The Families of Jeffrey Dahmer’s Victims Call the Netflix Series ‘Harsh and Careless’

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The Families of Jeffrey Dahmer’s Victims Call the Netflix Series ‘Harsh and Careless’
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preview for DAHMER - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story - Official Trailer (Netflix)

Ryan Murphy’s dramatized account of the real-life murders committed by serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is one of the most-watched series on Netflix right now—but the Evan Peters vehicle has also been subjected to some serious criticism from the families of several of Dahmer’s victims.

Shirley Hughes, the mother of Tony Hughes, told the Guardian that Murphy’s portrayal of events “didn’t happen like that” in real life, and has questioned how it was even possible for the show to get made without the explicit permission of the victims’ families. “I don’t see how they can do that,” she said. “I don’t see how they can use our names and put stuff out like that out there.”

When Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story first began streaming, several relatives of Dahmer’s victims came forward to explain that they were not informed by Murphy or Netflix that the series was being made, and their permission was not sought in any way.

Eric Perry, whose cousin Errol Lindsey was murdered by Dahmer, wrote on Twitter: “To answer the main question, no, they don’t notify families when they do this. It’s all public record, so they don’t have to notify (or pay!) anyone. My family found out when everyone else did… 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?”

He continued: “So when they say they’re doing this ‘with respect to the victims’ or ‘honoring the dignity of the families’, no one contacts them. My cousins wake up every few months… with a bunch of calls and messages and they know there’s another Dahmer show. It’s cruel.”

Rita Isbell, another cousin of Lindsey, is actually portrayed by an actor in the show, with her court testimony recreated for dramatic purposes. She has described the show as “harsh and careless” in its treatment of the painful subject matter.

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