For many people, serial killer media is just another way to spend a dull evening. However, there is more to that than just a chilling genre.
Despite massive success that Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is currently enjoying, not everyone seems to be fond of the idea of reviving the discourse around the gruesome story of the Milwaukee Monster. Among such people is Eric Perry, a cousin of one of real-life Jeffrey Dahmer victims, Errol Lindsey.
As he took to Twitter to blast the new Netflix show starring Evan Peters as "retraumatizing", his post quickly went viral and garnered well over 400,000 likes. He responded to a video that compared the real-life footage of the victim's sister Rita Isbell going through an emotional breakdown in court and the way the Netflix show recreated it.
"Like recreating my cousin having an emotional breakdown in court in the face of the man who tortured and murdered her brother is WILD. WIIIIIILD," Perry said in a follow-up post.
"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?" – @ericthulhu
Many people echoed the sentiment, insisting that whatever good intentions were behind the making of the Netflix series, "Dahmer's name should never be spoken again". The series, meanwhile, may do the opposite and "romanticize" the serial killer, especially with an attractive actor playing his part.
"The interest in the true crime world can go too far on multiple occasions like to the point where ppl don't even realize these are real events and real ppl that they're using at entertainment." – @K0YAII
Some people were quite shocked to learn that apparently, Netflix didn't even bother to secure permission from every victim and their relatives before making the series.
"As someone who has interest in "true crime", this is despicable. Movies/docs should never be made about real life killers/victims unless they have explicit permission from the victims' families and those families give permission to everything that's included. And one is enough." – @meltieshouse
According to Perry, Netflix indeed has not contacted his family, mainly due to the fact that all crime records are public, and producers therefore are not obliged to secure such kind of permissions.
Others, however, argued that such things are educational and need to stay in the focus so as to never be repeated again.
"I understand this is traumatizing to your family but this generation needs to see how a white gay man in the 80s and 90s was able to get away with these horrible murders for years because of white privilege. Sometimes tv is the best way to educate people." – @holleringoff1
Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story premiered on Netflix on September 21, immediately becoming a social media hit, with people particularly praising Evan Peters' performance in main role and even getting concerned for his mental health. However, the series has quickly turned controversial amid the debates on whether new media dedicated to serial killers secures them new "fan base" and "romanticizes" them.
Peters himself said in the Netflix promotional video for the series that "it's called 'The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,' but it's not just him and his backstory: It's the repercussions, it's how society and our system failed to stop him multiple times because of racism, homophobia. It's just a tragic story."