The reason it scares people because $42k is a lot of money to a lot of people and there's no reason to earnestly believe poor people would be treated more fairly. In fact, that's almost universally the opposite of how things work in our system.
A starving artist can't afford a lawyer and definitely couldn't battle an entity with the resources of the FTC. Think about why they chose such an odd number - $42,000. It's because it's a little less than a quick court case would cost even if you won. Civil court is a place for rich people, not for some dying animator.
If the FTC decided to be malicious, they could seriously do a drive-by on thousands of Americans and just shake them down for a lot of money. Maybe there would be a class action later, but that's like eight years, ten years, twelve years - who knows - down the line.
The only reason I can think the FTC wouldn't shake down consumers is because the civil penalties could punish them for it. Unlike Google, ironically, who will never seriously come to justice.