Once a fandom gets big enough, it starts to develop a reputation. In the case of Five Nights at Freddy’s, the reputation isn’t necessarily a good one—and the creator of the series knows it.

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Yesterday, developer Scott Cawthon took to the Steam forums of Sister Location, and he explained why he takes umbrage with people who paint the entire fandom as “toxic.” As far as Cawthon is concerned, generalizations like that don’t paint a complete picture:

The truth is that EVERY fanbase has it’s “toxic” side, and that’s because every fanbase has a huge variety of ages, a huge variety of opinions, and a huge variety of maturities. There will always be people who irritate you, inside and outside of any fanbase. That’s not a fault of the fanbase, it’s a fault of people, and we’re all guilty.

Cawthon isn’t trying to handwave any and all criticisms about the FNAF fanbase, he knows that some are valid (if not overstated):

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But to those people who feel that they have valid criticisms of the fanbase, I would just say this: We know. We all know. We have all seen the bad fanart, the bad fan fiction, and the rest of the dark underbelly of the FNaF fandom that we wish we could forget before we close our eyes at night. But please don’t make the mistake of coming down on the fanbase as a whole, because then you are coming down on the overwhelming number of awesome members, the awesome fanart, the awesome theories, and the good conversations (and memes).

While Cawthon’s post was sparked by the politics of Steam forums, it’s also speaking to the wider negative perceptions and controversies surrounding FNAF fandom stigma.

Just recently, a video with over 3 million views by YouTube superstar PewDiePie described receiving intense backlash for refusing to act terrified at the constant jump scares in Sister Location. In Pewdiepie’s view, FNAF’s schtick is so overplayed, it just can’t scare him anymore:

“People got pissed because I was giving an honest feedback on [FNAF], but really people wanted me to just play it and fake being scared,” Pewdiepie said. “I realized, there’s no way for me to win by making a FNAF video.” In an effort to stop the onslaught, Pewdiepie ended up making the FNAF video private. Fans couldn’t handle that he was making fun of FNAF.

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It would be easy to look at that and say, boy, FNAF fans are the worst...but, judging from his forum post, I’m guessing that Scott Cawthon would rather you didn’t. As shitty as that YouTube situation is, the number of fans leaving angry comments is probably vastly overshadowed by the millions of FNAF fans who aren’t dicks.

That said, I’m curious: what horrors has the FNAF fandom inflicted on Scott Cawthon that he’d joke about wanting to forget? The world must know.