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An appeal to spite (also called argumentum ad odium) is a fallacy in which someone attempts to win favor for an argument by exploiting existing feelings of bitterness, spite, or schadenfreude in the opposing party. It is an attempt to sway the audience emotionally by associating a hate-figure with opposition to the speaker's argument.
Fallacious ad hominem arguments which attack villains holding the opposing view are often confused with appeals to spite. The ad hominem can be a similar appeal to a negative emotion, but differs from it in directly criticizing the villain —that is unnecessary in an appeal to spite, where hatred for the villain is assumed.
- "If you vote for this tax cut, it will mean that the fat cats will get even more money to spend on their expensive luxury yachts, while you and I keep struggling to pay the bills."
- "Stop recycling! Aren't you tired of Hollywood celebrities preaching to everyone about saving the Earth?"
- Our company is based on a Ponzi Scheme. These schemes are not inherently bad, you just hear bad results because most of them are run by the greedy New York Wall Street types.
- Curtis, G. N.. "Emotional Appeal". http://www.fallacyfiles.org/emotiona.html. "Appeal to Hatred (AKA, Argumentum ad Odium)"
- Ravi, K. R. (July 2006). "Thinking about fallacies and invalid arguments". Thinking About Thinking. p. 59. ISBN 978-8179925164. "You know how these top people are. They make fantastic sums of money, but the minute something goes wrong they make a scapegoat out of poor people like use" - The speaker tries to appeal to hatred, spite and other negative emotions in the listener.