Sorry, FNAF Creator Scott Cawthon, Political Donations Don’t Work That Way

Sorry, FNAF Creator Scott Cawthon, Political Donations Don’t Work That Way
Freddy from Five Night's At Freddy's: Help Wanted. (Screenshot: Steel Wool Studios)

Scott Cawthon, creator of the Five Nights At Freddy’s series, went viral over the weekend after his political donations were publicised on Twitter. The donation list was a who’s who of homophobic and transphobic Republican lawmakers including Tulsi Gabbard, Mitch McConnell, and Donald Trump. Fans reacted to Cawthon with a mix of anger and feelings of betrayal, while others left messages of support on social media trending the hashtag #istandwithscott on Twitter.

Scott Cawthon created the Five Nights At Freddy’s series back in 2014. Since then, his horror franchise about being stuck in a pizza parlor with murderous animatronics has spawned numerous sequels, spinoffs, books, and a movie. The latest FNAF game, Five Nights At Freddy’s: Security Breach, is being made by Steel Wool Studios and is expected to be released sometime this year.

Cawthon responded to the backlash with a lengthy post on the Five Nights At Freddy’s subreddit expressing love for his LGBTQIA+ fans and shock at the angry responses he received.

“I’d like to think that the last seven years would have given me the benefit of the doubt in regards to how I try to treat people,” Cawthon wrote in the now locked Reddit thread.

Cawthon also stood by his decision to donate to Donald Trump and other anti-LGBTQIA+ Republicans saying,

“Even if there were candidates who had better things to say to the LGBT community directly, and bigger promises to make, I believed that their stances on other issues would have ended up doing much greater harm to those communities than good.”

Sister from Five Night's At Freddy's: Help Wanted (Screenshot: Steel Wool Studios) Sister from Five Night’s At Freddy’s: Help Wanted (Screenshot: Steel Wool Studios)

Cawthon wrote that in the aftermath of his donation disclosure, he and his family had been doxxed with people threatening to come to his house.

I unequivocally agree that Cawthon should not have to suffer threats to his family’s safety because of his political affiliations. And of course Cawthon is entitled to support whatever candidates he pleases. But his insistence that he loves his fans and that his personal actions regarding whom he’s hired, worked with, and befriended over the years should speak louder than his political donations makes no sense.

I’ve never met Cawthon. I’ve played and enjoyed his games and from the fan testimonies I’ve seen online, I’ve no doubt that he is every bit the genuine and kind person people say he is.

But none of that excuses the irreparable harm he’s done to the people he purports to love.

There’s an unfortunate but prevailing sentiment among non-marginalised people that in order for one to be racist, homophobic, or transphobic, one must be an active and malicious particpant in racist, homophobic, or transphobic actions or shun the people racism and homophobia affects. It’s the “Black friend” defence. Cawthon can’t be homophobic or transphobic, look at all the LGBTQIA+ people he’s befriended.

“I’ve never cared about anyone’s race, religion, gender, or orientation,” Cawthon wrote. “I just treat people as people, everyone the same, and because of that, I’ve ended up with a very diverse group of people that I’ve worked with over the years.”

But like racism, the rampant homophobia and transphobia in this country is systemic. It is a vast network of laws and practices that work together to oppress marginalised groups. And because it is systemic, only systemic action can reverse it. That means passing laws that protect the rights of people of the LGBTQIA+ community. It also means not supporting the kinds of people that vote for laws that disenfranchise these communities. It doesn’t matter that Cawthon has so many diverse friends, because his donations enabled the continued oppression of those friends.

Here’s some greatest hits from his chosen candidates:

Mitch McConnell is proof turtles can do anything if they put their minds to it. (Photo: Tom Brenner, Getty Images) Mitch McConnell is proof turtles can do anything if they put their minds to it. (Photo: Tom Brenner, Getty Images)

This is Mitch McConnel. He’s the Republican senate majority leader, and the politician who received Cawthon’s largest donation, $US5,000 ($6,413) — almost twice as much as the next highest recipient. Just last week, McConnell said he opposed the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — a bill that seeks to expand voting access and to stop states like Georgia and Florida from imposing voter restrictions that predominantly affect people of colour. He’s also responsible for the confirmation of a number of anti-LGBTQIA+ judicial nominees.

Tulsi Gabbard's anti-trans bill seeks to deny trans athletes the ability to participate in high school or college sports. (Photo: Alex Wong, Getty Images) Tulsi Gabbard’s anti-trans bill seeks to deny trans athletes the ability to participate in high school or college sports. (Photo: Alex Wong, Getty Images)

This is Tulsi Gabbard. Gabbard is the lone Democrat on Cawthon’s list receiving $US2,500 ($3,207). In 2020, Gabbard introduced a bill that would make it illegal, “to permit a person whose biological sex at birth is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls.” The bill would effectively ban trans women and girls from participation in high school or college sports.

Ben Carson shucks and jives for his political masters. (Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images) Ben Carson shucks and jives for his political masters. (Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)

This is former Housing and Urban development secretary Ben Carson. In 2019, he and President Donald Trump tried to impose a rule critics said could have prohibited trans women from seeking refuge in federally funded women’s homeless shelters.

Donald Trump is a violent racist, homophobe, and transphobe whose policies have objectively made the lives of marginalised people worse. (Photo: Drew Angerer, Getty Images) Donald Trump is a violent racist, homophobe, and transphobe whose policies have objectively made the lives of marginalised people worse. (Photo: Drew Angerer, Getty Images)

And here’s Donald Trump. The former president who:

Tried to ban trans people from the military.

Tried to roll back healthcare protections for trans people

Tried to eliminate protections for LGBTQIA+ people from workplace discriminations.

Oh, he’s responsible for this too.

The Jan. 6 Capitol Riot, incited by Donald Trump, resulted in the death's of five people. (Photo: Samuel Corum, Getty Images) The Jan. 6 Capitol Riot, incited by Donald Trump, resulted in the death’s of five people. (Photo: Samuel Corum, Getty Images)

So while Cawthon could be the loveliest person that walked God’s earth, the fact that he willingly enabled, with thousands of dollars, the people directly responsible for making queer peoples’ lives objectively worse, undermines whatever his personal feelings are for his queer fans.

Cawthon was unapologetic and seemed unbothered that he might suffer negative consequences for his actions.

“If I get cancelled, then I get cancelled,” he wrote. “I don’t do this for the money anymore; I do it because I enjoy it.”

He also expressed that the outcry against him has made him consider retiring from video game development.

“If people think I’m doing more harm than good now, then maybe it’s better that I get cancelled and retire.”

He ended his statement reaffirming his love for the Five Nights At Freddy’s community writing, “I have always loved, and will continue to love, this community and this fanbase, even if someday it doesn’t include me anymore.”

But Cawthon’s declaration of love for his queer fans is in direct opposition to his actions, as such he can’t really claim to love them at all. That he does is a fundamental misunderstanding of how hate works in this country and his own culpability in it.

Comments

  • The old “I treat everyone the same!” excuse is getting old.

    If they treat you well in person while quietly helping people who hurt you, it just means they’re cowards on top of the other shittiness.

  • I unequivocally agree that Cawthon should not have to suffer threats to his family’s safety…But

    Wowee!

    • “Dogpiling a game dev is bad if they align with me politically, If they don’t, dogpiling is okay!” – Games journalism.

    • I’m so sick of this “It’s just a different opinion” argument. These people see the LGBTQIA+ community as “wrong” or “evil” and constantly try to use their political power to destroy lives and strip people of basic human rights. If your “opinion” is that a certain section of the community shouldn’t exist (usually due to your own shitty beliefs), then you’re human garbage and should be called out for it.

      • Politics don’t work that way, which you know if you had more than a buzzword fuelled interest in it. There’s plenty of different factions in left and right wing parties that all have different visions for how the party should behave and, guess what, that means not all Republicans have an issue with LGBT people and locally, not all Liberals hate LGBT people. If you were actually involved in politics in any comprehensive manner you’d know this to be the case, but you clearly don’t and so you’re spouting off black and white rhetoric that doesn’t exist in reality.

        • Who are you actually answering to? A strawman in your head? The person you are replying to didn’t mention parties. The article itself pointed out that there was Democrat among the bunch. People are being called out regarding what they’ve /done/ not their parties, so it’s quite telling that you are the one making it about parties.

          • “so it’s quite telling that you are the one making it about parties.”
            Awkward moment when you obviously didn’t read the very first paragraph.

            “The donation list was a who’s who of homophobic and transphobic Republican lawmakers including Tulsi Gabbard, Mitch McConnell, and Donald Trump.”

            Ash *made* it “about parties”, while also labelling Gabbard a Republican. I mean, sure, if you read a bit further she then states, “This is Tulsi Gabbard. Gabbard is the lone Democrat on Cawthon’s list.”

            Note how it says, “lone Democrat”. As in one, as in to back up the original claim of “a who’s who of homophobic and transphobic Republican lawmakers”

            Ash made it about parties. Gee whizz, you have a crack at someone for not reading the article in full, then you have shown yourself to do exactly that. *tsk tsk*

      • Funny how you’re happy for people to have the “right” to chop off their penis because they feel like it.

        Interesting also, because EVERY OTHER FORM of body dysmorphia is treated as a delusion. I mean… I don’t see people like you fighting for someone suffering from Body Integrity Identity Disorder to be allowed to have an arm amputated, on the taxpayer dollar (or even in this case, they can’t even get it done privately either) because “there is a mismatch between the mental body image and the physical body.”

        Spose they just aren’t the flavour of the month.

        • Funny that I do that? Isn’t it funnier that it’s the same people that go “no I won’t wear a mask and you can’t tell me what to do with my body!” The same that want to tell trans people and pregnant women what they can or cannot do with their bodies?

          • Yes, funny. Because I can guarantee that if someone said that they wanted/needed to have their spinal cord severed to become a paraplegic because having two functional legs causes their physical body doesn’t match how they feel on the inside and it causes them great distress, you would not encourage them to do such a thing and instead encourage them to seek help and treatment. So yes, funny.

            And no, the issue isn’t “you can’t”, the issues are, if you’re going to do something that at the end of the day, isn’t a natural thing 1) maybe wait until you’re at least an adult before pumping yourself full of hormones, etc and causing irreparable harm; and 2) Do it on your own dime, not the taxpayer’s.

        • Also answering to your other post because it cannot be replied to anymore: So there’s a mistake in the article, which the writer corrected later. Why should we draw our conclusions from the mistake instead of from the elaboration?

          • Let me re-iterate for you.

            “The donation list was a who’s who of homophobic and transphobic Republican lawmakers”

            You’ve literally just used the “I’m not racist cos I have a black friend” argument. Have a look at the donation list, Gabbard is the token Democrat.

            Ash made it about parties, specifically the Republican party. If she was being bipartisan (which, she clearly is not), she would look up prominent figures who donated to the very obviously racist, sexual predator and purveyor of young girls, current POTUS and call them out. Or the ones that donated to the publicly anti-Semitic, terrorist sympathisers. Or the ones that continue to donate to the one that faked her Indigenous heritage to get ahead in her career. But she didn’t. And she won’t. because they are all Democrats, and they get a pass for such things

  • “The donation list was a who’s who of homophobic and transphobic Republican lawmakers including…… Tulsi Gabbard”

    Somone needs a fact checker

  • Soooo…bullying people in to not bullying people? Yeah, that’s never actually worked in human history.

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