Five Nights at Freddy's creator Scott Cawthon has confirmed a report that he made significant contributions to Republican political action committees and candidates including Devin Nunes, Ben Carson, Mitch McConnell, and Donald Trump, and said that he's prepared to "get cancelled" and retire from the Five Nights community if people believe that he's doing more harm to it than good.
Some of Cawthon's publicly available donation records were shared on Twitter on June 10, and can also be seen at opensecrets.org. It's Republican across the board, except for a $2,500 donation to Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, and along with a large slate of individual candidates also includes the WinRed PAC and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Reaction to the tweets was largely negative, particularly among members of the LGBTQ+ community, which makes up a significant portion of the Five Nights fan base.
The creator of Five Nights at Freddy's Scott Cawthon has been donating money to some of the most anti-LGBTQIA+ conservatives in America pic.twitter.com/ayN0jZNBEzJune 11, 2021
LGBT FNAF fans finding out Scott Cawthon is a republican: pic.twitter.com/XKcsQP1TGPJune 11, 2021
Scott Cawthon is not "just a republican". If you see thousands of $ in political donations as being "just a republican", you're being willfully ignorant.Direct contributions to those who actively support repressing people's rights is far more than "being of a different party"June 10, 2021
Cawthon acknowledged that disappointment in a message posted to Reddit earlier today, in which he confirmed that the donation reports are accurate.
"To say that the last few days have been surreal would be an understatement," he wrote. "I've debated greatly how best to address this, including not addressing it at all, but with so many people from the LGBT community in the fanbase that I love, that's not an option.
"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. My wife is six weeks pregnant and she spent last night in fear because of what was being said online. She has already been struggling with her pregnancy so seeing her so afraid really scared me. 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."
Cawthon said the candidates he supported included "men, women, white people, black people, republicans, and democrats," and he specifically defended his backing of Kimberly Klacik ("I believed that she really cared for the African American community there and wanted to pull them out of poverty") and Tulsi Gabbard, who he says he felt "would have been a good and fair president" even though he disagreed with her on specific policies.
He also commented on what is no doubt the most controversial part of the report, his support of then-president Donald Trump.
"I felt he was the best man to fuel a strong economy and stand up to America's enemies abroad, of which there are many," he wrote. "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."
Cawthon claimed to be supportive of creators regardless of their background, and said that as a result he's worked with "a very diverse group of people" over the course of his career. He said that's not going to change, but neither will his approach to other aspects of his life.
"I'm a republican. I'm a Christian. I'm pro-life. I believe in God," he wrote. "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.
"If I get cancelled, then I get cancelled. 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 cancelled and retire. I would accept that. I've had a fulfilling career. Besides, most things that people can take from you are things that never had much value to begin with."
While the immediate reaction on Twitter was largely negative, the response to Cawthon's post on Reddit has been very different. Many posters expressed gratitude for the Five Nights games and Cawthon's responsiveness to fans, and while there are some indications of disappointment, there seems to be virtually no interest in "cancelling" him. There are also a few comparisons to Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson, who was excised from his creation (after selling it to Microsoft for $2.5 billion) over multiple widely criticized posts on social media, and hopes that Cawthon won't suffer a similar fate.
"It's like Minecraft without Notch," one wrote about Cawthon's possible censure. "It's a huge hole in the community that we can't fill to this day."
The latest Five Nights at Freddy's game, Security Breach, is currently expected to be out in late 2021.
PC Gamer Newsletter
Sign up to get the best content of the week, and great gaming deals, as picked by the editors.
Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.