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The Controversy Behind Netflix’s ‘Dahmer’ Series: How Far Is Too Far?

Do we really need another show talking about this?

Credit: Netflix

Now more than ever, people have become increasingly intrigued by true crime media – podcasts, YouTube videos, TV and film documentaries, you name it; you are bound to find the true crime genre on any given platform.

The newest Netflix drama series ‘Dahmer –  Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story’ has tagged onto this ongoing list of shows surrounding serial killers. Shortly after its release on September 21, the show was quickly met with lots of concern and criticism from audiences everywhere. 

One of the first noticeable concerns surfaced when a few people on social media began romanticizing and glorifying Dahmer– more specifically, Evan Peters’ interpretation of him. Following the show’s release, people began making Tiktok edits’ and ‘thirst traps’, compiling clips from the series and portraying him in an “attractive” manner. 

These types of videos were immediately met with backlash, with people emphasizing the fact that it’s uncomfortable to talk about how attractive an actor is when he’s playing the role of a murderer, especially given the fact that he was a real person who actually committed these crimes.

In addition to the unsettling impact this series has had on the viewers, it has been even more difficult for the victims’ families to watch this be released.

One of the main topics of discourse surrounding this series is that Netflix allegedly did not contact the families to request permission to make this series in the first place. 

Rita Isbell, the sister of Errol Lindsey (one of Dahmer’s victims), shared a statement with Insider that seemingly confirms this speculation. She stated:

 “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. But I’m not money hungry, that’s what this show is about, Netflix trying to get paid.”

Twitter user Eric Perry, who is also Isbell’s cousin, chimed in to express his frustrations,  further confirming that the show was not pre-approved by the families affected. He mentions how retraumatizing this experience has been for them, forcing the family to live through it all over again. 

So now, the question is posed: how far is too far? Are the productions of these movies, shows, and documentaries worth making at this point? Will there ever come a day where it is decided that there’s enough exposure to these tragedies?

As of now, there is no clear-cut answer, and everyone’s personal answers and opinions will vary. When it comes to true crime, there’s a fine line between curiosity of the unimaginable and unhealthy obsession, and it is everyone’s individual responsibility on how they navigate through trauma and tragedy.

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