Have you watched Netflix’s Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story? I have not. At first, it was because it looked way too scary. Then, a bunch of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims families spoke out against the show, saying that they weren’t contacted or consulted beforehand, and my refusal to watch jumped from “me scared” to “I have PRINCIPLES (sometimes), thankyouverymuch!” Now The Hollywood Reporter reports that co-creator Ryan Murphy is claiming he actually reached out to 20 of the victims’ families and friends, “and not a single person responded to us in that process.” He says the show had to rely on “our incredible group of researchers.” Um, sorry, Ryan, but if all these people left you on “Read”, that’s them refusing to be a part of your show. And, maybe, just maybe, that’s a sign you shouldn’t make the show. No? Just me?
Ryan says it took over three years to research and prepare for the series, via Hollywood Reporter:
“It’s something that we researched for a very long time,” Murphy said at an event for the show at the DGA Theatre in Los Angeles on Thursday. “And we — over the course of the three, three and a half years when we were really writing it, working on it — we reached out to 20, around 20, of the victims’ families and friends trying to get input, trying to talk to people. And not a single person responded to us in that process. So we relied very, very heavily on our incredible group of researchers who… I don’t even know how they found a lot of this stuff. But it was just like a night and day effort to us trying to uncover the truth of these people.”
Even though Ryan Murphy’s whole thing is “we’re giving a voice to the victims,” some of the victim’s families have said that all Netflix cares about is profiting off their tragedy. Rita Isbell, whose little brother, Errol Lindsey, was murdered by Dahmer at age 19, said she wasn’t contacted by Netflix, and watching her testimony recreated on screen forced her to relive her trauma:
“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 continued. “I could even understand it if they gave some of the money to the victims’ children. … The victims have children and grandchildren. If the show benefited them 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.”
Shirley Hughes, the 85-year-old mother of victim Tony Hughes, said the show dramatized her son’s story. She told The Guardian, “it didn’t happen like that”:
“I don’t see how they can do that,” Hughes said, before adding that it was difficult to talk about Tony’s murder and politely ending the call. “I don’t see how they can use our names and put stuff out like that out there.”
Yesterday, Ryan Murphy said this:
“Something that we talked a lot in the making of it is we weren’t so much interested in Jeffrey Dahmer, the person, but what made him the monster that he became,” Murphy explained. “We talked a lot about that… and we talked about it all the time. It’s really about white privilege. It’s about systemic racism. It’s about homophobia.”
He adds that he’s not sure why there’s no physical memorial for Dahmer’s victims, but he’d be “happy” to pay for one:
“Anything that we could do to get that to happen, you know, I would even be happy to pay for it myself,” Murphy said. “I do think there should be something. And we’re trying to get a hold of people to talk about that. I think there’s some resistance because they think the park would attract people who are interested in paying homage to the macabre… but I think something should be done.”
Something tells me the families and friends of Dahmer’s victims don’t want a memorial funded by the rich white guy who exploited and profited off their tragedy. And when I say profit, I mean profit. The show is a massive hit, and yesterday Ryan said it will soon pass 1 billion hours streamed. Wow. Congratulations! And good call to release it during spooky season; now we get to see a bunch of creeps dressed up as Jeffrey Dahmer for Halloween! “Relax… I just wanna take some pictures.” No, thank you, sir!
Pic: Kristin Callahan/ACE Pictures/INSTARimages.com