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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Netflix’s newest show “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” debuts #1 on its platform amidst controversy

Netflix’s new mini-series, “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” follows the life of the infamous serial killer, who murdered and dismembered 17 men between 1978 and 1991.  

This is not the first piece of media that has been made about Dahmer, and based on the audience numbers, it looks like it will not be the last. The most recent release prior to the show was in 2017, when the movie “My Friend Dahmer,” starring Ross Lynch, came out. 

With the exception of Dahmer and a few other serial killers, most of the victims in serial murders are women. There is data to support that women are significantly more likely than men to be victims of serial killers. Sadly, we all know how the entertainment industry loves to exploit women’s tragedy and trauma for profit. “Blonde,” an explicit movie about Marilyn Monroe was released this month and an upcoming movie on the Amber Heard/Johnny Depp case are some of the many examples. 

But looking at Dahmer’s specific case, it is important to note that his victims consisted mostly of Black and brown men. 

There is an apparent trend on social media, especially on TikTok, of people claiming to be “unbothered” by the new Dahmer show. These people seem to believe that being unfazed by a show that depicts the murder of young men from marginalized communities puts them on some sort of pedestal.

It’s one thing to be desensitized, but to openly admit to having no empathy for the victims and their families, especially if you are white, just goes to show how you lack compassion for people who do not look like you. It is a privilege to be able to distance yourself from disturbing content and consume it merely as a form of entertainment. 

Regardless of people’s reactions to the Dahmer show, it does not change the fact that Netflix created a form of “trauma porn” that glorifies Dahmer and only further satisfies people’s strange fascination with serial killers. 

Of course, people have been obsessed with serial killers long before films were being made about them, but it feels as if producers and writers are jumping at any opportunity to make a profit — regardless of what trauma they may unearth for the victims and their families. Take the Gabby Petito case for instance: it happened only one year ago and Lifetime has already made a movie about it. 

Following the release of the new Dahmer show, a clip of Rita Isbell, the sister of one of Dahmer’s victims, Errol Lindsey, began circling around social media. In the video, she is presenting her victim impact statement in the courtroom and put side by side the recreation in the show. 

Insider published an edited essay of Isbell’s response to the show coming out, in which she expressed that she wished Netflix had reached out to her before deciding to recreate that event. It bothered her that the actress portraying her was reciting her statement word for word, making her feel like she was living it all over again.

Ironically, Netflix advertised the show as “focusing more on the victims,” despite many family members coming forward and claiming the opposite. It is evident that Netflix does not actually care about the victims or their families.

For many people, true crime stories are nothing more than warning tales, something that keeps them up at night or fuels the shadow monsters that form in the dark corner of their rooms. However, for the victims, each time a new movie or show is released about their family member or close friend, they are forced to relive their trauma all over again. 

At some point you have to ask yourself, is consuming all of this healthy? Eric Perry, Errol Lindsey’s cousin wrote on Twitter, “It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?” 

We all know the story of Jeffrey Dahmer. Anyone with access to the internet or a library can find out his story, but what about the stories of his victims? They were real people, not just fictional characters in a movie. Real people that cannot rest in peace because the memory of their tragic deaths is brought up time and time again upon yet another release. 

Despite criticism online prior to its release, the show debuted #1 on Netflix, already breaking the record for the biggest series debut on the platform in its first week. This is especially frustrating after seeing the moral discourse online and then finding out millions of people are still tuning in. 

Even with the controversy and exploitation accusations Netflix has faced since the release of the show, they are coming out with another series, “Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes,” on Oct. 7. 

“Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” is now streaming on Netflix.

Follow Julie on Twitter @writerinthealps

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Netflix’s newest show “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” debuts #1 on its platform amidst controversy