“Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” draws wrong attention to tragedies


Calla Reynolds, Asst. Editorial Editor

On Sept. 21, Netflix released a series about the infamous serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer. The documentary “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” recently topped Netflix viewing charts. For families of Dahmer’s victims, the romanticization and initial release of the serial killer documentary is devastating.

Jeffrey Dahmer was born on May 21, 1960. From adolescence, Dahmer never displayed any interest in typical children’s hobbies. Instead, he was fascinated by animal carcasses and carrions. This unusual behavior was a recurrence through high school graduation, just weeks  before Dahmer’s first murder. His victims consisted solely of younger men between the ages of 14 and 30. He would usually convince men to stay at his place,and when they would try to leave, Dahmer would strike. Before killing his victims, Dahmer would rape them. Then, he would dismember and consume their bodies. By the early 1990s, the serial killer was indicted on a total of 15 murder charges, multiple sexual assault charges, and was recognized as a cannibal.

“Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” was a drama series that graphically highlighted these tragedies. Mere days after the series was released, active social media users began to take notice of the main character, Evan Peters’ charm. Peters soon became a face widespread across the internet, which drew attention to Dahmer and the actors’ portrayal of his story. People on social media platforms began to disregard the real-life Jeffrey Dahmer to instead be blinded with an attractive, less-threatening version of the killer. The series indirectly depicted an impressionable online audience into believing Dahmer was far more endearing than he truly was. 

Because of this, Netflix has been receiving serious backlash from educated and traumatized individuals. Specifically, Netflix has deeply upset relatives of Dahmer’s victims. Not only was the series created without consent from the affected families, but it also glamorized the horrors caused by the serial killer. Families of Dahmer’s victims are placed in a position where they constantly have to relive the trauma of the assassination of their relative. Moreover, they have to relieve their trauma in an era where it is either ignored or sugarcoated. 

“It brought back all the emotions I was feeling back then. 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,’” Rita Isbell, whose brother was one of Dahmer’s victims, said. 

This was the case for more than just Isbell alone. “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” failed to raise proper awareness towards the horrors caused by infamous serial killer, Dahmer, and it also failed to acknowledge the relatives of victims, such as Isbell.