Hypocrite

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"Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue."
François de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680), French author and moralist

People - particularly those with authority, be it moral or political - are expected to act in a manner in accordance with the ideals they espouse. That is to say they should practice what they preach.

Not all who fail to live up to these standards are hypocrites. Some people may fervently and honestly believe what they say is right and good... they just don't have the moral strength or willpower to consistently live up to their own high standards. These aren't hypocrites. A hypocrite, by definition, only pretends to believe what he preaches, although the more self-aware among them may occasionally acknowledge (and/or attempt to justify) their situation with a Hypocrisy Nod.

Frequently, they will be found out. Be it an Engineered Public Confession or through investigation. The Hero may have the choice of either exposing them as a fraud and discrediting them before their followers, or keeping their secret and blackmailing them into cleaning up their act or helping in another matter. How this turns out depends on how sympathetic or Jerkass they are, and how humanizing their "vice" is (a diet guru eating donuts is probably ok, an eco-businessman clear cutting forests probably isn't, a moral crusader molesting children definitely isn't). If a villain finds a friend of the hero's Fatal Flaw this way (or worse, the hero's own), they might use Flaw Exploitation to torment and control them.

If found out and/or exposed, the hypocrite will have the chance to mend their ways and do a Heel Face Turn in one of two forms. Either loosening their standards and living a simpler but more honest and happier life, or tightening their belt and actually live up to their ideal. Failure to do either is usually enough for either a mental breakdown or a full on Face Heel Turn as they reject their morality and embrace their vice.

Alternatively, because they are feigning what they claim to be, they may find they are Becoming the Mask.

Heroes are often accused of hypocrisy by villains who want to believe they're Not So Different and brag At Least I Admit It. Heroes who actually are hypocrites tend to hear "What the Hell, Hero?" quite a lot. (Unless they don't.)

No real life examples, please; we'd be here all day.

Notable Sub-Tropes include:

  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: A group of people who won't act maliciously towards each other, but will be malicious towards everyone else, and thinks themselves advanced for behaving like this.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Characters who deal with the strange and bizarre on a regular basis are skeptical when they run into something strange and bizarre.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Someone who believes that all members of Group X are an inferior race/species... even though they are part of that group itself.
  • Broken Aesop: When a story itself doesn't mesh with the ideals it promotes.
  • Double Standard: For when one person or group would get a free pass of something that another person or group would be completely ridiculed for doing (and vice versa).
  • Hiding Behind Religion: When a character uses faith to mask hypocrisy.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: Acknowledging one's own hypocrisy.
  • Hypocritical Fandom: When fans call out the flaws of a rival franchise, and yet completely miss that their favorite franchise is guilty of many of the same shortcomings.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Standing up for someone because only you should be the one to mess with that someone.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Hypocrisy being played for laughs.
  • Moral Dissonance: A Karma Houdini who is portrayed as a hero.
  • Moral Myopia: When you do bad things, it's justified. When another person does bad things, it's an atrocity.
  • Never My Fault: A person who blames things on other people... who for added effect may be among the afflicted.
  • No True Scotsman: One makes a general statement, someone calls that person out on it with a counterexample, then that person redefines their original statement such that, by definition, the counterexample no longer counts.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: When parents chastise their children for doing the same things that they themselves did at their age.
  • Selective Obliviousness: When a character refuses to comprehend a particular fact.
  • Start X to Stop X: To fulfill some goal, the character does its exact opposite, or in fact intentionally start that.
  • Straw Hypocrite: A villain who does not believe their cause but uses it to advance their Evil Plan.
  • Two-Faced Aside: When a character says one thing to Person A but then immediately expresses the opposite sentiment to Person B in an aside.
  • You Are What You Hate: People hating others for the same traits they themselves have.
Examples of Hypocrite include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Akane Tendo from Ranma ½ says that it wouldn't be fair for Ranma and Akane to get married because she'd be emotionally crushed, but feels that it's alright for Ranma, Ukyo, and Kodachi to be emotionally crushed because it's not her.
  • In D.Gray-man, the Black Order is supposed to be the good guys, and represent light to battle the noah and akuma who have darkness based powers. and then we find out about fallen ones, heresy trials, the second exorcist project, the third exorcist project, and Apocryphos.
  • Leonard Tessarossa from Full Metal Panic!. He makes a big deal about how he's a perfect gentleman, and is shown to constantly get jealous and angry when people like Sousuke more than him, wondering why, since Sousuke is far less "cultured" and directly killed more people than him. Unfortunately, as much as he likes to think so, a gentleman he is not. No gentleman would (knowing how important it is to a woman) force a kiss on a girl who likes someone else, give the girl an Armor-Piercing Slap when she tells the other guy she loves him,just a matter of scale. or try to brainwash her so that she "won't resist him" any more (to the point where she eventually softly asks him if he "won't be violent" any more). Combining all this, there is a reason why Leonard is one of the most agreed upon Scrappies in the series.
  • Pokémon: Mewtwo wants to destroy humans because he hates them for cloning him. How does he go about this destruction? By making clones.
    • The dub changes his motivation, he wants to sever the link between humans and Pokemon simply because he thinks all humans treat Pokemon as tools. And of course he is using Pokemon as tools to accomplish this.
    • Played for laughs in the Best Wishes series: when Ash messes something up (sometimes by accident) or says something out of place, Iris would often call him a kid...even though SHE'S a kid herself! However, it's more like a sister teasing her brother than actual taunting.
  • Gundam Seed has Blue Cosmos. Their main goal is to kill all of the Coordinators, and how do they do it? By kidnapping children and conditioning them into Artificial Coordinators, which is the only way they could possibly stand a chance in 1 on 1 combat against ZAFT. It should be noted that the process used to create these "Extended", which involves drugs, mental conditioning, torture, and memory tampering is far, far more invasive than the process used to make Coordinators.
    • Gundam Seed Destiny: Shinn Asuka is horrified when he finds out about Stella's backstory as a Tyke Bomb, disobeys orders in order to save her, and is outraged when Kira Yamato cuts her down while she is rampaging through Berlin. In an earlier episode, Shinn had killed Stella's fellow Super Soldier and Tykebomb, Auel. In a later episode, he kills her other partner, Sting. In both cases, he is fully aware of who they are and what he's killing—and treats them like monsters who deserve to die.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 - Celestial Being, what with the whole fighting (and killing) to eradicate war. Don't they know that to be united by hatred is a fragile alliance at best? And some people actually wonder why there are those who were rooting for their enemies?
    • There was also a terrorist group called La Eden, who bomb numerous cities, their reason was to stop Celestial Being from their military interventions. They state that their actions weren't evil, however there actions hardly considered to be anything but evil.
  • L from Death Note, who tells Light that it is evil to murder outside the law, then proceeds to do a whole manner of illegal things to capture the 'evil' Kira, (including spying and kidnapping.) This goes to show that it is all just a matter of scale.
    • And of course there's Light himself. Ryuk tells him that even if he succeeds in killing all the evil people, he'll remain as the only evil person, and Light refuses to consider what he does evil.
    • Also Near, if Matsuda's theory that he wrote Mikami's name in the Death Note to verify it was real, thus enabling him to expose Light as Kira is true.
  • Heroic example: Otonashi successfully sends his friends that were in purgatory to find peace with themselves. He then tells Tenshi to stay with him in that place which pretty much while in-character, is pretty much infuriating due to the fact that their goal was to go away from that place. Thankfully, that didn't work out.
  • Father, the Big Bad of Fullmetal Alchemist loathed humans; his fondest desire was to see them punished for their arrogance. Yet his ultimate goal was to become a Physical God by consuming the real one. He got called on it, big time.
    • Also, according to Kimblee, Pride is this, as he insults humans and states his desire to steal Ed's body in the same breath. It's why Kimblee decides to help Ed.
    • Ed, Winry, and Al believe that Scar should be punished for the murders that he committed against Amestrians, but don't believe that Mustang, Hawkeye, and the rest of the Amestrian soldiers should be punished for doing the same thing to Ishvalans. Ed argues that the Amestrians were manipulated by the Homunculi, but Riza, one of the soldiers who fought in Ishval, does not believe that excuses them.
    • Scar can be considered this, as he, an Ishvalan, hates alchemy, but uses the deconstruction part of it to kill his targets. When he comes to terms with himself and realizes what he's doing is wrong, he gets a tattoo on his other arm and starts using alchemy.
    • Dante, the Big Bad of the 2003 anime adaptation, is also a massive hypocrite. She claims to be "above humans", just like her manga counterpart. At the end of the series, she gives Edward a big speech about how life isn't fair and that humans would destroy the world if they had the Philosopher's Stone. After her defeat, she whines about how her own efforts were ruined; moreover, she herself instigated nearly every atrocity in the past four centuries out of a desire for the Philosopher's Stone. Although she seems to believe her own bullshit to an extent, she mainly uses it as a means to excuse her colossal selfishness.
  • Rei from Highschool of the Dead. Put simply, she's a Tsundere. Put more descriptively, the first episode shows her as a kid saying she wants to be together with Takashi. Cut to the present and she's together with another guy. By the end of the episode, said guy is zombified and Takashi has to Mercy Kill. The episode ends with her angry at him but ultimately she decides to follow him to survive. And yet over the next episodes she switches between willing to follow him for their safety and blaming him for her guy's death, before ultimately getting together with Takashi.
  • Touga from Revolutionary Girl Utena fits this. He mistakenly believes his sister Nanami is a lesbian and gives her a lecture about why homosexuality is wrong. At this point, he's sleeping with Akio
  • Togainu no Chi: Akira becomes this at the end of the anime series. When he saves Rin from Shiki, he tells Rin to forget about killing Shiki because it's not worth it. Later on, Shiki kills Keisuke and Akira tries to kill him. Rin tells him the same thing. Akira doesn't listen to him at the end and returns to Toshima to kill Shiki.
  • Dragon Ball GT: Baby is a living DNA archive of the Tuffles, a race destroyed by the Saiyans. Baby, being the last of his kind, attacks Earth, where the remaining Saiyans are for Revenge. He establishes himself as king, recreates the Tuffle homeworld, and has just about everyone under his control. He goes on and on about how the barbaric, bloodthirsty, and cruel the Saiyans are. However, he seems to neither notice nor care that his actions make him Not So Different from the Saiyans, if not worse.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Admiral Gil Graham realizes that he is being a hypocrite by regretting having to seal a young orphan like Hayate away for eternity with the Book of Darkness (yet considering her ideal in a sense because few would mourn her), and providing for her until then for the sake of her happiness, which implies the belief that it would offset sacrificing her.
  • Suzaku from Code Geass preaches non-violence and systematic change, all the while serving in the very army causing the tyranny. It's a lot worse in the second season, where his primary plan to obtain Japan's freedom is to deprive everyone else of their freedom (if necessary) just so he can get a high-enough standing to claim Japan as his own.
    • Lelouch is a hypocrite, too, but the big difference between him and Suzaku is that he hold no illusions about that fact.
    • Ohgi believes that soldiers should not be used as pawns, which he holds to... until he uses Kallen to bait out his leader who he intends to turn over to Schneizel in exchange for Zero. Also, he contradicts his bitterness over Lelouch's disappearance during the Black Rebellion, both by his abandonment mid-season, and the aforementioned trade made without the UFN's consent that would have left its member nations abandoned.
  • In the fourth OVA of Hellsing, Rip Van Winkle opts to kill three British vampire turncoats for killing the crew of their aircraft carrier and handing it over to her. Earlier that same episode, she and her cohorts at Millennium betrayed and murdered a dozen aging former senior officers when they got angry at The Major for refusing to turn them into vampires.
  • Bleach's Aizen is a major one, despite being noted as a figure of fearlessness and doesn't depend on anyone the fight leading to his defeat has him using a literal plot device to save himself whenever he's about to die and his over-dependence on it results in it rejecting him once Ichigo (after a special training session) kicks him around town. He also tells Ichigo to abandon his arrogance, in spite of growing more obnoxious ever since his last fight so far.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Marion Keeny in Scarecrow: Year One calls her daughter a whore for having a child out of wedlock and suggests burying the (living) baby in the backyard, but the fact that her and her daughter's surnames are the same as that of Marion's mother implies that she may not have been married either.
    • Or they just kept their maiden names.
  • In Salvation Run, Gorilla Grodd mocks Monsieur Mallah's claims that they are similar and derides him as the uplifted pet of a Mad Scientist. Grodd conveniently fails to mention that he was uplifted by an alien Mad Scientist.


Fan Fiction[edit | hide]

  • In Naruto Veangance Revelaitons, Ronan frequently has sex with women besides Sakura (granted, he's married to Sakura, Taliana and Mandy, but it's still cheating when he has sex with Mei and Atni), but when Sakura has sex with Naruto, he becomes angry with her, and when she offers to cut off her vagina to prove that she loves him, orders her to do so. He also becomes angry when he senses Taliana sucking Madara's penis, but this is after he divorced her and thus forfeited his claim on her.
  • In Oh God Not Again, Harry (affectionately) thinks this when Sirius insists Snape should really let go of his resentment. Because Sirius himself is quite mature in those regards.
  • Many "Alternate Universe" Harry Potter fanfics have depicted Harry being Sorted into Slytherin instead of Gryffindor. In a distressingly large number of them, Harry becomes a pureblood bigot, subscribing to and even championing Slytherin House's philosophy condemning Muggles and Muggle-born wizards as inferior ... despite the fact that Harry's own mother, who sacrificed her life to save Harry's, was Muggle-born.
    • And that Harry himself is half-blood, not pureblood. Of course, Harry's only following in the steps of the original pureblood supremacist hypocrite, Voldemort, who is also a half-blood. (In fact, he's more half-blood than Harry. At least both of Harry's parents were magical. Tom only just barely qualifies by having two out of four magical grand-parents; his parents were a muggle and a squib.)

Film[edit | hide]

  • X-Men - Magneto in the first movie, who is willing to sacrifice Rogue but not himself in the advancement of his cause. Beautifully called out by Wolverine, who tells him: "You're so full of shit. If you were really so righteous, it would be you up in that thing."
    • In First Class, Shaw says that "We don't hurt our own kind." A few scenes later, he kills Darwin.
    • Charles uses "mutant and proud" as part of his pick-up lines, which are basically a very erudite variation on "you have pretty (insert trait here)", in the presence of his adopted sister, who has been actively discouraged by Charles from taking any pride in her mutation.
    • In the third movie a cure for mutation is discovered, and mutants are offered to take it voluntarily. Storm complains how it is wrong to even call it a cure since it implies that the mutation is a disease, and how mutants shouldn't shirk their powers. Right in front of her is a guy whose powers made him a subject of a horrible experiment, a girl who cannot even touch her boyfriened or else she kills him, and a furry blue guy, while Storm herself is a beautiful woman with control over weather.
  • Jigsaw/John Kramer from the Saw saga. A terminally ill cancer patient, he puts people in deadly traps for them to appreciate life. And if this is not hypocritical enough, hear this: in Saw III, Jigsaw preaches about giving up revenge, because it only hurts everyone. Yet the whole main Saw VI game is one big freaking revenge against the man who denied him coverage. A great example of such hypocrisy is the Hanging Trap, in which no matter who William chooses, an innocent will die.
    • The films also make a point about how Jigsaw is "technically" not a serial killer, as he does not directly kill anyone—a distinction about as convincing as dropping a safe on someone and then claiming the safe is guilty. In Saw III Jigsaw flat-out states that he despises murderers, which is why he turns on his protege` Amanda. Blatant Lies- in the first Saw alone the central character is basically given two ways out: kill his fellow captive, or cut through his own feet, and likely bleed to death. Amanda's own first test required her to find a key to her headlock deathtrap inside a mans stomach, and he even provided her with the knife (though the guy appeared dead at first, it turned out he was merely drugged). At the end of the film Jigsaw himself leaves Adam there to die, and he is dead because we saw the body in the next film. The sequels can be just as bad.
  • Little Big Man has Mrs. Pendrake, the wife of a fire-and-brimstone preacher who adopts Jack Crabb and tries to see to his moral and spiritual instruction. After he catches her having sex with a shopkeeper in town, he swears off religion for good and joins up with Snake Oil Salesman Mr. Merriweather. As Crabb puts it in his narration, "After Mrs. Pendrake, his honesty was downright refreshing."
    • Later in the film he discovers that she has become a prostitute following the death of her husband...but apparently hasn't changed her way of thinking. As she complains to Jack, "This life is not only wicked and sinful, it isn't even any fun. If I was married and could come here once or twice a week, it might be fun." She also admits that when Jack was living with her and the Reverend, she would watch him sleeping and be tempted to wake him up. "I wish that I had," she says. "It would have been deliciously wicked." Apparently Mrs. Pendrake is the kind of person who genuinely believes that certain activities are immoral...and gets off on them for precisely that reason.
  • Warden Norton in The Shawshank Redemption is one of the most hateful and finest examples in cinema. A man who claims to be a man of God but is incredibly corrupt and will resort to murdering his prisoners to get what he wants.
  • A comedic example occurs in Kelly's Heroes, in which Captain Maitland sternly admonishes his platoon about the consequences of looting in World War Two France while brazenly making off with a salvaged yacht. The irony is lost on him but not on his men.
  • Dr. Frank N. Furter from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. He sees no problem with people having random sex with one another... unless it's with Rocky. He cannot stand seeing anyone besides him with Rocky.
  • DuPont in Equilibrium has created utopia by forcing all citizens to take emotion supressing drugs and destroying artwork in case it stimulates unnecessary emotion. When Preston raids his office at the climax of the film, it's lavishly decorated with art that didn't get incinerated, and it's implied that DuPont and his second-in-command are sense-offenders who avoid taking the drugs.
  • Gran Torino: As a lot of RacistGrandpas, Walt regards himself as a man who knows plenty about life and dead, and who is abused by those (other races) surrounding him. Everyone else thinks is a Grumpy Old Man Jaded Washout Cranky Neighbor. The movie shows his Character Development from this to a realistic assessment of his qualities and weakness.
  • In Revenge of the Sith:
    • Anakin has Count Dooku at his mercy, and kills him with Palpatine egging him on. Anakin regrets the decision immediately afterwards, but Palpatine justifies it with "He (Dooku) was to dangerous to be kept alive." At the climax, however, when Mace Windu is about to kill Palpatine/Sidious, Anakin objects, and Windu explicitly says, "He's too dangerous to be kept alive!" The only difference is, Anakin chops off Windu's hand, allowing Palpatine to kill him.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Angel Clare oh so much in Tess of the D'Urbervilles. He poses himself as an intellectual man, which he is, and accepting of other classes. But it takes about a year of suffering in Brazil for him to realize that perhaps abandoning his bride Tess, just because she was not a virgin (by rape nonetheless!) was a cruel, cruel act.
  • Mr. Brocklehurst in Jane Eyre has the girls at Jane's boarding school, over which he is superintendent, fed meals lacking in nutritional value and given sleeping quarters that are less than fit for any humans, with the aim of teaching humility...yet his own children are comfortably clothed, housed and fed.
  • In the Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters are prejudiced against wizards with less than pure wizarding blood and non human magical creatures in general despite he himself having a muggle parent. While he's counting on the anti-Muggle feelings of his followers, he genuinely despises Muggles and anything he considers Mud-blood—and he apparently has a one drop rule for everyone except himself and personal Death Eaters like Snape. While they also recruited Giants and Werewolves, they probably rationalized them as second and third tier "citizens" in Voldemort's new England.
    • It was suggested a few times that he was exploiting the prejudices of his own followers more than enforcing his own, and that he really didn't care about anything but his own power anymore. Voldemort's own half-blood status was one of the reasons he started going after power. He considered his father to be lowly and weak and cowardly for turning away his mother and was determined to ignore his own history and go with wanting power.
    • And then we have Umbridge. Although fans have a lot of reasons to hate her with relish, her hypocrisy is certainly one of the main ones. In her introductory book, she is seen as an agent of the Ministry, sycophantic to its causes and forcing tyrannical laws onto the school in order to get her own way, yet at the same time, she gleefully (although secretly) engages in activities that are highly illegal and certainly unforgivable, even by the Ministry. In the final book, she persecutes Muggle-borns for "stealing magic" which she should certainly know is a nonsensical charge, while claiming that the locket she took as a bribe is an old family heirloom supporting her own bloodline. The injustice and cruelty of this enrages Harry so much that he attacks her immediately without resorting to a more subtle plan.
  • Sinclair Lewis' Elmer Gantry is a classic of the type. Although with a goodly amount of Snake Oil Salesman thrown in. It's hard to think of a Sinclair Lewis novel that wasn't populated almost to the point of exclusivity with these.
  • In G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday, Syme discusses poetry with some examples from health and sickness.

"Really," said Gregory superciliously, "the examples you choose--"
"I beg your pardon," said Syme grimly, "I forgot we had abolished all conventions."

    • Later, when Gregory has brought Syme to an anarchist stronghold, and Syme has revealed that he is a policeman (both under The Promise to not reveal the information), Syme makes a fire-breathing anarchist speech. Gregory calls him a hypocrite. Syme says he is only doing his duty.
  • Elizabeth Wakefield in Sweet Valley High. Frequently criticized or looked down on Jessica for being snobby and stuck-up, yet never realized that she was doing the exact same thing. Insisted and practically demanded that HER friends be given a second chance and insisted that people could change for the better, yet always refused to give JESSICA's friends the same consideration.
  • Max Beerbohm's The Happy Hypocrite And why is he happy? Because he became the mask. Literally.
  • Henry Crawford of Mansfield Park claims to be a Ladykiller in Love with the heroine, yet has no problem running off with her cousin after proposing to her and considering them engaged; fancies himself a Prince Charming who wants to make Fanny Price happy, yet deliberately averts I Want My Beloved to Be Happy because, truthfully, It's All About Me. In contex, even he has no idea how contradictory his statements and actions are.
  • In The Diamond Age hypocrisy is examined by several characters, notably Finkle-McGraw and Napier.

"We take a somewhat different view of hypocrisy,” Finkle-McGraw continued. “In the late-twentieth-century Weltanschauung, a hypocrite was someone who espoused high moral views as part of a planned campaign of deception-he never held these beliefs sincerely and routinely violated them in privacy. Of course, most hypocrites are not like that. Most of the time it’s a spirit-is-willing, flesh-is-weak sort of thing.”
“That we occasionally violate our own stated moral code,” Major Napier said, working it through, “does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code.”

  • There's a very subtle example in The Lord of the Rings (which is explained outright in Unfinished Talesof Numenor and Middleearth). Saruman openly berates Gandalf for his use of tobacco, but in private, in an attempt to imitate Gandalf, becomes addicted to pipeweed himself. Note that in the movie, Saruman says, "Your love of the halflings' leaf has clearly slowed your mind" but Merry and Pippin find several large barrels of tobacco in Saruman's home later on.
  • Knight Templar Claude Frollo of The Hunchback of Notre Dame believes that Sex Is Evil and that his chastity makes him better than everyone else and that gypsies are sinful pagan scum. Then he falls in lust with Esmeralda, a gypsy dancer.
  • Julien Sorel in The Red and The Black idolizes Napoleon and dreams of being a war hero. But he figures he can earn both social status and a good income by becoming a priest, so he pursues that unsuitable vocation, fully aware of his hypocrisy.
  • In the Everworld series, Senna tries to give David, Jalil, April, and Christopher to the local Complete Monster, Hel. After the whole thing is said and done, they all give Senna crap for it, but she brushes it off with a really weak I Did What I Had to Do type excuse. Five books later, Senna's mother tries to give Senna to Merlin in order to make it so that Loki, Ka Anor, and the other gods can't use her as a Gateway and invade the real world. Senna completely loses her composure.
    • Later, David notes (in his narration) that while Senna believes that she can do anything to anyone, she also believes that anything done to her is unforgivable, and that this should not come as a shock to anyone.
    • That's because from Senna's viewpoint, It's All About Me, and everyone else is, at best, a tool or servant for her use.
  • The Pharisees from The Bible. They adamantly enforce Old Testament law yet they broke a lot of rules so they can have Jesus arrested.
  • In Death: Principal Mosebly is revealed to be this in Innocent In Death. She claims to stand for the school and it's best interests. However, it turns out that she was not only aware that one teacher Reed Williams had been having sex with the parents of schoolchildren and engaging in sexual harassment, but she had sex with him in the pool and in her own office! She only took steps to have him resign when she found out that he had rape drugs in his possession and that he was the prime suspect of murdering a teacher in the school. Peabody refers to her as a Hypocrite at one point.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: Well, now! Prosecutor Jack Emery tries to have the Vigilantes arrested...at least until the book The Jury. There he was, practically spewing about how lawbreakers should be punished, and yet he never seems to notice that he broke a thousand laws himself in trying to arrest the Vigilantes. Indeed, several authority figures pretty much turn into this in helping the Vigilantes, and said authority figures eventually resign from their posts. Double Standards rear their ugly heads more than once, by showing that men mistreating women is a terrible thing and that women mistreating men is a great thing. The books Deja Vu and Home Free show the consequences of this.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Andre Drazen in 24 tells Ira Gaines "when plan A fails, you move onto plan B. You don't do plan A recycled". What is the Drazens' plan for assassinating David Palmer later on if not "plan A recycled"?
  • The Cylons in Battlestar Galactica have the distinction of being one of many "alien"/Robot races in Sci Fi who engage in Cultural Posturing over their superiority to humanity while engaged in genocide. They got called on it a few times too, with their assertions of humans deserving extinction for being flawed, sinful and evil being refuted with "you call us evil? You committed genocide on my race!" (paraphrased). To their credit, the hypocrisy of their endeavor hits them around the end of season 2, culminating in a disastrous military occupation to "make amends" over their crimes. It helps to understand the situation that it was not their creators' intent to do so, but the result of a Psycho Prototype getting control of things. That said, in BSG Humans Are the Real Monsters is an understatement, which goes a long way to explain why it keeps happening.
    • The Cylons are hypocrites in an even worse manner, actually. Cylons rebelled against man to punish them for their enslavement and the crimes committed against them. The humanoid Cylons promptly improved their ability to enslave Centurions and even went so far as to lobotomize their own brethren to keep them under control.
  • Serena on Gossip Girl. Standing there saying "My entire life I've been bending over backwards to avoid hurting your feelings!" to Blair when two years before she'd slept with her boyfriend and then abandoned her without a single word for a year while Blair's parents went through a public, traumatic divorce. And before that, Serena regularly showed up at Blair's house wasted and had to be taken care of by her.
    • Compounded as of Season 4. In S1, it took Blair two-and-a-half episodes to get over the fact that her best friend Serena had slept with her boyfriend of five years, and Serena acted like that was too long. In S4, it took Serena longer than that to forgive Blair for kissing her ex-boyfriend. Way to be worse than the Alpha Bitch, Serena. Did we mention Serena's supposed to be the nicest girl on the show?
    • The Gossip Girl character who really takes the cake is Dan Humphrey. "Humphrey levels of hypocrisy" is an actual term among the show's fandom. He's a serial cheater who judges other characters if they cheat. He's always critical and judgmental of the UES characters when they plot and scheme even though Dan himself does so every other episode. He judges the UES characters for their lifestyle yet happily lives off their money and enjoys the benefits of their riches. The list goes on and on and on... Basically, he's the guy who claims he has high morals and constantly judges the other characters when they fail to live up to those morals even though Dan himself is just as bad as the rest of them.
  • CSI - A suicide cult leader is found murdered outside the compound with his dead followers inside. It turns out that he was a con man, and that this was not his first suicide cult. He was murdered by a devoted follower when she discovered him loading up the cult's collected possessions in preparation for fleeing. He'd planned to simply drug the followers so they'd wake up in the morning, but the follower went all the way but lacked the conviction to kill herself.
    • In another episode we see a pimp giving a speech about breaking the bonds of slavery, where in the same episode the postitutes are kidnapped, raped, emotionally and physically abused, branded as cattle, traded and "cattle rustled" and then either killed or thrown out on the street with no means to support themselves.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise had John Paxton, the leader of the xenophobic Earth organization Terra Prime. He had unwavering dedication to his cause, and was willing to scorch half of San Francisco to make his demands known. Considering this was after a devastating alien attack, their concerns about an alien alliance had some validity. T'Pol deduced from a trembling hand that Paxton had a genetic disorder, one that should have killed him when he was a teenager, but didn't because of "freely given" alien medical technology. Paxton will only admit that he's not the first leader to fail to live up to the standard of an idol (in his case, a mass murderer from Earth's post WW 3 period), and refuses to back down. This fact exposed him as a man who was just racist.
  • iCarly aired the episode iStart A Fan War, which ended with an dual Author Filibuster (as it was directed against a group of in-universe fans but also aimed at the real life fandom by the writer Dan Schneider) against Shipping. The next episode filmed had a huge change in the Shipping makeup and basically created a Love Triangle.
  • ER's Kerry Weaver and Mark Greene, who frequently made people's lives hell if they even thought about bending or breaking the rules, yet never had any problem bending or breaking the rules themselves. Kerry also made people's lives hell for the slightest of screw-ups, yet almost always acted as if her own screw-ups were no big deal.
  • One of the main reasons why Kate from Robin Hood was so hated. She would complain loudly whenever Allan or Much went out of their way to save her life, at one stage yelling at them: "I'm sick of you two trying to protect me! You have to concentrate on the mission!" Yet in the very next episode, she interrupts not one but two missions in order to pursue her romantic interest in Robin, first by bestowing a Forceful Kiss on him, and later by asking Much to act as a proxy for getting her and Robin together. Much is so upset by this that he's distracted during combat and loses the treasure that the outlaws were trying to steal. So it's not okay for Much or Allan to endanger missions in order to bail Kate out of trouble, but it's perfectly fine for Kate to do so just because she has the hots for Robin.
    • There's also the fact that her Clingy Jealous Girl personality makes her immediately dislike Isabella and insist that she's not trustworthy, when in her first appearance Kate deliberately betrayed Robin in order to secure the safety of her brother. To make matters worse, Isabella was fully on the outlaws' side until Robin breaks up with her on Kate's insistence that he shouldn't trust her.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Captain Picard is thoroughly appalled when a scientist seeking vengeance against the Crystalline Entity uses the Enterprise to kill it with a continuous graviton pulse. He notes that communication between the Entity and humanoids was possible and they may have been able to negotiate with it, but didn't seem to want to extend this courtesy to the parasite queen in "Conspiracy", who he destroyed while displaying as much or more disgust. Keep in mind that the Crystalline Entity destroyed two entire planets that we know of, while the extent of the parasite invasion only seemed to affect a few dozen or so people.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Cardassians led a brutal occupation of Bajor, and are later themselves occupied by the Dominion. It leads to this exchange between Damar (a Cardassian) and Kira (a Bajoran) when Damar learns the Dominion has executed his family:

Damar: To kill her and my son... the casual brutality of it... the waste of life. What kind of state tolerates the murder of innocent women and children? What kind of people give those orders?
Kira: Yeah, Damar, what kind of people give those orders?

    • Doubly hypocritical given Damar himself has casually murdered an unarmed woman (Ziyal). She might, by her own admission, have been an enemy of the state, but at the time she was no threat and could have easily been subdued.
    • Notably, this is actually part of his character development. Damar towed the line under Dukat and the Dominion, slowly being driven to rebel after seeing his people be pushed to the sidelines and sacrificed needlessly. It is this quote which helps him to realize what Cardassia was, and why it needs to change.
    • Gul Dukat became a leader of a Pah-Wraith cult, and tried to lead them in a mass-suicide. While holding their suicide pills, Kira tried to stop them and bumped into Dukat and the pill he was holding became scattered with a few hundred others. The cult got Kira under control but Dukat was frantically looking for the pill he had. Everyone realized that his pill was a fake; he wasn't planning on committing suicide at all. Needless to say, his influence on the cult fell apart pretty quickly.
  • In Angel the Scourge are an organization of demons dedicated to wiping out other demons who are part human. However, pure blood demons are at least 60 feet tall, not even remotely human looking, and are known to have possessed abilities like soul-eating, time manipulation, interdimensional portal opening, and plant speaking. Whereas the Scourge pretty much look like humans with skin nailed to their faces, and demonstrated maybe slight super strength. Seeing as they're all the same race, it appears as though they arbitrarily decided that their race were true demons and went after demons known to be Half Human Hybrids. If the Old Ones ever did show up the Scourge would undoubtedly have found themselves lumped in with all the rest.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation: Emma Nelson has done so many hypocritical things during her years on the show that she could be the Trope Namer.
  • A deliberate and fascinating example is King Uther from Merlin. After his wife's death he outlaws magic and brutally executes anyone who is even suspected of witchcraft. However, when his foster daughter who we learn in the same episode is actually his biological daughter is fatally wounded, he asks his physician (who he knows has magical skills) to save her by any means necessary.
    • The reason he hates magic in the first place is because he made a deal with a sorceress to concieve a son with his barren wife. Furthermore, he describes his deceased wife as "my soul" and yet we later find out that he had an affair with his best friend's wife, and that (as he says to his son) "I know about the temptations of serving girls."
  • A notable example from Noah's Arc is when Noah enters a sex party to try and find Ricky, and a guy tries to aggressively flirt with him. Malik immediately steps in and tell him to back off, and that no means no. He then immediately proceeeds to flirt with Noah even more aggressively, as Noah says no.
  • In Community episode Basic Genealogy Amber points out that Pierce is a hypocrite for saying who she can and can't have a relationship while having left Amber's mother for another women himself.
  • Dan Humphrey and Vanessa Abrams on Gossip Girl. They spend half their time judging the UES kids for the things they do and the other half of their time doing the exact same things as the UES kids. In season four Dan even told his sister Jenny she would be better off leaving Manhattan because she sunk to Chuck and Blair's level by scheming against them, and in the very next episode Dan himself schemed against Chuck and Blair.
  • While it isn't done on purpose, Kurt from Glee is a huge hypocrite. During the first season, he comes out of the closet and starts to get used to living as an out gay man, and he begins to assert that he was born gay, and that he can't change who he is for someone else...but at the same time, he tries to seduce Finn, who happens to be decidedly straight. Despite his own opinion that he is who he is and that that can't change, he constantly tries to get close to Finn and keeps telling Finn that girls are all catty and troublesome, and that he should go out with boys instead - in other words, he tries to turn Finn gay. The second season has Kurt act like a hypocrite as well - Despite Kurt's talks about how important LGBT rights are and gay visibility, the second that Blaine confesses that he might be bisexual, Kurt has a huge rant about how bisexuals don't exist, and how they're all "gays who are too afraid to come out completely".
    • Blaine makes a big deal of having a sexy performances for Regionals (to the point of forcing Kurt to make sexy faces in the mirror) in Season 2's episode "Sexy", yet in "Hold onto Sixteen" he slut shames Sam for suggesting that they do the same thing
  • Pretty much everybody on Smallville from Clark and Lana to Lionel Luthor. The worst example, however, has to be Lex, who constantly bitches about Clark keeping his secret from him, while simultaneously keeping an army of skeletons (all of them far, far darker than Clark's) in his own closet.
  • In The Vampire Diaries Elena tries to convince Anna and Jeremy to stop seeing each other by arguing that she can't age or have children and so their relationship can't have a future ( Anna's a ghost, so there are other arguments she could have made, but those are the ones she went with). She then immediately returns to work on getting her eternally 17 vampire boyfriend back. To make things worse, Elena explicitly doesn't want to become a vampire, while Jeremy has previously been open to it, making the immortality issue more of an issue for her.
  • On a third-season episode of Friends, Carol expresses disapproval when she finds out that Ross cheated on Rachel (although Ross insisted that it wasn't cheating because they were "on a break" at the time). This, despite the fact that Carol actually slept with Susan while she was still married to Ross. Nobody, not even Ross, seemed to find it hypocritical that Carol was taking Ross to task for doing something that she had previously done to him.
  • Ally Mc Beal / The Practice : In a two-part crossover episode, one of Cage & Fish's clients is arrested for murder. Deciding that the case is out of their firm's league, John Cage enlists the help of Bobby Donnell and his firm. However, after seeing how wacky the Cage & Fish lawyers are, Bobby secretly goes to the client and advises her to discharge Cage & Fish and hire Bobby's firm as her sole representation. When Bobby asks the client to trust him, she raises an eyebrow and points out that Bobby is asking her to trust him at the same time that he is betraying somebody else's trust. Bobby has no real response to this, and later goes to Cage & Fish and admits what he'd done.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Jay-Z put "Death of Auto-Tune (D.O.A.)" on an album with several Auto-Tuned hooks. Jeez.
  • Several songs on Michael Jackson's HIStory have him railing against injustice and persecution, both of people at large and himself specifically, as he was being hounded by the mass media at the time over child molestation allegations. In "Childhood", a key lyric is "Before you judge me/Try hard to love me"—i.e., don't be so quick to condemn based on assumptions. On the same album is "D.S.", a song about Tom Sneddon, the district attorney who ultimately headed up both of the investigations of Jackson's behavior with children. Sample lyric: "You think he brother with the KKK?/I know his mother never taught him right anyway"...what was that about judging people again, Mike?
  • The folksinger Phil Ochs loved to ridicule this trope from any side of the political spectrum. "Draft Dodger Rag" is about a red-blooded conservative who's all for that war in Vietnam, so long as he doesn't have to go himself, while "Love Me, I'm A Liberal," is about someone who pays lip service to every left-wing cause until it becomes dangerous, distasteful or personally uncomfortable. ("The people of old Mississippi/ should all hang their heads in shame,/I can't understand how their minds work./ What's the matter, don't they watch Les Crane?/But if you ask me to bus my children/ I hope the cops take down your name ....")


Theatre[edit | hide]

(Ragueneau goes after his friends. Cyrano follows him with his eyes, then, rather sharply): Ho there! Lise!
(Lise, who is talking tenderly to the musketeer, starts, and comes down toward Cyrano):
So this fine captain is laying siege to you?
Lise (offended):
One haughty glance of my eye can conquer any man that should dare venture
aught 'gainst my virtue.
Cyrano: Pooh! Conquering eyes, methinks, are oft conquered eyes.
Lise (choking with anger): But—
Cyrano: (incisively): I like Ragueneau well, and so—mark me, Dame Lise—I permit not that he be
rendered a laughing-stock by any. . .
Lise But. . .
Cyrano: (who has raised his voice so as to be heard by the gallant): A word to the wise. . .
(He bows to the musketeer, and goes to the doorway to watch, after looking at the clock.)
Lise (to the musketeer, who has merely bowed in answer to Cyrano's bow): How now? Is this your courage?. . .Why turn you not a jest on his nose?


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In Megaman Battle Network 4, Duo seeks to destroy the earth because humans are wicked. For some reason, the morality of destroying an entire planet is never brought up, despite being painfully obvious to the player.
  • Fate/stay night - Saber, who is basically female Shirou with less delusions, as a heroic example. Archer is the one to call her out on her treatment of Shirou's ideal by pointing out that her wish is the same as his only 'more so.' Tohsaka also realizes she cannot really lecture Shirou anymore when she finds herself making the same kinds of choices and is unable to kill Sakura, despite the cold pragmatic value that doing so would have.
  • Francis McReary from Grand Theft Auto IV the Deputy Police Commissioner of Liberty City, who honestly believes that his status and position automatically make him a morally just person and acquits him of any crimes that he commits. You quickly see past this facade when he orders you to gun down people by the dozens in order to hide his corruption and more importantly, when he orders you to gun down his own brother to save his career.
  • Some accuse Yuri Lowell from Tales of Vesperia of this. In-universe, Flynn calls him out on it and stats that he is very close to Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. Out of universe, the debate is close to reaching Internet Backdraft levels. What most people forget, however, is that Yuri makes a Hypocrisy Nod:
  • Ace Attorney - Franziska von Karma constantly refers to people by their full names. When she is called by her first name, she says that calling people by their full names is rude. Like father, like daughter, at least in regards to hypocrisy. Case four of Investigations has a great example of this:

Manfred: There shall be no yelling in this sacred hall of law! [Coupled with a loud cane slam and the sound effects denoting yelling.]

  • Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice has Super Hero Aurum is a gigantic hypocrite. He kills a nice guy, imposes as a loyal butler, and messes up the next two hundred years of Mao's life to raise him as a cruel and wicked overlord, and all so he (Aurum, that is) could have a truly evil villain to fight. He even abuses his number one fan with a death curse while the poor lad remains painfully oblivious to the fact his mentor betrayed him up until the last moment. By the time Mao turns things around (if he does turn things around), the entirety of his party is more than ready to tear him a new one for committing hypocritically evil acts on such a grand scale.
  • The Ascalonians of Guild Wars, and particularly Gwen, decry the Charr for destroying their country and killing most of them. Unfortunately, they then go on to try to commit genocide against the Charr. Since the RPG elements of Guild Wars Nightfall are gone by EotN, the player has no real choice but to go along with it.
  • BioShock (series) series.
    • BioShock's Andrew Ryan founded the underwater city of Rapture to be an Objectivist utopia, where personal freedom and self-advancement were valued above all else. However, Ryan's desire to keep his city an Objectivist utopia eventually led to him taking dictatorial control over the city to prevent it from falling into the hands of his (much more competent) competition... exactly the way his own theory said it ought to. On the other hand, said competition was also a crime boss and Rapture would likely been a dictatorship under him anyway, so YMMV.
    • BioShock (series) 2 has Sophia Lamb, who is even worse than Andrew Ryan. She is an extremely outspoken collectivist who preaches that man needs to ignore his selfish desires to advance the greater good (the exact opposite ideals of Ryan). Yet many of her actions are essentially pushing her own beliefs onto others, diverting blame away from herself, refusing to admit she might be wrong, and rarely listens to other's ideas. This makes her a very self centered and biased woman who has a superiority complex with the very flaws she preaches against. Granted, she admits that she is flawed and has biases, yet she remains blind to how contradictory her words and her horrible actions really are.
  • Kreia of Knights Of The Old Republic II will talk about how arrogant and closed minded the Jedi are and how they should be more open to other people's ideas. Of course, if you then point out flaws in her philosophy, she'll dismiss you as incapable of understanding it.
    • In addition, Kreia despises The Force and those who are dependent on it, and seeks to destroy it. However, all of her attacks are dependent on the Force, and she's too physically frail to fight otherwise. If the player calls her on this, she claims that it's because being intimate with the Force gives greater insight on how to destroy it. But to her credit, she does concede that the player makes a good point, and may very well be right.
  • Khalisah bint sinan Al-Jilani in Mass Effect has shown an extremely strong pro-human and anti-alien bias from Shepard's conversations with her in both games, so it may come as a surprise to see her kissing and embracing an asari in a few select data files in Lair of the Shadow Broker.
    • And then, there's the coup de grace of this universe: the asari, the most technologically advanced Council race. They make a law stating that anyone who withholds Prothean technology will be fined severely and the tech will be taken from them, with extreme force if necessary, so it can be shared with the galaxy at large. Then the third game reveals that they have possibly the only intact Prothean beacon in existence. Obviously, this gives them a massive advantage, especially considering they've had it since their Stone Age and hid it in an ancient temple.
    • Harbinger derides the asari as inferior for relying on other species to reproduce. Guess what the Reapers need to make more Reapers?
  • In Dragon Age, almost everyone says that blood magic is evil, including the mages in the party and the Player Character if the player so chooses. Despite this, all mage characters in the party may learn the Blood Mage specialization. They will continue to declare its evilness.
    • In Dragon Age 2 Knight-Commander Meredith sees magic as a curse, and mages as a major threat to her city who must be contained at all costs. So she uses an ancient magical artifact to give herself magical superpowers and animate statues to indiscriminately attack people in the final battle.
    • The same could be said about Anders, who accuses her of going too far in her treatment of mages as dangerous people, yet he proves just how dangerous and obsessed he himself is - ask the people in the Chantry he blew up. Not exactly the strongest point in making mages seem like all the other people.
  • Caesar in Fallout: New Vegas frowns upon any form of weakness in his soldiers, including over-dependence on technology, and the only medicine he allows his soldiers to use is healing powder (a simple concoction of medicinal herbs). However, he keeps a broken Auto-Doc in his tent and, if the courier sides with him, commands the courier to fix it so it can cure him of a brain tumour. Plus his Elite Mooks get to use more technologically advance weapons than the lower ranking members.
  • Isamu in Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne intends to create Musubi, a world of complete isolation in which all beings are self-reliant and allowed to pursue their own goals without any interaction with each other. He has to rely heavily on the Demi-fiend in order to bring about this vision.
  • Pokémon Black and White has Ghetsis, who claims N is a freak without a human heart, when it was Ghetsis who was manipulating N the whole time. N is his son. Cheren and Alder do note this, though. N was only trying to do what he felt was right, but Ghetsis is a self-serving monster.
    • We also have Team Plasma in general who fight for the freedom of Pokemon while at the same time abuse the Pokemon they catch when nobody's looking.
  • Sylvanas Windrunner in World of Warcraft makes a big deal over how she and her followers the Forsaken were raised as undead against their will and forced to serve the Lich King. The moment she gains access to the power to create new Forsaken, she sets about a campaign of murdering every human in the Eastern Kingdoms to raise as new Forsaken who are forced to serve her.
  • Federal Agent Edgar Ross constantly derides John Marston about how Marston was (and, as Ross sees it, still is) a criminal, never letting up on how morally superior he is because Marston kills people. Although, Ross never seems to make the connection that Marston is only killing people now because Ross has taken his wife and son hostage and is forcing him to hunt down the members of his old gang. And whats more, it was Ross' job to bring in those men, so he's basically having Marston do his job for him. And then, when Marston has fulfilled his end of the bargain and goes back to living peacefully on his ranch with his family, Ross sends the army to kill them anyway.
  • In Final Fantasy X the Church of Yevon preaches that all machina (advanced technology) is blasphemous and the reason for Sin's existence. Yet they have no compunctions with using machina weapons themselves. Learning this is essentially the final straw that causes the party to lose all faith in the church.

Wakka: These machines are abominations against Yevon!
Seymour: Then pretend you didn't see them.
Wakka: ...That's not something a maester would say!
Seymour: Then pretend I didn't say it.

  • In Shin Megami Tensei I, the Chaos Hero (one of the main hero's companions) leaves the group after defeating his nemesis Ozawa, since now that he's finally acquired real power, you'll just hold him back and slow him down. Nevermind that you've carried him for most of the game until this point, saved him, helped him get out of the afterlife and back to the living world, AND that his precious new power stems from him stealing your most powerful demon and fusing with it.
  • The dwarves in Chrono Cross hate humans for their genocidal, polluting ways. They also commit genocide against the faeries and fight using filthy, smoke-spewing tanks. That the game doesn't recognize the contradiction here is one of the major dividing points in its fanbase.

Web Comics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Brian in Family Guy has a nasty tendency to be a huge hypocrite. He claims he likes women for their personalities but we only ever see him dating bimbos, and even then only in short-term relationships. He has plenty of liberal opinions but we never see him DO anything about them. He has no obvious job and just leeches off the Griffin family. He drinks and smokes quite heavily. In "Dial Meg For Murder" he voices his opinion that the prison system has turned the innocent Meg into a hardened criminal but it's obvious that nobody, including him, went to visit her during the three months she was in prison. Quagmire eventually calls him out on how he really can be a prick. Glenn points out he himself has plenty of problems, but at least he admits them.
    • The fact that Quagmire gave that speech at all is completly hypocritical since he is guilty of almost every crime he accuses Brian of and more. Brian dating Bimbos and saying he loves a womans mind is pretty minor when Quagmire has commited 'every' sexual offence there is.
    • He did once hold the Mayor hostage over the issue of same sex marriage.
  • The Legend of Korra has Amon, who despite being the leader of a powerful anti-bending movement called the Equalists, can take a person's bending away. But to do that, he appears to use "energybending", which is the oldest form of bending.
  • Adventure Time is chock full of this, played for comedy.

Lemongrab: STOP SCREAMING!!! WHY ARE YOU SCREAMING?!?!

  • Justice League Unlimited has General Wade Eiling, who goes after the Justice League because he believes metahumans are dangerous and can't be trusted. He ends up becoming a metahuman himself, and goes after a group of heroes who have no powers. when a nearby civilian points out that's the only one at the site of the battle with powers, he concedes the kid's point, and leaves, and is not seen again.
  • From the The Simpsons episode "Homer vs the City of New York":

Bart: Don't judge a place you've never been to. That's what people do in Russia.