Despite overwhelming popularity, the criticism revolving around Netflix’s Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story seems to never end. The series, created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, follows the story of the Milwaukee Monster, the titular serial killer whose criminal atrocities left behind a tragic trail of bloodshed and intense loss.
The series garnered a notorious reputation, especially after reports that detailed how the creators of the show were negligent in their approach toward the victims of the necrophiliac murderer. Many affirmed that by retelling such an emotionally grueling and spine-chilling incident, the families of the victims have to keep reliving the horrid instances of the past that they wish to let go of.
At present, in a recent interview, creator Ryan Murphy opened up about the aforementioned backlash and revealed how his creative team, albeit in a futile attempt, reached out to the families of the victims.
Ryan Murphy’s Team Reached Out To The Victims’ Families
Just days after the controversial Netflix show made its release on September 21, 2022, the audiences were quick to note the uber-realistic approach taken by the creative team. It seemed as though the events that took place in real life were etched into the series’ narrative detail by detail. It accounted for a retelling that felt too personal. Therefore, it did not come off as a surprise to see the victims’ families’ disappointment over the Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan-created series.
True crime culture, while having entertained some, has served to traumatize the families and friends of the victims that have been affected thoroughly by such heinous crimes that the media keeps clinging on to as a form of extravagantly glamorized mass amusement.
Rita Isbell, the sister of one of Dahmer’s victims, Errol Lindsey, attested to how watching the depiction of her trial statement in the series made her relive the tragedy. Furthermore, she emphasized that Netflix never contacted her before they made the show. This detail brought about a surge of intense disapproval.
Read also: “Are people really taking pride in not watching a show?”: Netflix’s Jeffrey Dahmer Show Gets Support From Fans After Becoming Second Most Watched Series, Claim Show Didn’t Glorify Serial Killer
Now, in an event for the Netflix show held at the DGA Theatre in Los Angeles, Ryan Murphy spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about how his team had, in stark contrast to previous statements, approached the friends and families of Dahmer’s victims. As alleged by the writer and director, his team never received a response.
Instead, they had to rely on a “group of researchers” who managed to acquire the necessary elements and information required to build the seemingly authentic foundation of the Evan Peters-starrer. It was how they attempted to “uncover the truth” of the victims.
Following is what Ryan Murphy had to say on the matter:
“Over the course of the three, three and a half years when we were really writing it, working on it… we reached out to 20, around 20, of the victims’ families and friends trying to get input, trying to talk to people. And not a single person responded to us in that process. So we relied very, very heavily on our incredible group of researchers who… I don’t even know how they found a lot of this stuff.”
Additionally, Murphy remarked that the series’ aim was not to base its focus on Jeffrey Dahmer and his life but on the societal, and political themes that plagued the reality of the unsettling occurrence. According to the writer, the creative team behind the Evan Peters-led show wanted to explore the reasons that made Dahmer a “monster.” In his own words, the incident was all about, “white privilege”, “systematic racism”, and “homophobia.”
One of the directors of the series, Paris Barclay also stated that they wished to celebrate the victims instead of reducing them to a mere statistic; a mere number. He concluded by adding that they are “real people with loving families” whose existence should not be erased by history.
The Backlash To Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
The condemnation of the series has substantial backing. There’s a reason why such a public uproar was caused after the premiere of the scandalous Netflix show. Aside from reports that alleged the streaming service not contacting the victim’s families, recent headlines have emphasized how officials of the show failed to contact even Dahmer’s father Lionel Dahmer.
On Twitter, people have been especially vocal about the aftermath following the release of the Evan Peters-starrer. Take a look:
i feel like the no response should’ve been a sign pic.twitter.com/Zx5emkkrA9
— sam🤍 (@thesammg) October 28, 2022
why would they respond, you just re-traumatized them like bffr
— 𝐚𝐫𝐢•𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧, 𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐬𝐚𝐢𝐠𝐨𝐧 (@iconicarisan) October 28, 2022
Remember that Jeffrey Dahmer is not a main character in a popular TV show. He was a prolific, sick and twisted shit stain of a human who should not be glorified or idolized in the form of Halloween costumes or memes. Respect the victims and their families.
— Halle Jordan (@Hay_Lay_Jay) October 26, 2022
netflix should’ve never released that jeffery dahmer series
— killua ❤️🔥 (@killuazivert) October 26, 2022
Ughhhhh but whyyyy do we continue to honor and enrich the legacy of white criminals???? Y’all just love to profit off the pain of others . This isn’t about spreading awareness or telling his story. It’s about keeping his name, story, and legacy alive and it’s sickening.
— Donn (@Zaddydonn) September 21, 2022
He has passed away let the people semi heal and go on with their lives instead of reliving this gruesome situation.
— DA BOSS (@se008co) September 21, 2022
There’s no denying that the reluctance shown by the victims’ families should have been an indication of how insensitive the constant retelling of the tragedy is. While the claims of the creatives allude to respecting and celebrating the victims and their relatives, the reality is somewhat different.
By creating such a realistic narrative through the series, the people that were unfortunately involved in the real-life criminal atrocity are forced to constantly go through the same event over and over again. It’s about time that true crime culture lets these people heal from their trauma instead of creating content that glamorizes and romanticizes such incidents time and again.
Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is available to stream on Netflix.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter