Controversy surrounds Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story


New York Post

Dahmer—Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, a Netflix original biopic created by Ryan Murphy, tells the gruesome story of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Many have accused the show of romanticizing Dahmer’s victims, and those who remember the actual cases claim the show is an unsuccessful portrayal of the crimes Dahmer committed. 

The Dahmer series is only one of thousands of shows related to murders and serial killers, so why has this one become so sensational? The answer is not necessarily one that fans would love to hear: Dahmer—Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has become one of the most controversial series to date, bringing it to the forefront of the public stage.

Recently, a clip on Twitter went viral comparing the Netflix re-enactment of Rita Isbell’s confrontation with Jeffrey Dahmer after he killed her brother to the actual trial. Many viewers believe that Murphy exploited victims’ personal stories, including that of Isbell and her brother, without their permission.

“I was never contacted about the show,” said Isbell in a conversation with Insider. “[Netflix] didn’t ask me anything. They just did it. It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed.” 

With almost 500 million hours watched, some critics are calling for Netflix to donate some of the show’s profit to the families of Dahmer’s victims. 

The series is emotionally intense for viewers who lived during Dahmer’s killings, particularly considering the fact that Dahmer targeted queer men of color. Dahmer’s neighbor, a black woman, was also never taken seriously after reporting multiple disappearances of young men under Dahmer’s watch, adding to the clear systemic racism involved with the killer. Murphy depicts certain crimes in gruesome detail and has been criticized for retraumatizing members of the black queer community.

Further backlash occurred when Dahmer—Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story was originally categorized under the LGBTQ+ section on Netflix. Dahmer preyed on members of the LGBTQ+ community, and law enforcement was accused of improperly investigating the murders because of the stigma regarding victims’ sexuality. The LGBTQ+ section on Netflix houses shows like Sex Education and Heartstopper which shine characters in a positive light. Although Dahmer was a gay man, his violence is not the representation that the LGBTQ+ community would like to see. Netflix later removed the tag due to extreme criticism.

Clearly, with the stigma around Jeffrey Dahmer and the anticipation of this new series, it is no surprise that not all fans approved of how Murphy depicted the serial killer and his crimes. The show’s legacy will be its rejection by the relatives of Dahmer’s victims and affected communities as well as many horrified viewers.