Zara Rasul, Grade 10, Staff Writer
It may come as little surprise that the world has a negative view of Jeffrey Dahmer, an American serial killer, sex offender, and cannibal born on May 21, 1960 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While people do despise Dahmer, the Netflix series, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, has garnered significant attention.
Directed by Ryan Murphy – known for directing fan favorites like American Horror Story, Scream Queens, and Glee – the series has captivated viewers around the world, from true-crime fans to people who were simply curious about the show to those who were interested in the timeline of Dahmer and his goosebump-inducing reasons for the murders he committed.
The series starts off in 1991 with Jeffrey Dahmer, played by Evan Peters, picking up his last victim, Tracy Edwards, played by Shaun J. Brown, in a gay bar, bringing him back to his apartment.
There’s the terrible stench of meat Dahmer’s neighbors have been nagging him about and a drill covered in blood on the counter, two very obvious hints that Edwards should run for his life – which is exactly what he does.
When Dahmer tries to make his murderous-sexual move on Edwards, he runs as fast as he can to the police, who arrest Dahmer. From there on, Dahmer is questioned by the police and the series proceeds to show the audience flashbacks of every single event in Dahmer’s life leading up to the arrest.
The series has been receiving remarkable attention for Peters’ crowd-winning acting and a frightening based-on-a-true-story plot, but the harsh reality behind the scenes has the jaws of some viewers dropping in shock.
Like Ryan Murphy has done in his previous murder shows, he depicted the lives of Dahmer’s victims and the building up to their death. However, this choice created controversy as the relatives of the murder victims spoke up about how uncomfortable and disturbed they were with the release of Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Series.
Rita Isbell – sister of Dahmer victim Errol Lindsey – claims that she was bothered by the show in a personal essay written for Insider. She stated that she had never been contacted by Netflix for consent about the show depicting her brother, adding that Netflix had been creating the show for money, despite it deeply disturbing the families affected by the murders.
Another opponent of the Netflix series is Shirley Hughes, mother of Dahme victim Tony Hughes. In one interview, she said, “I don’t see how they can use our names and put stuff like that out there.” Rita and Shirley are not the only family members who were disturbingly affected by Netflix’s disturbing true crime series.
While the show was and still is a smash hit on Netflix, the controversy has earned Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story the title of one of Netflix's most controversial shows by critics. It even has The Washington Post saying that it “is not a story that needs retelling.”