Netflix’s drama about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer has drawn huge viewing numbers, but also criticism from people who say it’s “insensitive.”
Rapper Boosie BadAzz tweeted: “As black people we should boycott (the show). What he did to our black children is sick.”
Dahmer killed 17 children and youthmany of whom were black and gay, between 1978 and 1991.
The sister of one of his victims described the series – whose name is Monster: The Jeffrey Dahme Storyr– as “hard and careless”.
Rita Isbell, whose brother Errol Lindsey was 19 when Dahmer murdered him, made a moving statement at the killer’s trial in 1992, but said she was not told she would be re-created in the 10-part series created by Ryan Murphy (“Glee”, “American Crimes” and “Pose”).
“When I saw part of the series it bothered me, especially when I saw myself, when I saw my name on the screen and this lady saying word for word exactly what I said,” Isbell told Insider.
“That’s just greed”
Lindsey’s sister said Netflix should have given some of the money from the show to the children and grandchildren of the victims.
“If the show benefited them in any way, it wouldn’t feel so harsh and careless. It’s sad that they are only making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed.”
Last week, Lindsey’s cousin, Eric Perry, tweeted to say that the family was not happy with the series.
“It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what?” he said. “How many movies/series/documentaries do we need?”
Recreating my cousin having an emotional breakdown in court in front of the man who tortured and murdered her brother is INSANE. A LOCUUUUUURA », she added.
Dahmer’s crimes also involved cannibalism and necrophilia. He was convicted in 1992 and murdered in prison two years later.
Anne E. Schwartz, the journalist who broke the story of his crimes in 1991, told the Independent newspaper that the series had “sacrificed accuracy for drama”.
The former police reporter said the producers had taken “artistic license” with many key details and that the series “doesn’t bear much resemblance to the facts of the case.”
He also noted that the “depiction of the city’s police officers as racist and homophobic was incorrect.”
Netflix has also been criticized for initially categorizing it as an LGBT show. That tag was later removed.
The controversy hasn’t stopped the show from scoring the streaming service’s highest first-week viewing numbers for an all-new series since its audience measurement system began in June 2021, according to IndieWire.
The series, which stars Evan Peters as Dahmer, was watched for 196.2 million hours in its first full week and is currently the #1 TV show on Netflix in over 60 countries.
Netflix was asked for a response to the criticism, to no avail.
Its official synopsis says that the series “exposes these inconceivable crimes, focusing on the underserved victims and their communities affected by the systemic racism and institutional failures of policing that allowed one of America’s most notorious serial killers to continue his murderous rampage.” wave of murders in plain sight for more than a decade.
“Almost nauseatingly unfathomable”
Reviews of the series have been mixed, with Stuart Heritage of Guardian he called it “almost nauseatingly unfathomable.”
“Worst of all, to some extent, is the show’s choice of focus (…) The only good thing a show like this can do is take the spotlight off the killer and show who these people really were. But ‘Monster’ unfortunately is, for the most part, too infatuated with her lead star for that.”
Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reportercalled it an “infuriating hodgepodge,” adding that “reducing most victims and their families to their pain is closer to exploiting that pain than honoring any memory.”
But Paul Tassi of Forbessaid, “I don’t know if ‘like’ the show is the right phrase, as it’s quite unsettling to watch, but I do think it’s played well by everyone involved, and the show does do a lot to keep the focus on the victims, the ineptitude of the police and the damage that Dahmer left in his wake.