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Image: Scott Cawthon

"Five Nights at Freddy's" creator Scott Cawthon is defending his donations to top Republicans such as former President Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after backlash from fans.

Why it matters: "Five Nights at Freddy's" is a huge horror hit that's grown beyond a series of games to include novels and a planned movie adaptation.

State of play: On June 10, a Twitter user posted screenshots of Cawthon's donations to candidates including Trump, McConnell and Ben Carson. Cawthon claims to have chosen people who are "best for the job."

  • “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 wrote in a Reddit post.
  • “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," he wrote.
  • Critics, such as Kotaku's Ash Parrish, have pushed back, noting that racism, homophobia, and transphobia are system issues in the U.S.: "It is a vast network of laws and practices that work together to oppress marginalized groups. And because it is systemic, only systemic action can reverse it. It also means not supporting the kinds of people that vote for laws that disenfranchise these communities."

The big picture: Cawthon isn't the only developer to have his political donations critically examined.

  • Kotick has previously come under fire for his hefty donations to Republican candidates.
  • Backlash is part of a larger moment in which fans can choose to support creators in the biggest way they can: with their wallets.

Go deeper

MacKenzie Scott donates another $2.7 billion to 286 organizations

MacKenzie Scott with her former husband, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. Photo by Greg Doherty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

MacKenzie Scott announced Tuesday that she and her husband, Dan Jewett, had donated $2.74 billion to 286 different organizations, including community-based nonprofits and organizations focused on racial justice.

Why it matters: It's the next phase of what the New York Times describes as a "highly unconventional approach" to philanthropy from one of the richest women in the world.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker