“That’s just Greed”: Controversy behind the new Dahmer series

See how Netflix’s new hit series on notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is stirring controversy on social media.

Netflix released a new series on Sept. 21, 2022 called Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer story (otherwise known as Dahmer) which stars Evan Peters as Dahmer. It shows the thoughts and actions of infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. The show is a re-telling of Dahmer’s life up until his death rooting all the way from his childhood traumas and his fascination with roadkill and taxidermy. Some may ask; what is the difference between this series and the several previous movies on Dahmer? Wouldn’t those also play a role in glorifying these serial killers? According to many people who have expressed their concerns on social media, the difference would be how this series in particular is portraying Dahmer and the insensitivity it shows towards his victims. 

“Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”
Credit: Deadline

Many social media platforms, like Instagram and TikTok are showing their reactions to the show as they learn more about Dahmer.  

The search for “Jeffrey Dahmer victim polaroids” has gained 531.2 million views and counting, and some users are upset that they cannot find the real polaroids that Dahmer took of his victims. Many social media users believe that Dahmer gets “glorified” in the series. As you see his early life, some may say they “pity” Dahmer. They also show that he got letters while incarcerated from people claiming to be his “fans”. It is also shown throughout the series the relationship he has with his father, it could play the role of “humanizing” him. 

Many users say that they need to revisit this story because of how Dahmer mainly targeted the Black  LGBTQ+ community. Racism is a prominent aspect in the series, as it is how he got away with several crimes. For a little while, the Dahmer series was tagged as “LGBTQ”, rather than “True Crime” which sparked major controversy, according to Time. Netflix later removed the tag due to the ongoing complaints. 

Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”
Credit: rottentomatoes.com

The series rarely focuses on the victims, with the majority of the victims getting little to no attention. There is an afterthought at the end of the series where all the victims names and pictures are shown in memoriam. Many of the family members of his victims spoke out against the series, saying it retraumatized them. 

Rita Isbell is the sister of Errol Lindsey, who was murdered by Dahmer when he was 19-years-old. The actress who portrays Rita Isbell in the series gives an uncanny delivery of her court speech, basically saying words verbatim. The real Rita Isbell was not contacted prior to the show for consent for her to be portrayed on the show. She wrote an essay for Insider about her thoughts on the series. “I feel like Netflix should’ve asked if we mind or how we felt about making it. They didn’t ask me anything. They just did it,” she said. “If the show benefited them [the victims’ families] in some way, it wouldn’t feel so harsh and careless. It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix and Ryan Murphy Productions declined to comment. Isbell is one of the many family members that were portrayed in the show without consent, which is one of the main controversial takes from the show.

A side-by-side of Netflix’s interpretation of Isbell in 2022 Netflix series, and a picture from the court hearing in 1992.
Credit: Insider.com

The massive division when it comes to the Dahmer series has outshined the actual show itself. Some are so interested in the crimes that they search and search and may even “glorify” Dahmer. Insensitive trends and glorification of Dahmer has left many avoiding watching the show. While many others believe that Netflix was greedy and insensitive to the victims and their families as the show portrays blatant racism, and in some cases homophobia, and did not ask the families of the victims for consent to share their stories. Either way, it is of utmost importance to respect the victims and their families, as some are reliving a traumatic time in their life.


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