The ol' Fazbear Jumpscare in action.

The Creator of ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ Has Some Scary Politics

Freddy Fazbear is scary, but his creator’s political donations are scarier. Scott Cawthon is the creator of the landmark jump-scare horror game Five Nights at Freddy’s. The beloved game has gone on to become one of the industry’s most successful franchises.

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The spooky game, which is like Curse of Chucky meets Chuck-E-Cheese, is wildly popular among casual gamers and veterans alike, and is particularly adored by the LGBTQ community. You can imagine the heartbreak when fans found out that Cawthon had donated thousands of dollars to anti-LGBTQ Republican political candidates. In a statement to Reddit, Cawthon expressed his support for Donald Trump, saying he was “the best man to fuel a strong economy and stand up to America’s enemies abroad, of which there are many.”

Scott Cawthon has failed to understand what America’s evangelicals pretended to figure out a long time ago: Donald Trump is a bad dude. Maybe Cawthon got swept up in some of the more off-the-rails right-wing arguments in support of the former president? Or maybe he just wasn’t paying much attention? That’s a pity because many of his former fans are pissed.

Who created Five Nights at Freddy’s?

The game is the brainchild of Cawthon himself, who created and published the game entirely on his own. Before that, he developed Christian-based games that were blood-curdling, but unintentionally so. He got the idea for Five Nights at Freddy’s after receiving negative criticism for his game Chipper & Sons Lumber Co. The biggest criticism of the game was that the characters were terrifying due to their herky-jerky animatronic-like movements. He was initially discouraged but then decided to use his unintentionally horrifying game design skills to make something intentionally horrifying. And so, Five Nights at Freddy’s was born.

The plot of the game is this: the player takes control of a security guard named Mike, who has been hired to work the night shift at a spooky Chuck-E-Cheese-like restaurant called Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. A voicemail message from the previous security guard tells Mike that four of the animatronic characters in the restaurant come alive at night and wander around. If one of these animatronics finds a human after hours, it will think that the human is an animatronic skeleton without a costume and will attempt to fatally stuff that person into a spare Freddy Fazbear suit. The game is a point-and-click-style survival horror, where Mike attempts to survive the onslaught of the mechanical monsters.

The game quickly developed a cult following after its release and then went on to reach worldwide fame. The franchise has since spawned multiple sequels, a merchandise line, and a feature film adaptation. Things were going great for Cawthon until users on the internet found out that he had made donations to the Trump campaign. The backlash was swift, and in some cases, overblown.

Cawthon was doxxed, and he began receiving threats online. In a lengthy post on the FNAF subreddit, Cawthon defended his decision to donate to the Republican Party, saying that he did so “to support the candidates who [he] felt could best run the country.” He refused to apologize to the game’s fans, and to be fair, he shouldn’t have to. He is allowed to do what he wants with his money and support whichever candidate he believes in according to his First Amendment Rights. It’s simply a shame that many of those dollars came from LGBTQ folks who bought his games. To add insult to irony, Cawthon issued a statement of gratitude for the support he has received from the LGBTQ community, praising the “tremendous love” they have shown him.

Does Cawthon still own Five Nights at Freddy’s?

Cawthon recently announced that he would be retiring from designing games, leaving fans to question who would carry on the legacy of Five Nights at Freddy’s. After the success of the original game, Cawthon teamed up with game designers at Steel Wool Studios to develop sequels and spinoffs. After his retirement, Steel Wool Studios developed and released Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach. While it’s likely Cawthon now shares the game’s profits with Steel Wool Studios, it’s safe to say that he still retains the rights to the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise as an intellectual property. Similar to J.K. Rowling and Hogwarts Legacy, Cawthon doesn’t need to develop a game himself to make money off of it since he came up with the intellectual property.

Why did Scott Cawthon retire?

In his post to Reddit, Cawthon had this to say: “If I get canceled, then I get canceled. I don’t do this for the money anymore; I do it because I enjoy it. If people think I’m doing more harm than good now, then maybe it’s better that I get canceled and retire. I would accept that.” While it’s likely that the backlash against the developer was a contributing factor, he went on to say that his decision to retire was spurred on by a desire to focus on family. “I have SIX kids now,” he wrote to Reddit. “I want to focus my attention on them, focus on protecting them, and spend my time making things for them. I only ask that my fanbase respect my decision.”

In a statement on his website Scottgames.com, Cawthon further elaborated on his decision to walk away. “I realize that I miss a lot of things that I got to focus on before FNAF became such a success. I miss making games for my kids, I miss doing it just for fun, and I miss making RPGs even though I stink at it. All of this is to say that I am retiring.”

He added in his Reddit post that his retirement will not signal the end of the franchise, and that “Someone else will eventually be running the show. Someone of my choosing, and someone that I trust.” It’s likely this “someone” is a developer at Steel Wool, but no one knows for certain.

Soooooooo should I watch the Five Nights at Freddy‘s Movie, or …?

That is between you and whatever God, demon, or peer-reviewed study you pray to. Does spending your hard earned dollars on tickets for a movie created by a Trump supporter sit right with you, or no? And for once in my life, I’m not being sarcastic. I’m truly just asking. It’s a question that we all must ponder when attempting to navigate perhaps the most potent philosophical question of our age: “can you separate the art from the artist?” Some say yes, some say no. Some say that art and artist are irrevocably linked, never to be put asunder. Others say that once the art is made and released into the world, the art takes on a life of its own and can be divorced from its original creator as fans give the art new ownership.

If you’re still wrestling with this moral conundrum, allow me to make it easier for you by telling you what the critics have to say about this movie. The critical consensus? It’s TRASH. DOO-DOO. IF IT WAS A CONCERTO IT WOULD BE GARBAGIO FOR STRINGS IN FALLS FLAT MINOR. IGN dragged it. Rotten Tomatoes critics hated it. TikTok creators are coming out of the woodwork just to tell people to avert their eyes from this cinematic crime against humanity. So if you really wanna see it, maybe find a bootleg copy and give it a hate watch. There’s no reason to waste your money.

(featured image: ScottGames)


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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.