I'm looking for a word (or perhaps a couple of words) to describe a person who willingly takes on the job of doing something unpopular or unkind so that they become the target of resentment for this, rather than their boss/employer.


People still trust the politician as he always gets Bob, his ~ to announce the tax rises for him.

"Scapegoat" isn't quite right, because they are usually an unwilling victim.

"Goon" implies the person has low intelligence and implies violence.

  • A peon or minion does the dirty jobs the boss doesn’t want to do, but the focus is on the person’s low status and lack of agency, not on the nature of the tasks he performs.
    – Dan Bron
    Jan 17, 2018 at 13:45
  • Mouthpiece: (disapproving) a person or a newspaper that only expresses the opinions of one particular organization.
    – user 66974
    Jan 17, 2018 at 13:51
  • 1
    Although a bit dramatic, "sin-eater" would fit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sin-eater
    – user252684
    Jan 17, 2018 at 21:19

2 Answers 2


I would call this person a hatchet man:

someone who is used for unpleasant and difficult or violent jobs

It's frequently used in business as an executive who is hired for the specific task of firing or laying off a large number of employees.


You could perhaps use whipping boy - this has a greater connotation of it being a regular role that someone undertakes.


  1. a person who is made to bear the blame for another's mistake; scapegoat.
  2. (formerly) a boy educated along with and taking punishment in place of a young prince or nobleman.

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