuko reading a letter from his mother implying that Ozai may not be his father, Azula becoming more crazy, Ursa having her face swapped by the Mother of Faces and Azula running away again after suffering another mental breakdown when her mother fails to recognise her, but also rendering any chances for her redemption in the end very slim in The Search in addition to the Fan-Disliked Explanation as well, not to mention Smoke and Shadow geting flack from Azula fans who want her to redeem herself with Azula running away in defeat again near the end of part 3 and angering Mai fans by turning her into a Unintentionally Unsympathetic Designated Hero, especially how much she treats Zuko.
  • Kieron Gillen has taken quite a lot of flak for his run of Young Avengers. Some of it is due to the pacing, but a lot more has to do with his characterization, and especially his portrayal of Billy and Teddy's relationship. From the same run, Jamie McKelvie's redesigns — especially of Billy, who visually went from being Straight Gay to much more flamboyant — have not been met entirely favourably.
  • Dan Slott gets a lot of hate from fans for his tenure as Spider-Man writer, especially the divisive Superior Spider-Man series and the Spider-Verse storyline, which introduced Silk, though it also introduced Spider-Gwen in addition to making Spider-Man a Batman Expy.
    • Plus Black Cat fans blame him for her Face–Heel Turn in Superior Spider-Man.
      • Slott has also trolled fans on their Twitter accounts when they criticise his tenure.
  • Many X-Men and Avengers fans blame Chuck Austen for his controversial run in both series, while Superman fans blame him for restoring a Silver Age Love Triangle between the Man of Steel, his wife Lois Lane and close friend Lana Lang. Even people who supported the pairing of Lang and Pete Ross blamed him for breaking them up because of this.
  • Marvel Comics CEO Ike Perlmutter gets a lot of hate from longtime Marvel fans for ruining the publisher and other stuff.
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    Film 
  • Steve Kloves, the screenwriter of all the Harry Potter movies (except the fifth), gets blamed for deviating from the books too much, when the blame should go to the executives — earlier drafts of the scripts tended to be rather more faithful to the books than the finished product.
  • Joel Schumacher, director of Batman & Robin, gets blamed for turning Batman into a ridiculous campfest, when the blame should go to the executives, who wanted to use the movie for product placement. In particular, Akiva Goldsman is responsible for the blizzard of puns spouted by Mr. Freeze, despite claiming to be a lifelong Batman fan who particularly enjoyed the original 1989 film. Schumacher claimed that the Batman films he directed were so heavily storyboarded that he had very limited creativity as a director. That being said, Schumacher (and the film's star George Clooney) have apologized repeatedly and profusely for their part in the film's creation.
  • Star Wars fans blame George Lucas for everything they don't like about the franchise, except for everything after Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm, for which they blame producer Kathleen Kennedy. There are many ways this shakes out, all of them misdirected:
    • Lucas is often blamed for story elements he had no say in. Part of this derives from him characterizing the film series as part of a grand story and taking credit for everything in the films, including the things people didn't like (e.g. midichlorians, sand-hating, Jar-Jar). However, the same cannot be said for the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which he never really thought of as canon and in which he had almost no input (with a few notable exceptions like Shadows of the Empire and The Force Unleashed). Basically, he was just the guy signing the checks. Lucas' tendency to defend his "grand vision" would bite him again in the rear end when he took credit for everything in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Steven Spielberg was happy to let Lucas take the fall for everything people didn't like about it.
    • Lucas is also blamed generally for killing the New Hollywood era of films driven totally by Auteur License, leading the way for the theaters to be dominated by the Summer Blockbuster. However, Lucas was very much a part of New Hollywood, was friends and collaborators with such auteurs as Francis Ford Coppola and John Milius, and exerted as much control over Star Wars as he could. In fact, RedLetterMedia suggested that the prequel trilogy was as bad as it was because Lucas always wanted his Auteur License, and by the time he had enough clout to get it, it was discovered that maybe he wasn't as brilliant as he thought.
    • Kennedy, for her part, is just a producer and doesn't really have any input into the storyline of the films. Fans blamed her for writing decisions that really should have been pinned on people like J. J. Abrams or Lawrence Kasdan. In fact, some fans have turned their disdain for Lucas on its head and blame Kennedy for ruining Lucas' grand vision. A particularly strange accusation is that Kennedy forced the series to become more outwardly feminist when it had been that way since 1977.note 
  • Richard Lester, director of Superman II and Superman III, gets blamed for injecting too much camp into the Superman film series, when the blame should go to the executives (are you sensing a pattern here?), in particular producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind, who insisted on the slapstick in the hopes of aping the 1960s Batman series. In fact, they brought on Lester in part because the previous director Richard Donner refused to comply with their demands. Why they insisted on this when the original film's Doing It for the Art approach made it a critical and box-office success is anyone's guess.
  • Tim Burton, director of the 2010 Alice in Wonderland film, gets blamed for the script deviating too much from the original, when he didn't actually write the script. That would be Linda Woolverton, who admitted in interviews that it was her goal to completely shake up the original story. In fact, Burton has never had a screenplay credit in any of his movies.
  • Brett Ratner, director of X-Men: The Last Stand, gets blamed for everything fans hated about the movie, when he joined the film at a relatively late stage of production and would have had relatively little creative input. Most of the legwork was done by Matthew Vaughn. Despite this, he gets a lot of hatred from fans for "ruining" the X-Men Film Series, just for that movie; the rest of the blame goes to former Fox president Tom Rothman.
  • Catherine Hardwicke, director of the first Twilight film, gets blamed for the film not living up to the expectations of the rabid fans of the original book, when most of the film's problems were beyond her control. The lack of a budget was a particular issue, and in fact her angling for a bigger budget got her fired from the sequel. The passing years have been kinder to Hardwicke, though, if only because the fans at least acknowledge that she was trying and didn't sign on just for the money.
  • Michael Bay seems to get this a lot:
    • For directing the Transformers Film Series, he gets blamed for everything people didn't like about the films, when a lot of the blame should go to (take a guess) the executives, who were banking on a Merchandise-Driven series. It's particularly strange how the fans blame Bay for characters transforming into less iconic cars than they usually do, when many car manufacturers didn't want their products to be featured in the films. In the case of Revenge of the Fallen, there was also a writer's strike which was completely beyond Bay's control and played a significant role in the end result. Blame for the poor writing in the second, third, and fourth films could also more properly be attributed to screenwriter Ehren Kruger.
    • For being a partner in horror film studio Platinum Dunes (best known for remakes such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) and Friday the 13th (2009)), the blame for every movie they make is put on him, even though he had nothing to do with them creatively.
    • For producing the 2014 reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, he gets blamed for everything in the film, even though he was just a producer and not a director (that was Jonathan Liebesman, although you'd be forgiven for missing that because Bay was billed a lot more in the promotional materials). Bay reportedly even vetoed ideas that would have likely made the film even worse-received, such as the turtles being extraterrestrials rather than mutants.
  • Jean-Pierre Jeunet gets blamed for everything in Alien: Resurrection, when he was brought in late into a Troubled Production and ended up being thrown under the bus for the film's failure. The blame should mostly go to the studio or to screenwriter Joss Whedon (who in turn blames the studio and the director). The experience caused Jeunet to swear off Hollywood, and he hasn't returned since.
  • Alien:
    • David Fincher, director of Alien³, gets blamed for the film, when he was brought in late to what was already a famously Troubled Production and just steered it to the finish line. Fincher had to contend with very zealous meddling executives who tried to micromanage the production, forced him to continually rewrite the script at short notice, demanded a ton of reshoots, and even locked him out of the editing room during post-production. Fincher would later claim in an interview that if it were up to him, he would have restarted from scratch.
    • Writer Damon Lindelof gets the blame for Prometheus, but he only rewrote drafts by Jon Spaihts. The one with the bigger role in the story was Ridley Scott.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Joss Whedon, director of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, gets blamed for everything in the film. Some things he did have control over and were genuinely divisive and unpopular creative decisions. Others he did not, including the heavily criticized Thor subplot and the copious number of Sequel Hooks in the second movie — those were studio mandates. He also got some criticism for the lack of diversity in the lineup in the first movie, even though the team was decided on before he even signed on to direct.
    • The Marvel executives get the blame for everything the fans don't like about the series as a whole, but the fans can't decide which executives should get the most blame. Some heap it all on the Marvel Creative Committee, consisting of Alan Fine, Dan Buckley, Brian Michael Bendis, and Joe Quesada (whom the fans already don't like much for their comic book decision-making). Others particularly dislike Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, who made a ton of decisions to save money or angle for certain demographics — he was particularly criticized for his adherence to the Girl-Show Ghetto (not very smart when DC's Wonder Woman became a critical and commercial success). Still others point towards executive producer Kevin Feige, who is the chief architect and "face" of the whole franchise.
  • The DC Extended Universe has quite a few favorite scapegoats:
    • Zack Snyder gets blamed for everything wrong with the DCEU given the mixed to negative reaction to the landmark films that he directed. His second movie in the franchise, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, was particularly decried for its very dark tone, poor characterization and overstuffed plot. Snyder himself was responsible for several divisive elements in that movie like Bruce Wayne's Knightmare sequence, which he thought up on the spot, and Jimmy Olsen's death, which he added just for shock value. Other things weren't actually his fault, such as the original cut of the film missing 30 minutes (restored in the Ultimate Edition, but that was just more divisive). Furthermore, some fans thought he matched up poorly with screenwriter David S. Goyer, who worked on The Dark Knight Trilogy (although DC fans thought he didn't respect the material either, and he didn't help matters with his infamous statements like calling She-Hulk a "giant green porn star" and Virgin-Shaming people who wanted Martian Manhunter in the movies). To add insult to injury, the fans noticed that the films got better once he stopped directing them, with Wonder Woman (2017), Aquaman (2018), and SHAZAM! (2019) all getting critically acclaimed (and SHAZAM! being the first DCEU film not to involve Snyder in any capacity). Needless to say, fans have the perception that he just wasn't the right man for the job.
    • Joss Whedon, who took over for Snyder mid-production on Justice League, gets more blame for everything wrong with that film than even Snyder. Part of it might be fans sympathy toward Snyder (he left production after his daughter's death), and part of it was Whedon appearing not to care that his lighter, zanier footage clashed totally in tone with Snyder's existing darker footage. Not everybody liked the jokes he added either, particularly some sexist jokes about Wonder Woman (exacerbated by his ex-wife revealing that he cheated on her repeatedly).
    • The lightning rod meddling executive is Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara, who showed a tendency to micromanage production and play favorites. He gave David Ayer just six weeks to write the script for Suicide Squad. His reaction to the critical backlash at the Darker and Edgier Batman v. Superman was to force Lighter and Softer reshoots for Suicide Squad and Justice League, and rushing the latter film to theaters even though it needed a lot more editing — but he didn't want to remove Snyder. He ended up being fired from WB in March 2019 for trading sexual favors for auditions, to the excitement of many who laid a lot of the criticism for the problems with the franchise at his feet.
  • Producer Avi Arad had garnered a vocal hatedom among some Spider-Man fans for his handling of the character in film. One of the reasons why Spider-Man 3 received a mixed reception was that Arad forced the inclusion of Venom into the movie, which was not what director Sam Raimi intended, and whose shoehorned appearance was seen as the worst aspect of the film. In the rebooted The Amazing Spider-Man Series, Arad has expressed more interest in using the Spider-Man movies to launch spin-offs to the detriment of the main films and regardless of whether or not the spin-off was worth the effort. Most notably, his decision resulted in The Amazing Spider Man 2, a film that received mixed reviews and had an underwhelming box office performance for focusing more on setting up a Sinister Six movie than being a good standalone film. Not helping is that on top of his controversial creative choices, Arad is also seen as a stubborn egoist who often brags that only he, and not his fellow producers Matt Tolmach and Kevin Feige, can do justice to the character. Further exacerbating this issue is that his next major project, the divorced Venom movie, became a box office hit despite being eviscerated by critics, meaning that he'll still be around.
  • Amy Pascal, the President and executive producer of Sony Pictures, has garnered much ire from fans for her creative decisions regarding Sony's live-action properties. While she was chairman of Sony Pictures, Pascal greenlit The Amazing Spider-Man Series and Ghostbusters (2016), both of which were highly controversial among fans of their respective franchises, with the former being an Ash Can Copy film series made solely to keep the Spider-Man film rights from going back to Marvel Studios, who would then include Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And she also greenlit many of Happy Madison Productions' newer poorly-received films. Many insiders saw her as a control freak who insisted on Sony holding the film rights to Spider-Man at all costs, going as far as initially rejecting an offer from Kevin Feige to have both Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures share the character rights (she was forced to concede to Feige under pressure from Sony's then-CEO Kaz Hirai), while also creating a Spider-Man villain shared universe without Spider-Man that was to be overseen by the aforementioned Avi Arad. Eventually, she left Sony for Universal in 2019 though she managed to regain some audience goodwill before her departure by green-lighting and producing both Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to critical and commercial success.

    Literature 
  • In Star Wars, R.A. Salvatore got criticisms up to and including death threats for writing the death of Chewbacca, even though it was collectively agreed upon by the higher ups that someone had to die to establish that Anyone Can Die in New Jedi Order, and GL did not expressly tell them not to kill him. One can only imagine what would have happened had the higher ups been allowed to kill off their first (tentative) target, Luke Skywalker. This was reportedly nixed by George Lucas himself.
    • Karen Traviss is savaged by a number of fans and ex-fans alike of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, but a number of what they dislike about "her" writing is not necessarily due to her. For example, the numbers of the Grand Army of the Republic vs. the Trade Federation's droid army are 3 million and 4 QUADRILLION, respectively. These are not Traviss's numbers, however; she was told to use them by the people in charge of canon for the Clone Wars era, and she did.
      • Perhaps as a form of irony, the former was the one that first pennednote  the clone numbers the latter is blamed for (see the Attack of the Clones novelization).
      • In fact, the numbers of the droids are repeatedly questioned and written off as propaganda by several characters in her novels. And she at least tries to justify the low numbers of the Grand Army of the Republic.
  • Among parts of the Warrior Cats Fan Dumb, Victoria Holmes gets blamed for everything that they think is wrong with the series. Insults range from calling her sexist, insulting almost every word that comes out of her mouth, and the most mindboggling of them all: Fans claiming that she steals all the credit from the other authors, despite the fact that they think she deserves to receive all the blame.
    • Their hatred of her is even more confusing since she is responsible for all the concepts and ideas behind the series, which the fans love, as well as the plotting and creating the characters. Kate and Cherith, on the other hand, are responsible for the actual writing of the books, which is generally agreed upon to be So Okay, It's Average.
    • Taken Up to Eleven after the release of Spottedleaf's Heart, a novella written by Vicky herself. To say that this installment was poorly received would be a major understatement (for all the right reasons, mind you.) However, the backlash got so bad that Vicky announced her plan to leave the series for good shortly after. That's right, an author got cyberbullied out of her own fandom.

    Live Action TV 
  • A large portion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fandom, long after the series' conclusion in 2003, can still be guaranteed to meltdown at the name of Marti Noxon, whom they hold responsible for the divisive sixth season, during which she took over showrunner duties while Joss Whedon was giving the majority of his time to Angel and Firefly. For many of them, the failure of subsequent series Point Pleasant was often held up as "proof" that she was out of her depth helming a TV show. Joss Whedon came to her defense, saying the most divisive story elements ultimately came from him. David Fury and Steven DeKnight sometimes also get this, although in their cases it's more down to off-screen interactions with fans that went bad.
  • iCarly: Dan Schneider. Usually by shippers, and also those who are upset by Victorious, his next work.
    • And now people upset that Victorious has been cancelled for the Sam & Cat Spin-Off.
      • And then those upset that Dan and the network burned out the cast of Sam & Cat and forced it to be canceled after one season; expect those fans to be upset about Henry Danger, and on and on...
  • For different factions of Doctor Who fans, either John Nathan-Turner, Eric Saward, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, or Bonnie Langford are personally responsible for everything that went wrong with the show in the later 1980s, up to and including the cancellation in 1989. In the new series, certain old school fans believe that Russell T. Davies personally planned his every sentence to defecate on their cornflakes (despite the fact there wouldn't be a new series without him).
    • The John Nathan-Turner example is particularly odd, as he was producer for a whole decade and there are nearly no fans who hate every single episode of that time. This tends to lead to slightly strained attempts to argue that Nathan-Turner had no involvement in the bits they like and was solely responsible for everything they hate. Usually, these claims boil down to something like "for the first couple of years he was finding his feet and had a lot of help, and for the last couple of years he'd given up and Andrew Cartmel did all the work." However, while a lot of this is skewed to pander to prejudices or unfairly cast blame / deny credit, there is arguably a kernel of truth here; by the late eighties Nathan-Turner had been doing the job for seven-nine years and was eager to move on to other things, but for various reasons was kept in the role, meaning his overall level of enthusiasm was perhaps understandably not as high as it once was.
    • Some of the 'blame JN-T / Colin Baker for everything' attitude stems from an interview Eric Saward gave to a fanzine in 1986, in which among other comments he basically called Nathan-Turner a complete incompetent and outright said that he thought Colin Baker was terrible in the role of the Doctor and should never have been cast. Plenty of fans were quick to use this as evidence that Nathan-Turner and Baker were deliberately ruining the show, apparently not stopping to consider that not only were Saward's actions incredibly unprofessional but that, as script editor, he had his own axes to grind and responsibilities for what was going on behind the scenes, both of which were curiously downplayed. Indeed, several fans have noted that the high-points of Nathan-Turner's era tend to be at the beginning and the end, when he was working with other script editors (Christopher H. Bidmead early on, Andrew Cartmel at the end), while a lot of the low-points tend to be found in the middle — when he was primarily working with Saward...
    • Naturally, after Steven Moffat took over, the official role of Doctor Who Chief Scapegoat passed to him. In addition to the old-school types who blamed Russell T. Davies for absolutely everything bad ever, they were joined by a certain subset of hardcore RTD fans who seem to feel that he destroyed everything that RTD worked for and planned every single thing he did to destroy the show and spite them personally, never mind that Moffat and RTD still fanboy over each other even after leaving the show.
  • A sizable portion of the Star Trek fandom hates and despises Rick Berman and Brannon Braga. They are referred to jointly as "Bermaga", and much of the fanbase rejoiced that those two weren't involved in the 2009 movie in any way, shape or form. This has shifted a little over the years, with opinions towards Braga having improved considerably for the most part — his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation always had a good reputation, and much of his Star Trek: Voyager work is now considered Vindicated by History — with most of the fan ire having moved towards Berman alone.
    • Some people hate Ira Steven Behr for taking a franchise about exploration and science fiction and turning it into a space soap opera.
    • Fred Freiberger inherited Star Trek from Gene Roddenberry for its 1968-1969 season. Yes, season three, which OPENED with "Spock's Brain" and later gave us "Plato's Stepchildren". This was also the season in which their per-episode budget was cut by (approximately) sixty thousand dollars, several of the original writers had left, and the show was moved to Friday night at 10. There was no fourth season. Freiberger was quoted in an interview in the mid-nineties that to the effect that he'd spent three years in a German POW camp during WWII, but that his time with Star Trek was well into its third decade, since many fans of the original series have continued to blame him for the show's cancellation.
    • Gene Roddenberry himself has been spared this, though his sudden passing may have something to do with that. The two areas he had the most control of post-TOS were the first movie and the first season of Next Generation, both of which are reviled by most fans. Yet Trek fans seem to mostly forgive him for these (at least compared to what many Star Wars fans think of George Lucas).
  • Of both Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, Joe Mallozi and Paul Mullie have fallen into this too, even so far as fans looking down on an episode just because they wrote it.
  • Jim Mallon came in for a lot of this during Mystery Science Theater 3000's run, getting a reputation as a tyrannical producer who had personal issues with just about every cast member, resulting in each of them being fired. It seems slightly more plausible when you consider that Mallon himself was the longest running original cast member, not relinquishing the role of Gypsy until midway through the eighth season. But when you consider that people accused him of firing Joel Hodgson, it seems a little silly — Hodgson created the show, confessed shortly before his departure that he was getting a little bored with it, and agreed to come back for a cameo appearance in the final season.
    • Mallon earned a hatedom to the point where, when Cinematic Titanic (a Spiritual Successor using most of the "fired" MST3K cast members) released its first episode, it was reportedly released as a torrent under Mallon's name with a note to make it look like he was doing this as revenge against Joel.
    • And Mallon has recently gotten heat for starting an MST3K website featuring Flash cartoons of the 'bots, voiced by a different group of actors.
    • In recent interviews, Hodgson's been more candid in saying that he and Mallon had some major disagreements starting around season 4 (mainly because Mallon was pushing hard for The Movie and Hodgson wasn't interested), but still emphasizing that his quitting was entirely voluntary and a very difficult decision.
  • Doug Naylor gets bashed to no end for Series VII and VIII of Red Dwarf, which were written after the splitting-apart of his writing partnership with Rob Grant and were not as well received as the previous six series. The lazy assumption is that Rob Grant was the source of all the best and most sophisticated humour and stories, while Doug Naylor was a lowbrow drooling dead weight leeching off Grant's success. Honestly, one has to assume they've never read Grant's Red Dwarf novel "Backwards", which contains more gross-out humour than all of Series VII and VIII combined.
    • A rather more charitable — if still probably somewhat simplistic — interpretation is that Grant was responsible for more of the 'comedy' aspect of the series whereas Naylor focused more on the 'science fiction'. It's notable that these seasons (and Series VII especially) tend to focus more on the science fiction concepts than the humour.
    • Alternatively, it could just be that they work better as a team than apart; it's worth noting that Grant's post-Red Dwarf CV, while more varied and somewhat better received, hasn't exactly set the world on fire either.
    • There were many factors working against Doug Naylor in Series VII and VIII, including last minute budget cuts, the need to make the series more saleable in foreign markets and the temporary departure of Rimmer actor Chris Barrie. Series X, produced on a low budget for cable network Dave, is generally agreed to be of a far higher quality.
  • Ryan Murphy, one of the three creators/writers for Glee. To be fair, he arguably screws up the worst and he appears to play Lying Creator the most.
    • Not helping is the fact that if an artist turns down having a song on "Glee" for whatever reason, Murphy tends to...overreact somewhat.
  • For fans of Power Rangers, everything that went wrong between SPD and Jungle Fury can be blamed on Executive Producer Bruce Kalish. It didn't help his case that, immediately after he left the show, RPM was made, which became an instant fan favorite.
    • Also not helping Kalish was an interview conducted early on into his taking over the reins of the show. He made himself the face of the season (in this case, SPD). SPD is generally considered a polarizing season, so the critics latched onto his earlier statement when expressing their displeasure. As he has admitted, Kalish also hurt himself by not watching any of the preceding twelve seasons when he took over (though that was reportedly later rectified) and being under the misconception that he was supposed to outright translate (rather than adapt) Super Sentai.
      • Kalish is slowly getting his due, though, thanks to the revelations of Disney's growing disillusionment with the franchise that led to the episode count and funding cuts and its near-cancellations, and the fact that his cut and paste tenure's looking more and more ambitious compared to the watered down translation Power Rangers Samurai. And Jonathan Tzachor was a base breaker in the first Saban Era...
  • Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, creators of How I Met Your Mother, got positively vilified by fans for the general shittiness of season 5, oddly enough, both for creating and for breaking up the Barney/Robin pairing. It went worse after the series finale aired.
  • Charmed fans tend to loathe Brad Kern, who took over after Constance M Burge left between Seasons 2 and 3. He tends to be blamed for the Seasonal Rot of later seasons, despite him being responsible for the popular Cole/Phoebe pairing (which is what Burge left the show over in the first place). If you're a fan of the show, how much you loathe Brad Kern will depend on how big a fan you are of Shannen Doherty. Kern fired Doherty after frequent clashings with her co-stars and general diva behaviour (TW King was rumoured to have left the show after the first season because he didn't get along with her). Likewise Alyssa Milano gets rather a lot of hate, since the tension between her and Doherty was infamous - with Doherty reportedly saying "either she goes or I do". Ironically Constance M Burge gets no hate whatsoever for being the one responsible for the near-universally despised Piper/Dan romance.
  • J. J. Abrams got a lot of this from casual fans of LOST throughout the run of the series, despite only being involved for about half of its first season, and then again briefly to co-write the third season premiere. Damon Lindelof, who co-wrote the pilot with Abrams, went on to run the series with Carlton Cuse after Abrams left. Fans who were in the loop knew to blame Cuse and Lindelof for their frustrations with the series, but the news media often still referred to it as if it were Abrams' show. (To be fair, Abrams was responsible for introducing a few of the show's earliest mysteries, and then leaving it to other writers to explain them.)
  • Julian Fellowes has become this among the Downton Abbey fandom. Fans even hold him responsible for Matthew's death, even though Dan Stevens was the one who left the show and it's generally agreed that there was no way to write Matthew out that didn't involve killing him. Of course, they also blame him for plenty of things that are his fault, such as his increasing focus on Lady Mary at the expense of other, arguably more interesting characters and the fact that the soap opera quotient has been steadily rising over the past two series and Sybil's death, which - even though the actress was leaving - could have been easily avoided.
  • Julie Plec has gotten this since she took over as head writer of The Vampire Diaries. Roughly half the fandom considers to be worse than a Serbian war criminal. She has been blamed for pairing Damon and Elena and accused of treating loved characters poorly (Bonnie comes to mind), and favoritism towards Damon. She has done herself no favors by making various remarks that she considers the onetime Anti-Villain Damon to be a hero and believes that his needs come first. Some fans see her as being every bit as dangerous and deluded as Stephenie Meyer.
    • And things have only gotten worse with The Vampire Diaries' spin-off, The Originals, which has quite the vocal Hatedom.
  • Josh Safran tends to get the "credit" for the decline of Gossip Girl. During his time as showrunner he broke up Chuck and Blair, the couple that was the reason many fans watched the show in the first place, and introduced the Dan/Blair ship instead. To his credit he did manage to make Dan/Blair somewhat popular for a while but on the flip side many other fans disliked the pairing to such a degree that ratings plummeted below one million per episode and never really recovered. He gained a lot of fan ire by openly admitting he saw Dan as a self-insert and wanted him to have the most popular female character as his love interest and for him to be the most popular character, blatantly disregarding continuity in order to prop the Dan/Blair pairing and for accusing anyone who didn't prefer Dair to Chair of not being true fans of the show. In the process he also managed to turn Blair from fan favourite to one of the least popular characters on the show. Once he was booted as showrunner a lot of efforts were taken to undo the damage but it was too late in the game and the show did about as poorly in its final season as it had during Safran's run. However those who never shipped Chuck and Blair to begin with found it refreshing that Safran didn't make them the focal point of the series, many were pleased with the character development of Serena during his run (and, to a degree, Chuck's as well) and fans of Dan were pleased to see him getting more of the spotlight.
  • According to the book Brady Brady Brady, since Sherwood Schwartz created The Brady Bunch, he gets blamed for lesser works he had no involvement in, such as The Brady Bunch Hour and A Very Brady Sequel.
  • Arrow showrunner Marc Guggenheim has been blamed by fans who stopped watching the show for the divisive seasons three and four and these include: Sara being Stuffed into the Fridge in the season three premier (later Back from the Dead and became one of the main characters for spin-off Legends of Tomorrow) and allowing Laurel to become Black Canary (though she managed to get Rescued from the Scrappy Heap), the Romantic Plot Tumor involving Oliver and Felicity (which resulted in Felicity becoming from Ensemble Dark Horse to Base-Breaking Character then to Scrappy), the overuse of flashbacks, Roy being Put on a Bus, mediocre plots and most controversially, Laurel Killed Off for Real in season four. Same goes for Wendy Mericle.
    • Several detractors blame him, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg for turning Oliver into a Batman Expy for the series, due to featuring villains from Batman's Rogues Gallery. That being said, Berlanti and Kreisberg have been blamed for the Seasonal Rot of The Flash (2014) that began with season two.
    • Others blame DC for either killing off or writing out characters like the Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller and Katana in the show by being Exiled from Continuity due to them becoming movie-exclusive characters in the DC Extended Universe.
  • If any TV show set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe fails and/or receives bad reviews (Iron Fist (2017), Inhumans), everyone (even TV Tropes) will blame Ike Perlmutter. No matter the different behind-the-issues going on at Marvel Studios regarding their television branch, as far as the Fan Dumb is concerned, everything is Perlmutter's fault.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • When director Alex Graves commented that including Lady Stoneheart in the fourth season's finale would have been "a waste," fans blamed him for the decision in spite of the fact that he's an episode director, not a writer or showrunner, so the decision wasn't up to him.
    • On a grander scale, Bryan Cogman is one of the writers on the show most often blamed for the perceived poor quality of certain storylines; in particular he gets a lot of flak for Arya's plots in Seasons 5 and 6 which is a major Broken Base.
    • David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have received a lot of flak over the more polarizing aspects of the newer seasons, which eventually reached a peak with Season 8 (particularly the decision to resolve the battle with the Night King in a single episode). The fact that they wrote the two most polarizing episodes of the season as of this writing ("The Long Night" and "The Last of the Starks") as well as the final two episodes of the entire series hasn't helped.

    Multiple Media 
  • Greg Farshtey, head of BIONICLE's Story Team since 2005, is often seen by part of the fanbase as the one responsible for the story Jumping the Shark — which they can never agree when actually happened, only that it was his work. He gets lots of complaints for shifting out the fantasy aspects, but in reality, these had been all planned ahead way before he ever "laid hands" on the story. He's also often held responsible for de-canonizing romance and trying to make the story Darker and Edgier. There is some merit to the complaints: the alleged faults in the later years' characterizations, the writing style of the books and comics and the entirety of the online serials were mostly Greg's doing. And while he did have a large say in the story (particularly in convincing LEGO to expand it beyond their intended single year), the general direction prior to the line's cancellation was always decided upon by the entire Story Team, and he's even commented that at least one story decision in 2005 ( Vakama's temporary Face–Heel Turn) was not his work at all and that he didn't like it.
    • Some fans even believe that he joined the Team in 2003, which most old-school purists consider to be the point when the series started going downhill. Actually, Greg has been writing for the series since day one — he has been behind all of the comics, including the much-acclaimed original run. 2003 was when he started writing the novels (he only wrote one that year, though) and joining online discussions on BZPower.com. Though the franchise has been conceptualized without him, he has been on board before its official launch.

    Music 
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis has got a hell of a lot of flak from fans for avoiding the band's first three albums and One Hot Minute live, as well as not playing the popular singles "Knock Me Down" and "Taste The Pain", meaning that the band's setlists were very static for a period. This is evidenced on the Live In Hyde Park album; exclusive songs notwithstanding, most of the songs are from the albums Californication and By The Way, with a couple from Blood Sugar Sex Magik and the Greatest Hits contribution "Fortune Faded". He seems to be aware of this, because on the I'm With You tour he brought back "Me And My Friends" and "Higher Ground" on a semi-regular basis, put the fan favorites "Sir Psycho Sexy" and "They're Red Hot" into the set more often, and allowed Josh and the rest of the band to tease older songs that they hadn't played in years.
    • John Frusciante, to an extent has caught the flak for the band's focus on melodic balladry starting with By The Way. It's interesting to note, however, John's original plan for By The Way was to make it a punk-funk album and he was voted out by the rest of the band and Rick Rubin. Stadium Arcadium was partly so funky because he wanted it that way. John also catches the flak for not playing One Hot Minute songs live whilst in the band, but there are no real indications that he wouldn't have played them if Anthony had insisted on it.
    • Jack Sherman has caught the flak for the band's first album, when he actually took Hillel's place very well and taught Flea various funky techniques he didn't know before. It was the band's general lack of experience, poor choice of producer, label's lack of faith in them, and antipathy towards Sherman (due to him having the opposite of Hillel's personality) that made the album not work the way they had intended. However, he held the band together at a time when they could have broken up.
    • Dave Navarro similarly gets the flak for One Hot Minute, but what is not realised by fans is that Anthony Kiedis was badly addicted to heroin in this period, and delayed the sessions by months, meaning that Navarro, Flea, and Chad ended up writing most of the music themselves unlike the usual jam sessions the band would have with Anthony. The music became heavier due to the fact all three band members liked heavier music, and Anthony's heroin use meant that the lyrics were darker too.
  • Genesis fans who don't like the band's '80s output often point fingers at Phil Collins for changing the band's musical style from progressive rock to pop. The change in musical style actually wasn't entirely on him; his bandmates also wanted to try experimenting with new musical styles, and a lot of their pop material came out after they had decided to start writing more as a group.
  • Traditionally, Paul McCartney gets the blame for The Beatles' sappy, poppy streak, being slated as the yin to John Lennon's rocker yang. This of course does not take into consideration that actually they are more or less evenly split in the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness with McCartney writing and covering some of the more edgy songs from the Beatles catalogue and Lennon even delving dangerously into corny territory whenever he shilled his romantic relationship with Yoko Ono.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • The For Better or for Worse "newruns." Creator Lynn Johnston had wanted to retire for real, but the syndicate, not wanting to risk losing a slot on the funny pages to another syndicate's strip, decided to put the strip in reruns, with various things updated for the times. However, the retconning that's been going on in these strips is definitely Johnston's own writing.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Professional Wrestling has Vince Russo. Although a lot of his ideas (especially in 2000 in WCW) were mind-breakingly bizarre, anything that is even remotely wrong in TNA is blamed exclusively on him (when he's arguably the sanest of the writers there).
  • Likewise, Vince McMahon tends to get blamed for everything in WWE, as if he's the one who handles everything. Given Vince's reputation for nepotism and micromanagement, the fandom may have a point here but men like Johnny Ace and Kevin Dunn tend to get overlooked simply because no one knew the former worked there and no one knew who the latter even was.
  • The Great Muta tended to get blamed for everything wrong, real or perceived, with All Japan Pro Wrestling during the 2000s by fans outside of Japan who simply couldn't accept that maybe Giant Baba's death simply left them in a bad state and weren't willing to consider Makoto's conflicts with the locker room even after said locker room left for Pro Wrestling NOAH with former nominal company head Mitsuharu Misawa.
  • Following Gabe Sapolsky's departure from Ring of Honor, Adam Pearce, Jim Cornette and or Sinclair Broadcast Group got most of the blame for everything people who were otherwise fans of the promotion did not like about it.
  • Sapolsky in turn became a scapegoat to Dragon Gate fans after all of its wrestlers were pulled out of the USA branch, which subsequently died off with only EVOLVE to remember it by.

    Sports 
  • In Mixed Martial Arts, UFC President Dana White is blamed for everything that happens in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, despite the heavy involvement of matchmaker Joe Silva and the actual owners of the UFC, the Fertitta brothers.
  • Similarly, on the Big Four U.S. Leagues, the commissioner is often blamed for whatever problem they're experiencing.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Holden Lee Shearer or John Chambers of Exalted get blamed by various circles for various things. Usually it goes like this: if you hate John Chambers, you blame everything bad about Exalted on him and sing praises of Holden. If you don't like Holden, he gets blamed for ruining favorite topics.
    • Holden effectively performed a bait-and-switch with collaborator and fellow Ink Monkey John Mørke, which made it harder to criticize.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Mike Mearls gets blamed for every decision that the fans do not like. For example, he is blamed for the 4th Edition of D&D being "simplified" and alledgedly focusing entirely on combat mechanics rather than roleplaying mechanics, thus making 4e "more like WoW" than D&D. He's also blamed for eventually killing off 4e entirely at the behest of a "vocal minority" in favor of returning to the allegedly more cumbersome and "inaccessible" rules of previous versions and destroying the "uniqueness" of 4e. He just can't win.
    • Monte Cook, his predecessor, is blamed for the "powercreep" and "Munchkining" of versions 3.x of Dungeons & Dragons. Mearls stated in several design documents and blog posts that the game was designed to reward specific combinations of feats,classes, and skills, as well as setting up "traps" of sub-optimal combinations, in order to reward rule mastery. His statements about the superiority of wizards over all other classes have also earned him some blame from fans about the broken-ness of wizards in those versions.
  • One of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000's most notorious writers was Matt Ward, who spawned a substantial Hate Dom that accused him of creating Gamebreaker units and army lists, ruining the Ultramarines for the fans, turning the Grey Knights into Purity Sues who nevertheless feel a need to butcher and wear their allies as holy ointment for additional protection, Retconning the Necrons into Space Egyptians, and general Canon Defilement in the works with his name on them. That said, Ward couldn't do any of this without Games Workshop's consent, and then there were some who blamed him for anything else they don't like, such as the the Jokaero featured in the 6th edition Grey Knights codex (those "space orangutans" date back to the game's 2nd edition), or the more androgynous appearance of the plastic Daemonettes of Slaanesh (the new design is a throwback to the oldest metal models for them, and more to the point, Ward's not a sculptor). Perhaps in response to this, rulebooks are now credited to "the Games Workshop design team" rather than a single author. Ironically, Ward himself is no longer employed at GW, with some speculation that he was made a scapegoat by his former bosses as well. He came back later, following a major shakeup in their management.

    Video Games 
  • First played straight, but then surprisingly inverted with Metroid: Other M. Some uninformed reviewers blamed Team Ninja for most of the game's controversial bits when it first came out, until team head Yosuke Hayashi explained that his hands were tied and series co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto was the one who insisted on, for example, the clunky control scheme. Samus' voice actress Jessica Martin got slammed for her Dull Surprise delivery, until it was revealed that Sakamoto directed her to read her lines that way. Furthermore, Martin became an active member of the fandom, even recording a Happy New Years message for the 2010/2011 New Years to the fans at the height of the backlash to her acting, and when Nintendo let Metroid's 25th anniversary pass without incident, both she and Hayashi recorded personal congratulations messages for the series. As a result, fans started warming to Martin, and the game's Broken Base focused its attention on Sakamoto.
    • ...where this trope began to be played straight. Some of Other M's critics have tried to retroactively label any troubles or continuity errors in the Metroid Prime subseries as Sakamoto's attempts to "sabotage" the games for not fitting with his "vision" - but Sakamoto wasn't even involved in the Prime games, and Retro Studios only contacted him once in a while. Some even accuse him of trying to kill the series as early as Super Metroid, widely considered the crown jewel of the franchise, and try to de-emphasize his actual involvement in any other Metroid game for fear that it might paint his career and abilities in a positive light.
  • A lot of The Legend of Zelda fans blame Eiji Aonuma, the current main producer of the series, for every single thing that is supposedly wrong with the series nowadays. Of course, when they see something that goes right for them, then they praise Shigeru Miyamoto for it. Classy, isn't it?...
  • It seems like, if anything wrong happens with Super Smash Bros., it's Masahiro Sakurai's fault. One of the worst cases, Ice Climbers being cut from the roster and the addition of Dark Pit. People kept claiming that he was being biased for his own game series (Kid Icarus), but Sakurai already admitted he couldn't put Ice Climbers in the game because of the 3DS hardware limitations, and Dark Pit is just a clone so it's much easier (and faster) to put in the game.
    • Many people seem to believe that Sakurai is a literal one-man team when he's often made it clear that there are other people involved in the development of Smash Bros. and that everything in the game has to be approved by the original teams of each series.
    • Even further to point with Sakurai, people tend to always think that he does literally everything on his own for every game he has worked on, even his non-Smash games. There are people who will have you believe that he designed every single Kirby character on his own, and did all the artwork for Kid Icarus: Uprising (The artist of this game's artwork is actually Hirooka Masaki).
  • An arrant case is the hatred towards Square Enix over Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals. The fact that Neverland developed the game seemed to go unheard of to must fans, who somehow believe the same team that worked on Kingdom Hearts or Final Fantasy XIII were working on Lufia...
  • The Hate Dumb of Pokémon would have you believe that Shigeru Miyamoto personally designs every single Pokémon and creates every single game. No mention of Game Freak, the company that develops the games. He helped produce the Generation I games and was a friend and mentor of the actual creator Satoshi Tajiri, a name that most people outside of the Pokemon fandom probably don't seem to recognize — all of which was back in the nineties.
    • On a similar note, with all of the complaints about the designs of the Pokémon and the humans themselves, you'd think Ken Sugimori was the only person on their art team. He's still on it, and he supervises the art, but the credits to Pokémon Sun and Moon reveal there have been at least 40 people who have done character design for the series. (This is inverted too—Sugimori will also get the credit for every compliment.)
  • Nintendo always gets yelled at for not having [Insert Game here] on the Wii's Virtual Console, despite the fact that the submission is the original publishers' decision and permission. Nintendo merely licenses more games than it actually publishes and develops.
    • And not everyone seems to know that sometimes the publishers aren't actually still around. And sometimes, if they are, they may not always be second or third-party. (Sony and Rare, for example.)
    • And back to Nintendo again, there are people who believe the company consists solely of Shigeru Miyamoto and nobody else. His Executive Meddling of Paper Mario: Sticker Star (which ended up being regarded as the worst of the series) certainly didn't help, either. A character could be written out of a game for completely legitimate reasons, and yet fans will assume the worst and call for his head.
  • If you want to be a game developer without having to deal with criticism, it's pretty much a safe bet that you should work for Electronic Arts or get them to publish you. That way, any criticisms with your game will be treated like it was all EA's doing, even if their involvement in the game was limited to financial support and marketing at best. Sure, they've had their screw-ups, but they're not responsible for everything.
  • Statesman, also known as Jack Emmert, former lead designer of City of Heroes, is pretty much the de facto hate target for anything anyone dislikes (power changes, necessary or not, game direction, AT design, you name it) until roughly Issue 13, even after Issue 7 when he stepped down to focus on other things. To this day, he still is reviled, and his habit of being blunt to the point of club didn't help things any.
    • This perception of him hasn't improved since he started work on another superhero MMO, Champions Online, which intends to compete with City of Heroes. Especially as many of the design details revealed so far indicate that he's ready to make many of the same mistakes all over again.
    • Castle is rapidly becoming the new Hate Target for the playerbase, being the guy who works on (and consequently sometimes makes downward changes to) Powers.
    • And now, the trope has come full circle - Matt Miller, AKA Positron, is now being blamed for everything bad about the game.
    • MMORPG lead devs in general are likely to end up targets of this. It's perhaps for this reason that the lead developer of Clichequest, the fictional MMO in The Noob, is portrayed as a Small Name, Big Ego, Jerkass, and Pointy-Haired Boss.
  • In one of his videos Angry Joe criticized Tom Clancy for some of the issues with The Division, despite the fact that Tom Clancy a) had minimal involvement with his video games and b) had been dead for 3 years by the time The Division was released.
  • Reggie Fils-Aimé, president of Nintendo of America, tends to get a lot of (mostly) undeserved flack from the Earthbound community, many of whom seem to have decided that he's the sole obstacle to an English release of MOTHER 3. Some fans also claim that he was actively trying to prevent Xenoblade, The Last Story, and Pandora's Tower (the "Operation Rainfall" games) from reaching North America. Just look at the comments made on Nintendo World Report's news page about The Last Story being published by XSEED for a North American release... Some fans take it even further, and claim that it's all Reggie's fault that there weren't a lot of games released for the Wii in 2012, despite the fact that NOA doesn't make the games.
  • Not one of the more high-profile examples, but there are those who blame any bad bit of level design in Doom II: Hell on Earth on Sandy Petersen. He also worked on quite a bit of the original Doom, but that game is generally more highly revered than its sequel.
  • Street Fighter fans got angry at Yoshinori Ono when he revealed that not only would Street Fighter IV be modeled more closely after Street Fighter II than Street Fighter III, but that the character roster wouldn't include any fighters from SF III due to the setting being a prequel. This was actually an executive mandate from Ono's supervisors, as they wanted to recapture the mainstream popularity and nostalgia of the earlier SF II games instead of focusing only on core players like the SF III trilogy. Ono eventually addressed the lack of SF III fighters by bringing a few of them back for Super Street Fighter IV.
    • Due to various fiascoes that popped up over the course of Street Fighter X Tekken's development, it was not uncommon for fans to shovel the blame on top of Ono either. However, this mostly dissipated due to Ono's genuine zeal when it came to the titles he was working on as well as news that Ono was so overworked by Capcom that he collapsed of exhaustion and had to be rushed to the hospital (he has since recovered and is back on the job).
  • The title of scapegoat for World of Warcraft seems to change every expansion. In the first few years, people generally blamed developers Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan and Alex "Furor" Afrasiabi for any and all of the game's shortcomings. In the Burning Crusade era, this title shifted to Tom "Kalgan" Chilton. Since the release of Wrath of the Lich King, however, players have been calling for Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street's head whenever they're particularly unhappy.
    • Though it has to be said that Furor and Tigole (famous EverQuest raiders) actually *were* responsible for the shortcomings of the vanilla version because Blizzard (inexperienced with creating MMOs) put far too much faith in their judgment, thus creating an endgame that pandered solely to members of big raiding guilds and pigeonholed all existing classes into specific roles. Only with BC did all of this change.
    • Ghostcrawler hate originated pretty much solely due to the now-famous "To the ground!" nerf of Retribution Paladins. Oddly enough, Ghostcrawler's existence has rather neatly bisected the community between those that dislike him for nerfing/ruining their favourite class and those that appreciate that at least one member of the development team is supportive enough to at least publicly inform them that their favourite class will be Nerfed/ruined beforehand. That, and he is funny, which in itself is a dividing factor ("OMG be serious!"/"Hahah, cool.").
    • Way back in WOW classic, Eyonix was the liaison between the shaman community and developers. Just after promising that shamans were to be reviewed and have some problems fixed, he was laid up in the hospital for weeks. Lacking his input, the developers didn't make the promised changes. He came back to the forums to face a metric ton of hostility, including a wish for him to be hit by a bus. This inspired a "Bus Shock" meme, based on the shaman's fire/frost/earth shock spells.
    • Another example for misplaced blame was Tseric. Albeit he was little more than a glorified errand boy for the developers, he took lots of heat for controversial decisions he wasn't responsible for. It didn't help that he usually overplayed his own importance, made promises he couldn't keep, displayed an astonishing amount of ignorance about the classes he was supposed to represent and tried to be a snarky wisecracker towards (partially justified) complainers when it was completely uncalled for.
    • A good potion of the fanbase will blame every misstep on Chris Metzen, the Vice President of Creative Development, even when it's obviously outside of his department, with the belief that he writes the entire game.
      • Dave "Fargo" Kosak, lead quest designer in Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria and now as of Warlords of Draenor the Lead Narrative Designer (a new position, no one is quite sure what it entails yet), has replaced Metzen as the scapegoat for any storyline complaints. Not helping is that he is an Ascended Fanboy with all that entails.
  • And nowadays, almost everyone's pointing fingers at Activision for stuff Blizzard does. DPS Being "Dumbed down" in World of Warcraft by making Intellect function the same way as Strength and Agility, meaning Mages will actually look at it when determining their gear? Activision's fault! Never mind that even before the merge people were screaming for that.
    • Nevermind, either, that Activision-Blizzard is still essentially two distinct entities that are united on paper for record-keeping purposes. Neither group is in charge of the other, and both operate independently. The most that they share besides a letterhead is likely a pool of playtesters and artists.
    • And likewise, Diablo III's "Always online". Look at all the comments and you'll see "It's Activision's fault." No, that was Blizzard's choice.
  • Most people who voice disappointment at later Final Fantasy games tend to heap their scorn on Tetsuya Nomura, despite the fact that Nomura was only the character designer for most of these games and not the director. And even then, he wasn't the sole artist, or even the art director for these games that he's credited with directing. They will even blame him for games he wasn't even involved in, such as Final Fantasy XII.
    • This is probably because of at least one interview in which Nomura himself claimed responsibility for a huge array of overall design decisions in the Final Fantasy series, despite many of them being nothing to do with character design (and almost certainly nothing to do with him). Scapegoating from within the company, perhaps?
    • The same thing happens with the Kingdom Hearts series (though there he is at least the director), and some of the Hate Dumb even seems to claim he does the art for Dragon Quest. Chew on that for a little while.
    • This especially got bad for people saying Final Fantasy XIII was a "Nomura game" when his involvement was drawing pictures of the characters. He did not direct it, he was not even the sole artist for the game... it even says so right there in the opening credits within the firt ten minute of gameplay. When you're talking about XIII, at least mention the game he's actually directing. (Eg. Final Fantasy XV...oops, not even that anymore, since he's stepped down and given the role to Hajime Tabata.)
  • The Final Fantasy XI community tends to blame all problems with the game on global online producer Sage Sundi due to him being the target of most interviews about the game. The truth is that the reason interviews are so uninformative is more due to Executive Meddling from the higher-ups. Sundi does know about the problems with the game and has tried to get them fixed but for the most part, the devs don't listen to him.
    • Similarly, everything wrong with Final Fantasy XIV is Hiromichi Tanaka's fault, despite who's really responsible for any of the game's many troubles between the executives, the developers, and sheer misfortune being very muddy indeed. This is somewhat understandable given Tanaka volunteered to take responsibility for all of the game's problems (his fault or otherwise) when he stepped down as producer.. except he still sometimes gets loudly and enthusiastically blamed by the community for issues introduced since Naoki Yoshida replaced him. Yoshida also gets the blame for anything wrong in the game currently, even though the game is made by a team rather than just him.
  • John Romero gets a lot of flak for his blunders with Daikatana. Many of them are justified, but a lot of the level design failures can instead be attributed to the head level designer (and Romero's girlfriend at the time), Stevie "Killcreek" Case.
    • Not to mention the people calling him some sort of egoist for the tag line "John Romero Is About to Make You His Bitch", even though that and the general exaggeration of his involvement/how much he did was more marketing than anything else.
    • All of this culminating in a ridiculous event where ex-Romero fans rallied behind Ion Storm's marketing director for insulting him over the phone in an over the top way... even though the marketing director was one of the people responsible for running Ion Storm into the ground and putting the game into Development Hell.
  • You know Prince of Persia (2008)? If you're one of the fifty percent that didn't like it, odds are you blame or know people who blame Ben Mattes for this. For most true PoP fans Ben Mattes has been a curse to the franchise ever since he came in with Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, and built fan expectations for the 2008 game just so he could crush them with the actual product. The kicker? He's the producer!
  • Yuji Naka may have been responsible for a number of Sonic quality issues during the Classic era, but he'll even get blamed for games he was clearly never involved in. A particularly egregious example of this is giving him flack for 2008's Sonic Unleashed, when Naka hadn't even been part of Sonic Team since 2005 (and had little to no involvement with any Sonic game since Sonic Adventure 2).
    • Other Classic-era games Naka was never involved in: Sonic CDnote , Sonic Spinball, any of the 8-bit Master System/Game Gear titles, Sonic 3D Blast, and Sonic R.
    • Nowadays, the person most likely to get the blame for anything going wrong in the Sonic franchise is Takashi Iizuka, longtime producer for the series. However, his involvement in some of the series' worst games of Sonic's Dork Age was limited (in the credits for Sonic '06, Iizuka's name only appears in the "Special Thanks" section).
      • If it's not Iizuka drawing the ire of Sonic's infamously unpleaseable fanbase, it's Dimps, the developers of all the portable Sonic titles since 2001. Common complaints tend to focus on the use/misuse of momentum and the overabundance of dash-pads (and cheap death). The fact that the Rush engine was the base for Sonic 4 caused a large segment of the fandom to go ballistic even before the game was released.
    • A rather baffling case is that on rare occasion, Roger Craig Smith, who's simply the voice of Sonic, will receive blame for Sonic games not living up to what the fans wanted. Much of this appears to be general rage that he isn't Sonic's previous voice actors. Smith's immediate predecessor, Jason Griffith, was a scapegoat back in the late-2000s for the same reasons.
  • Natsume is often blamed for every bad thing in the Harvest Moon franchise. While their localizations do tend to have glitches the originals don't, features are sometimes taken out, they Bowdlerise, and their translations are far from perfect, they do not make the games. Marvelous does, and even then they began with the Game Boy Advance (before it was in the hands of Pack-In-Video and later Victor Interactive Software; the latter which was eventually acquired by Marvelous).
  • Ever since brought to infamy by The Angry Video Game Nerd, LJN Toys has been blamed for the (mostly licensed) games they published, even though most weren't made by them.
    • LordKaT actually referenced this during one of his "Until We Win" segments, noting that one particularly bad game, although it had the LJN rainbow on the box, was actually developed by Rare.
    • However, people can counter-argue that while LJN doesn't develop the games themselves, they are the ones who hire the developers, and choose the budget and deadline, and it's their decision if the game is going to get published in this state or not.
  • If a video game adaptation sucks, gamers tend to blame either the game makers or the original IP holder. The game makers, may it be the publisher or developers, would be blamed for not caring about the property and instead uses the IP for simple brand recognition for selling as many units as possible. The IP holders would be blamed for placing creative restraints to protect their brand image or pressuring the game makers to rush out the product to promote upcoming events.
  • David Gaider is this to certain portions of the Dragon Age fandom, mostly because he is the most well known person involved with the franchise (having written the accompanying books and well as writing for the games). Despite the fact that he is a writer, he will often be blamed for programming mistakes and blamed for characters that he didn't write. When fans aren't blaming him for every fault in the story anyway.
    • A very specific case of this is when he is erroneously blamed for the lack of a dwarven romance option in the first three games. This is based entirely on an anecdote where he expressed being creeped out by the Girlish Pigtails on a dwarven character romancing Alistair.
    • Much of this is because, until shortly after the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition, he was actually Lead Writer of the franchise, as well as his history of being a Trolling Creator on social media, particularly on Tumblr. His announced replacement as DA Lead Writer is Patrick Weekes, a fan favorite writer in BioWare circles due to his previous work on Mass Effect, particularly the Extended Cut DLC that was very well received by fans unhappy with the original ending to Mass Effect 3. Only time will tell if Weekes will continue to enjoy the fandom's goodwill, or if the notoriously Unpleasable Fanbase will have him replace Gaider in this trope's role too.
  • Insomniac Games have been blamed for Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly even though they had nothing to do with it or any of the following Spyro games.
  • The cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3 has caused absolutely no shortage of anger at Capcom. Some of that anger, however, was misdirected at Keiji Inafune, creator of the franchise and leader of the Legends 3 project (this being a game Inafune, himself, wanted to create for years): a major reason for the flack, according to his detractors, is that his leaving Capcom prompted them to cancel Legends 3.
    • Well, speaking of Inafune, the big failure of Mighty No. 9 paved way for the disappointed fans to think that he's to blame in just about everything, even if some of it wasn't his idea (such as the disastrous "Cry like an anime fan in a prom night", that was really not his idea, but the trailer announcer's). However, Inafune admits and enforced the trope on himself, if the disappointed fans need something to blame, they should blame him. The franchise's positive reception in the Mighty Gunvolt series got the opposite reaction, with fans citing anything good from the original game that carried over to Beck's routes as entirely Inti Creates' ideas. Inafune instead is given credit for letting them use the game without any legal worries.
  • In the case of Mass Effect 3, executive producer Casey Hudson and lead writer Mac Walters has been blamed for nearly every single of the fandom's issues with the game. This stems from a forum post by someone impersonating one of the writers an claiming that Walters & Hudson were the ones behind the very controversial ending to the game, and didn't reveal their plans to the other writers until it was too late to change things.
    • They do share some of the fandom hate... with EA. Broadly speaking, there are two popular opinions: that it's entirely and solely the fault of EA's Corrupt Corporate Executives, or that it's entirely and solely the fault of the writers and their Protection from Editors. The two factions... don't get along, especially because they tend to put whoever they aren't blaming on a pedestal, convinced that the game would be perfect if it weren't for those other guys. The DLC as well as the widely loathed endings were the most common things people blamed EA/Bioware for, though the actual responsibility (probably) falls on both parties — Casey Hudson would be to blame for the Gainax Ending, and EA for the attempt to turn a very popular offline franchise into an online cash cow.
  • In the case of SNK, the illustrators and character designers Nona and Tatsuhiko "Falcoon" Kanaoka have caught lots of flack from people who don't like their artwork or question their decisions in regards to art and developments in the company's fighting games, specially the much beloved The King of Fighters series. In the case of Nona, the fans question his problems with the rest of the KOF staff in regards to his drawing style, which apparently led him to leave SNK as he felt they were asking him to "simplyfy his style"; in the case of Falcoon, they have even been cruel enough to use the rumors about his homosexuality note  to pick apart his work as designer and producer.
  • Notch, creator of Minecraft gets blamed for nearly any change that fandom hates. Notch had stepped down from the game back in November 2011 and had let Jeb take over, yet people will still praise or hate Notch for anything that changes in the game.
  • David Goldfarb, one of the lead developers of PAYDAY 2, was routinely blamed for any changes made to the game that the fandom didn't like. They blamed the "downfall" of the game on David just because of his previous involvement with the Battlefield games, and how David said he had some influence on the developers during the alpha stages of PAYDAY 2. However, most changes made to the game are decided by the development team as a whole rather than just one or two people.
    • After Goldfarb's departure from Overkill Software in July 2014, Marketing Director and Producer Almir Listo became the community's new target, due to his appearance in most update/behind the scenes videos, and his communication with the fanbase in general.
  • Quick: want to generate a Flame War among Silent Hill fans? Ask who caused the series' Dork Age: Tomm Hulett, or Konami. To one half of the fanbase, Hulett, the man who took over as the director of the series after the original development team, Team Silent, disbanded following the fourth game, was responsible for everything that went wrong with the series from Silent Hill: Origins onward, from questionable creative decisions to changes in gameplay mechanics to the Porting Disaster that was the Silent Hill HD Collection. To the other, Hulett has been the only person keeping the series alive, and it was Konami that broke up Team Silent and passed the franchise off from studio to studio while destroying everything that made the original games great. The only thing they can agree upon is that the series went downhill after Team Silent broke up, and that someone is to blame.

    The Hulett-bashing has, however, mostly gone dormant and shifted to a focus on Konami ever since the Silent Hills debacle. Pretty much everybody agrees that that mess was Konami's fault, especially in the wake of their abandonment of most AAA game development in 2015-16 to focus on mobile gaming and slot machines. While Konami's fraught relationship with Hideo Kojima, the director of Silent Hills, tends to be portrayed as a one-way street a bit too often (Kojima had gone seriously overbudget on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain's Troubled Production, putting him very much in Konami's bad graces), Konami's announcement of a Silent Hill slot machine just months after they canceled Silent Hills read like a deliberate insult towards the franchise and its fans.
  • The Atari 2600 game Karate is often considered to be one of the worst video games ever made due to its blocky graphics, Button Mashing gameplay, and extreme difficulty. Many have blamed publisher Froggo Games for Karate, as they're the company that released the most common version of the game in 1987, but in reality, they just re-released a far rarer Ultravision title from 1983, similarly to what they did for all of their other 2600 games. This lifts much of the blame and explains why the graphics were so bad for a "1987" release, though one could still blame Froggo for making such a bad game more common.
  • While he also receives a lot of Creator Worship, Valve co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell is often blamed for everything Valve does to its games or Steam. The most infamous example is the memetic status of Half Life 3's Development Hell, where Gabe is accused of intentionally delaying the game because people are making fun of his weight. In 2014, an indie developer accidentally had his title released on Steam as an Early Access title, even though it was finished. He became furious and tweeted a death threat to Gabe Newell, which caused a lot of controversy and got Valve to take his game off Steam and cut all future relations with him.
  • Ever since Yusuke Kozaki became the character designer for Fire Emblem Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates, the Unpleasable Fanbase has been constantly whining against him and only him for the increase of Fanservice, even calling him a "pedophile" (among other things) solely for his designs. This shows quite a bit of ignorance about how character designing is actually made, nevermind how Kozaki himself has explained how he does his work and how it's been shown that he follows the instructions given to him by the FE art director, Toshiyuki Kusakihara.
  • Star Trek Online has head developer Al "CaptainGeko" Rivera. It's not uncommon for players to paint "Geko" as a Federation-loving, DPS-only man who is ready to snub the Klingon and Romulan player bases at every opportunity and if someone dares challenge his way of thinking, he'll gladly find a way to harm the player base, usually with more grinds.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, due to its controversial release, ended up with multiple scapegoats (including a few returning names from elsewhere on this page):
    • Yoshinori Ono was once again blamed for Capcom's side of the roster being seen as weak and mostly just rehashes from Marvel vs. Capcom 3, even though he had nothing to do with the game. According to Maximilian Dood, part of the blame really deserves to go to Capcom Japan for not understanding the Western fanbase; for example, they keep including Frank West and Spencer in the series because they think Americans are much fonder of the characters than they actually are, and for a very long time let the Mega Man series fall by the wayside simply because they didn't think American and European fans liked it very much, when it is and always has been one of their most popular franchises.
    • Plenty of fans blame Capcom as a whole for the fact that Mega Man X isn't a top-tier character, saying it was just another example of them trying to screw over the Mega Man franchise out of spite. Never mind the fact that X's partner Zero, who was already a top-tier character in MvC3, is even better in Infinite to the point of being considered a Game-Breaker by some...
    • Making his fourth appearance on the page, Marvel's Ike Perlmutter gets a lot of blame for the game being "Marvel Cinematic Universe vs. Capcom", with Infinite dropping the comic book aesthetic of MvC3 in favor of a more realistic art stylenote , replacing the iconic background music with more generic "theatrical" tracks, and demanding that the entire Marvel side of the roster (with the lone exception of Nova) are characters who've either appeared in or will be appearing in the MCU. Not helping matters is the fact that this meant the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters, who have been mainstays of the Capcom vs. Whatever franchise since the start, with Capcom admitting that their hands were tied and the best they could do would be maybe getting those characters back as DLC.
    • Pete "Combofiend" Rojas, a member of the FGC and the community manager for Infinite, took a ton of heat for the infamous "Functions" interview which was full of absurd statements (such as "Modern gamers don't really know who the X-Men are" and "People play fighting game characters for how they function, not their appearances or history"). The general feel of the interview is that Rojas had to address the Elephant in the Living Room while also trying to avoid saying anything that could piss off Marvel like blaming them for the lack of X-Men characters. However, "Functions" ended up becoming a derisive meme for Infinite, and a few players blamed Rojas for the game's roster, even though he was simply the community manager and thus had absolutely no input into the game.
  • This was invoked with Tabula Rasa to the point of legal proceedings: the publisher NCsoft intentionally sabotaged the fairly healthy MMO and forged a resignation letter from Richard Garriot written in a manner implying he was pulling a Torch the Franchise and Run in an attempt to get out of paying him the millions in stock he was owed and deflect the anger of the player base onto him. This backfired royally when the truth came to light, and remains a black mark on the company's reputation.
  • Overwatch has two, one for the gameplay aspect, one for the story side:
    • Gameplay-wise, lead designer Geoff Goodman is heavily disliked by the community for some comments that were dismissive toward fans of D.va (after she received a heavy nerf), for another comment that implied he wanted to remove/replace D.va with another character filling her niche and another dismissive comment toward the Ana fiasco.
    • Story-wise, Lead Writer Michael Chu is hated for suggestions of playing favorite (Genji has much more relevance to the lore than most characters, two other characters are only defined by their relationship toward him), retconning a character's backstory (saying that D.va was never a pro Starcraft player, despite several teasers and other Blizzard official explicitly calling her such) while seemingly trying to gaslight the fans instead of admitting it was a retcon (saying her status as a Starcraft pro was a "common misconception"), and the tectonic speed at which new lore is released.

    Visual Novels 
  • Shiny Days had a Scapegoat Publisher in Jast USA; while most of the game is uncensored, the English translation was initially buggy and had the scenes with Kokoro and her friend (both underage characters) removed. While the former is the fault of Jast USA's quality check team not doing their job, the latter is not the fault of Jast USA, but an issue with laws in other countries where the game may be sold. This is because Lolicon and Shotacon content, unlike Child Pornography, falls under the protection of the US American constitution as artistic expression, but in countries like Australia or the UK they are considered the same thing, thus illegal. So to get the game sold officially at all and not make their customers risk their own lifes, Jast USA had to remove that content. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that Jast made the most money by selling articles of Kokoro herself and still did after the game's release.

    Web 
  • John Baku tends to take a lot of crap for the Fet Life feed going down on a regular basis, and how slow updates and new features are to come...the fact that the man basically put a kinky Facebook together using barbed wire and spit, and barely has the budget to keep it up at all, goes uncommented upon.
  • Whenever something goes wrong with Facebook, users are quick to blame everything on Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Doug Walker. Because he's face of Channel Awesome, he gets way more blame than Michaud and Rob, who everyone (even themselves) has said are the actually abusive heads of site while Doug just works for them. This was averted during the "Change The Channel" controversy; the Channel Awesome mismanagement was Michaud and Rob's fault.
  • Ever since the video-making website GoAnimate starting being over-hauled to be more business-friendly and less for casual use, the casual userbase (namely, those who use the website to make the legendary "X Gets Grounded" videos) has made the website's founder, Alvin Hung, their personal whipping boy (or, more accurately, one of the most popular Grounded video targets) for every little change that happens to the website. (Especially if it hampers the users' ability to make Grounded videos, and regardless if it was something reasonable like the licensing on some of the text-to-speech voices used in the program expiring.)
  • Many fans of the show RWBY often blame Miles Luna for whatever flaws the show has, whether he was actually to blame or not. This includes any screentime Jaune Arc gets in the show (when not only has focus not been on him since season 2, but most of the Jaune scenes were developed by creator Monty Oum and co-writer Kerry Shawcross), the death of Pyrrha Nikos in Volume 3 (when Monty had planned their fate from the start) and the seemingly asspull-ish Silver Eyes reveal (developed as a counter to the Maidens, which Monty hadn't added until the break between Volumes 2 and 3). It's gotten to the point where Miles is hesitant to develop any scenes with Jaune, and he considers RWBY "the most stressful show [he] works on."
  • During the GameFAQs contests, if things go wrong in a way (from technical problems to outside interference) the blame will go with who runs the site (at first, founder CJayC, since 2006 his successor SBAllen).

    Western Animation 
  • This phenomenon, a lot like what happens in Real Life, is lampshaded in A Bug's Life
    Hopper: "First rule of leadership: Everything is your fault."
  • John Kricfalusi is widely blamed for the failures of The Ripping Friends and Ren and Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon — ignoring that the former show suffered from horrific meddling (which included throwing out all of the custom poses that Spumco is known for), and the latter show was pushed to be Darker and Edgier due to Spike TV wanting it to be another moneymaker along the lines of South Park.
  • Showrunner Mike Scully is usually blamed for The Simpsons' nadir in quality and characterization in seasons 9-12. Of course, the fans have been saying the most recent season is the worst ever more or less since the series began (Comic Book Guy's catchphrase "worst episode ever" was coined in relation to The Simpsons in response to a fourth season episode, the fourth season now being considered to be something of a Golden Age). Also, the last episode he wrote was "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation" - which first aired in 2002.
    • Creator Matt Groening also gets a big heap of blame from unhappy fans. The primary complaint is that he should have ended the show years ago. But Matt was complaining as early as season 5 that how long The Simpsons continues is totally out of his hands. He doesn't have the power to end the show and never did. That's Fox's call. He instead went on to create Futurama and be heaped with praised for taking a more hands-on approach.
    • Current showrunner Al Jean gets a lot of blame for the latest quality drop, especially considering the fact that he has been the showrunner for over seven years, far longer than anyone else, not to mention that Al Jean was, with then-partner Mike Reiss, showrunner on Seasons 3 and 4, as well as some episodes produced on the side for Season 6 when they did The Critic and Seasons 8 & 9 when they did Teen Angel for Disney. Jean decided to return to The Simpsons in Season 10 when he felt he wanted to return to the show, and Reiss has since returned to The Simpsons as a co-producer.
  • Transformers: Beast Machines head writer Bob Skir is generally blamed for not doing much to make the series a continuation of Beast Wars, even though then Mainframe Entertainment president Dan Didio (yes, THAT Dan Didio) told him not to watch Beast Wars before becoming involved. His strong online presence at the time backlashed (in part thanks to the jerkass admin of his message board) into him getting most of the blame, while his writing partner Marty Isenberg, who kepts a low profile, was spared most of the flak (and went on to be the head writer for Transformers Animated).
  • Seth MacFarlane is mistakenly thought to be responsible for everything and anything wrong with the Un-Cancelled Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show. Everything good is someone else's work. Fans of American Dad! in particular seem to believe the show is superior and that this is because Seth has checked out of it. That's not true, obviously: he has equal power over all three shows.
    • You know "Not All Dogs go to Heaven"? The one that's most criticized here for being an Author Tract for Macfarlane? Yeah, he neither wrote nor directed that episode. Same with the second-most-criticized episode, "Road to the Multiverse". Both episodes were directed by Greg Colton, and the writers of "Heaven" and "Multiverse" were then-showrunner Danny Smith and Wellesley Wild, respectively.
    • Whether or not he's credited as writing or directing an individual episode isn't as important as one might think. As the executive producer, he oversees the creation of the scripts and approves them before they enter into production, sometimes rewriting them. That said, the original writer(s) tend to escape any blame in favor of targeting Seth.
      • Also, it is not uncommon for a showrunner or producer to do rewrites or make contributions to an episode but forgo a formal writing credit.
    • He is very frequently Mis-blamed for the chicken fights and repeated callbacks. Per DVD Commentary, he's not a big fan of either and must be convinced by the rest of the writing staff that those jokes should go in to a given episode.
  • Paul Tibbit has been blamed for the decline of SpongeBob SquarePants ever since he replaced Stephen Hillenburg as the Showrunner from Season 4-onwards. Other people blame writers such as Zeus Cervas and Casey Alexander.
  • Don Bluth has often been blamed for allowing several of his movies to have been given sequels. While Fievel Goes West is sometimes considered watchable (partly due to nostalgia reasons), all the other stuff—especially The Secret of NIMH 2—is often blamed on him. Other than Bartok the Magnificent, Bluth had nothing to do with any of these sequels. Funny fact 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "The Mysterious Mare Do-Well", a controversal episode, induced so many Periphery Demographic fans to rant against its credited writer, Merriwether Williams, that the lead moderator of Equestria Daily (the fandom's major news and fanwork blog) had to tell the fans to cut it out. Never mind the huge chain of people from then-executive producer Lauren Faust down to each individual writer and animator who are actually responsible for each episode. The success of "Wonderbolts Academy" seems to have caused the hate to die down to an extent, however.
      • And then "Bats" proved a perfect example of this trope in action. The episode was originally misattributed to Meghan McCarthy, and was fairly well-received. When she came out and said it wasn't her, but Merriwether Williams, who wrote it, the fandom was suddenly much more inclined to point out the episode's flaws. Makes you wonder if some of her earlier episodes would have been better received had they also been miscredited to someone else.
    • And after Faust stepped down, some fans started making new showrunner Meghan McCarthy out to be a creatively bankrupt Hasbro shillnote  obsessed with pandering to fans by approving what are clearly OC pony designsnote  and having popular antagonist Trixie or even background poniesnote  reappear!
    • People who dislike the infamous Alicorn Twilight twist in the Season 3 finale often place the entirety of the blame on the episode's head writer, M.A. Larson, despite the fact that the writers decided as a team on the direction to take the show. More moderate members of the fanbase recognize that the decision wasn't entirely his, and that at worst all he can be blamed for is trying to cram too much material into a single episode. At least Larson had tons of fun with it.
  • John Lasseter and Ed Catmull have fallen into this among some Pixar fans and especially Disney Animated Canon fans sometime after The Princess and the Frog was released. For example, they have gotten a ton of flack for changing Rapunzel's title into Tangled, canceling the production of Newt, ordering up sequels to previous Pixar films like Cars and Monsters, Inc., putting any fairy tale projects in development at Disney on hold, and changing the hand-drawn project The Snow Queen into a CGI film titled Frozen. John was already under fire before The Princess and the Frog for firing Chris Sanders (of Lilo & Stitch fame) and reconfiguring American Dog into Bolt (the fact that Sanders and his co-director/co-writer Dean DeBlois went to DreamWorks Animation and made their hugely successful How to Train Your Dragon series didn't help Lasseter's decision on him at all).
  • Chris McCulloch (aka "Jackson Publick", of The Venture Bros.) got the brunt of the hate and blame over several contested writing decisions in Superjail! season 2. While he was story editor and did have the last say on the scripts, some of the ideas that the fans had blamed him for or insisted were Executive Meddling (revelations of backstories, some personality changes, Lord Stingray) wound up actually being the creators' own intent, as they'd wanted to try to break away from a repetitive formula (although the network also encouraged them to find a newer direction as well).
  • When it comes to Total Drama, many of the post-Island writers have fallen victim to this, but Terry McGurrin and Ed MacDonald were hit the hardest by this in All-Stars and Pahkitew Island. They have written what are deemed six of the worst episodes of all time ("Sundae Muddy Sundae", "The Bold and the Booty-ful", "The Final Wreck-ening", "Hurl and Go Seek", "Lies, Cries, and One Big Prize"). It doesn't help that Ed didn't bother familiarizing himself with any of the past seasons before he joined, while Terry has been noted for his trademark writing style of "dumbing down" a character in their elimination episode.
  • Derrick Wyatt has been treated badly by the Ben 10 fandom ever since Omniverse began. He has been blamed for changing the tone from the popular, yet fan-divided Darker and Edgier tone from Alien Force and Ultimate Alien to a Denser and Wackier version of the Lighter and Softer original Ben 10 series ever since creators Man of Action's departure to work in Ultimate Spider-Man, which has been met with backlash from longtime Spider-Man fans and due to the death of Dwayne McDuffie, in addition to the designs of the characters, most notably Kevin and Gwen being demoted to recurring status and also the fact that the third story arc of the series has been derided by fans as well. Him saying negative things about Alien Force and Ultimate Alien on Twitter, didn't help in addition to being in favour of the Executive Meddling responsible for the show being more like the original after Ultimate Alien suffered from lackluster ratings (being Screwed by the Network didn't help). This backlash along with a mix of redundant questions, angry hate mail from fans of Alien Force and Ultimate Alien (and to a lesser extent, fans of the original series), and the stressful forced rushing of production towards the end of Omniverse, resulted in him deactivating his DeviantArt account and swearing off ties to the franchise forever to the point he temporarily closed all questions, though were later reopened on his request that they have nothing to do with the franchise. Also blamed for the stylistic change is supervising producer Matt Youngberg, executive producer Tramm Wigzell, whose statements about that the show would be better without Gwen and Kevin and now-former president of Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim Stuart Snyder for making the franchise as more toyetic with Omniverse.
    Wigzell: "I've decided to move Gwen and Kevin in Omniverse, so we're focusing on Ben with his powers and his personality."
    • For the mediocre writing of Omniverse, fans blame either story editor Charlotte Fullerton, Len Wein, Kevin Rubio, Marty Isenberg or Eugene Son.
    • Several fans of the original series would blame Dwayne McDuffie and Glen Murakami for Alien Force and Ultimate Alien.
    • Man of Action Studios were immune of this until the 2016 reboot (their return to the franchise after leaving to work on Spiritual Successor Generator Rex) began airing as several fans blame them for bordering heavily on slapstick and comedy rather than action, especially that it didn't air in the US until April 2017 despite given a worldwide premiere in October 2016. This isn't the first time that they've become this as many Spider-Man and The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! fans have blamed the creative team for Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers, Assemble!.
  • Several Hulk fans blame Paul Dini for Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H..
  • Several Cartoon Network viewers tend to blame former president Stuart Snyder for the 2007-2014 Network Decay of the channel in addition to wanting to take all of CN's old property and licensing for granted as he introduced live-action (though not all of the live-action content was ridiculed by fans and critics with Tower Prep and Unnatural History receiving more positive reception than the other live-action shows) and merchandise-geared programming. He's also blamed for shutting down the channel's Toonami block in 2008 before it was revived as part of [adult swim] in 2012.
  • Several Disney Channel viewers blame former president Anne Sweeney for the post-2000s Network Decay of the channel such as that it became a broken record of gender imbalance, tweenage pop stars, and the number of animated shows reduced since new Disney animated shows now air on Disney XD.
  • Several Nickelodeon viewers blame president Cyma Zarghami for the 2010-present Network Decay of the channel. Even after Nickelodeon began taking strides to Win Back the Crowd, the minute the network does something that the fanbase finds out-of-line, you can expect endless amount of blog posts ranting about how Cyma needs to step down and not helped by the fact of them putting Power Rangers on a five-to-six month hiatus due to their Let's Just Play campaign and making the Denser and Wackier even though they do not co-produce the show.
  • Many, many longtime fans of Arthur blame writer Dietrich Smith for the poorly-written or mind-screwy episodes during the Cookie Jar era of the show (ie the first 15 seasons). Episodes written by him tend to botch characterizations and his stories are sub-par by the show's high standards.
  • Many Teen Titans fans blame Aaron Horvath for Teen Titans Go! — when they aren't blaming Christina Miller, that is (see above).
  • Many The Powerpuff Girls fans blame Nick Jennings for the 2016 reboot in addition to giving Miss Bellum the Chuck Cunningham Syndrome treatment.
  • A good portion of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars fandom blame co-creator Dave Filoni for the problems affecting Star Wars Rebels.

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