Appeal to spite (also called argumentum ad odium) is a logical fallacy in which someone attempts to win favor for an argument by exploiting existing feelings of bitterness, spite, or schadenfreude in the opposing party.
The Appeal to Spite Fallacy is a fallacy in which spite is substituted for
evidence when an "argument" is made against a claim. This line of "reasoning"
has the following form:
Claim X is presented with the intent of generating spite.
Therefore claim C is false (or true)
This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because a feeling of spite does not count as evidence for or against a claim. This is quite clear in the following case: "Bill claims that the earth revolves around the sun. But remember that dirty trick he pulled on you last week. Now, doesn't my claim that the sun revolves around the earth make sense to you?"
Of course, there are cases in which a claim that evokes a feeling of spite or malice can serve as legitimate evidence. However, it should be noted that the actual feelings of malice or spite are not evidence. The following is an example of such a situation:
Jill: "I think I'll vote for Jane to be treasurer of NOW."
Vicki: "Remember the time that your purse vanished at a meeting last year?"
Vicki: "Well, I just found out that she stole your purse and stole some other stuff from people."
Jill: "I'm not voting for her!"
In this case, Jill has a good reason not to vote for Jane. Since a treasurer
should be honest, a known thief would be a bad choice. As long as Jill concludes
that she should vote against Jane because she is a thief and not just out of
spite, her reasoning would not be fallacious.
Bill: "I think that Jane did a great job this year. I'm going to nominate
her for the award."
Dave: "Have you forgotten last year? Remember that she didn't nominate you last year."
Bill: "You're right. I'm not going to nominate her."