“Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” Provokes Controversy Not Even Two Weeks After Release


September 21st of this year, the highly anticipated series Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story was made available on the popular streaming service Netflix. Pulling in just under 300 million hours worth of views within its first full week of release, it seems like it would be overall well received by the viewers, right? Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, that was not the case. But what could have been so wrong?

For starters, Netflix made it. The story of Jeffrey Dahmer has been milked dry by documentarians and filmmakers alike for decades, and this is no exception. Taking the gruesome, yet very real, murders of 17 young men and boys, they proceeded to exploit the victims and their families’ traumas for monetary gain with no warning to or permission from said families.

Rita Isbell, victim Errol Lindsey’s sister, wrote a letter to Insider, which described her thoughts and feelings around this situation: “I was never contacted about the show. I feel like Netflix should have 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, and that’s what the show is about, Netflix trying to get paid… It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed.”

Eric Perry, Isbell and Lindsey’s cousin, also had something to say about the show; he took to Twitter saying, “I’m not telling anyone what to watch, I know true crime media is huge [right now], but if you’re actually curious about the victims, my family [is angry] about this show. It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?”

Perry went on to criticize specific scenes in the series, as well: “like recreating my cousin having an emotional breakdown in court in the face of a man who tortured and murdered her brother is WILD. WIIIIIILD.”

To put the cherry on top, Netflix proceeded to tag the series under “LGBTQ.” Usually shows under said category are more lighthearted, like Queer Eye, or are fictional shows with good representation, but not this time. Instead of saying anything about it publicly or even apologizing, they took the tag off quietly.

Not even a month old, the limited series has had its fair share of controversies, with more stones being turned every passing day since its release. Hopefully, the numerous wrongs that were generated by Netflix can somehow be made right.