Legendary video game creator Scott Cawthon, who created the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” horror game franchise, announced last week that he was retiring after being outed — and then widely criticized — for being a pro-life Republican and donating to former President Donald Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and outsider Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI).
As The Daily Wire reported earlier in June, Cawthon was doxxed by online activists, and his political donations made public, leading to days of criticism across social media.
“Fans who searched for Scott Cawthon on Open Secrets, an index of public political contributions, noticed that the developer has made significant monetary contributions to a number of conservative politicians such as Senator Mitch McConnell and former President Donald J. Trump,” game news site GameRant reported. “With the huge popularity of the ‘Five Nights At Freddy’s’ series, a significant portion of the fanbase have taken to social media such as Twitter and Reddit to voice disappointment for Cawthon’s donations, and as a result, both he and ‘Five Nights At Freddy’s’ have been trending topics on Twitter for the past several days.”
GameRant’s writers said fans were “concerned and hurt to find out where the money Cawthon makes from the popular horror series is going” and called Cawthon’s donations, particularly to Gabbard, evidence of “transphobia” and “homophobia.”
Cawthon responded in a post to the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” subreddit, refusing to apologize for his beliefs and calling out his critics for their own intolerance.
“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, but there I was, trending on twitter for being a homophobe, getting doxed, with people threatening to come to my house,” Cawthon wrote. “All this because I exercised my right, and my duty, as an American citizen, to vote for and support the candidates who I felt could best run the country, for everyone, and that’s something that I won’t apologize for.”
“For those who took the time to look, you saw that the candidates I supported included men, women, white people, black people, republicans, and democrats,” he continued.
“I’m a Republican. I’m a Christian. I’m pro-life. I believe in God,” he added. “I also believe in equality, and in science, and in common sense. Despite what some may say, all of those things can go together. That’s not an apology or promise to change, it’s the way it’s always been.”
Last week, however, Cawthon announced that he was leaving the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” franchise — which has a new game due out later this year — and retiring from game development.
The new statement again makes no apology and, in it, Cawthon expresses gratitude for the support he’s received amid the controversy. He noted that he planned to retire so that he could focus on other pursuits.
“Now I’m approaching my mid-40s, I realize that I miss a lot of things that I go to focus on before FNAF became such a success,” he wrote. “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.”
“I only ask that my fanbase respect my decision. I will still be around, just not in the capacity that I used to be,” he said.
“Five Nights at Freddy’s” is widely regarded as one of the scariest video games ever produced. In it, the player takes on the role of a security guard for a Chuck E. Cheese-style pizza parlor, forced to protect and defend from the terrifying animatronic bear, Freddy, and his animatronic minions, who are possessed by the spirits of dead children, come alive and wander around the restaurant at night. Subsequent games take place at other pizza parlors. The forthcoming “Five Nights at Freddy’s” game — the tenth in the series — is reportedly set to take place at a modern-style entertainment complex.
Cawthon’s game has spun off something of a media empire, with novels, fan-made games, and an upcoming feature film.
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