The Five Nights at Freddy’s film, released on Friday, had a stellar opening weekend grossing $78 million domestically and $130.5 million globally on a budget of only $20 million. The new Universal Studios film starring Josh Hutcherson is based on the video game franchise of the same name. The success of the film comes amid controversy around the franchise’s creator, Scott Cawthon. Cawthon, who is credited as a writer for the film, has made substantial donations to political campaigns, primarily to Republicans but also to former Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who quit the Democrat party in 2022.
An attempted smear campaign against Cawthon on X by now-suspended user @IAmGryphoneer has apparently failed. Tweets have shown screenshots of Cawthon’s political donations to Ben Carson, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and others. The X user called Cawthon a “Christian fundie [fundamentalist]” who supports “crypto-fash” politicians.
Following the smear campaign, Cawthon took to Reddit to explain his political views and reasons for contributing to conservative politicians. “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. Regarding his support for President Trump, Cawthon wrote “I supported President Trump, because 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.”
Cawthon’s Reddit post also expressed support for the LGBT community, which shows that he’s not exactly far-right. “Even if there were candidates who had better things [than Trump] 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 said. He also proudly proclaimed, “I’m a republican. I’m a Christian. I’m pro-life. I believe in God.”
The success of the Five Nights at Freddy’s film shows that moviegoers either don’t care about the political opinions of the beloved franchise’s creator or support them. While so many artists are quick to bend the knee to the cancel mob and Hollywood stars are afraid to express any right-wing opinions, Scott Cawthon is proving that standing by your principles comes with rewards beyond just financial success.
We saw a similar story play out earlier this year when the video game Hogwarts Legacy came out amid controversy around alleged “TERF” J.K. Rowling’s comments saying trans women are not real women. Like Cawthon, Rowling is not a far-right conservative, but she’s never backed down from her opposition to the trans agenda. Despite the controversy, Hogwarts Legacy has generated over $1 billion in retail sales and is currently the second-best-selling video game of 2023 behind The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
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