The show of the moment, “DAHMER — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" is proving a hit for Netflix. But while the series appeals to the streaming site’s subscribers, it’s nevertheless whipping up backlash on social networks, largely regarding victims’ families. So what’s going on?. Are serial killers the new stars of our TV series? From Ted Bundy and Edmund Kemper to Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy and now Jeffrey Dahmer, all have inspired series or movies that have proved successful in terms of ratings.
Released September 21, 2022 on Netflix, the series “DAHMER — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story," has already drawn the ire of some internet users. The new miniseries from Ryan Murphy, creator of the “American Crime Story" anthology series, looks back on the life of the American serial killer and his brutal murder spree. This 10-episode portrait has drawn criticism for its lack of consideration for victims’ families. Although Netflix had described the miniseries as a means of “giving the victims a voice," their families don’t seem to see it that way. In an interview with Insider, Rita Isbell, the sister of Errol Lindsey, one of the serial killer’s victims, regretted not having been consulted by Netflix: “I was never contacted about the show. 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." Her poignant testimony at the Jeffrey Dahmer trial was recreated in the Netflix series.
This situation has continued to fuel criticism on social media. Eric Perry, who claims to be a cousin of Errol Lindsey, also called out Netflix’s approach on Twitter: “I’m not telling anyone what to watch, I know true crime media is huge rn, but if you’re actually curious about the victims, my family (the Isbell’s) are pissed about this show. It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?" His post counts over 411,000 “Likes."
Rita Isbell also lamented the fact that the victim’s descendants had not benefited from any form of financial gesture: “It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed."
I’m not telling anyone what to watch, I know true crime media is huge rn, but if you’re actually curious about the victims, my family (the Isbell’s) are pissed about this show. It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need? https://t.co/CRQjXWAvjx— eric perry. (@ericthulhu) September 22, 2022
This is not the first time that a serial killer has caused a buzz on social networks. After the success of the movie “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile," and the documentary “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes," the killer Ted Bundy was previously the focus of a trend on TikTok. Some users even decided to embody him in their videos, reproducing a tense, anxiety-filled atmosphere. Criticism calling out a certain romanticization of serial killers then erupted online. To date, the hashtag #TedBundy has more than one billion views on TikTok, while #JeffreyDahmer has reached 1.3 billion views on the Chinese social network.