When people hear the name "Jeffrey Dahmer," they are reminded of the cannibalistic murderer who made headlines in the early 90s for horrifically raping his victims, drugging them, dismembering their torsos, and refrigerating various parts of their anatomy. His body count is believed to have been around 17, but no one really knows for sure. Three years into his life sentence behind bars at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin, Dahmer was murdered by a fellow inmate named Christopher Scarver. Although Dahmer's life was infamous, he remained somewhat of a cult-like figure in pop culture nearly three decades after his death. Several Hollywood directors have attempted to reimagine the gruesome tale of Jeffery Dahmer, which productions such as "Jeff," "My Friend Dahmer," "Raising Jeffrey Dahmer," and more, but no such film(s) managed to galvanize the attention of the general public until now.
Ryan Murphy's on-screen depiction of Jeffrey Dahmer's decade-long run as a mass murderer was released on Netflix last week, and it has already shot to number one on the platform's "Most Watched" list, logging over 196 hours worth of views from subscribers. The creator of American Horror Stories tabbed a familiar face in Evan Peters to play the role of Dahmer, and by all indications, he has delivered the performance of a lifetime. But his prowess as an actor is perhaps a little too potent for a narrative that is very still very sensitive in the hearts of many. In less than one week of being published online, DAHMER-Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has garnered serious pushback from the real-life family members of Jeffrey Dahmer's victims, the Black community, and the LGBQT+ community, many of whom experienced the brunt of the main character's devastating killing spree.
"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," tweeted a relative of Errol Lindsey (one of Dahmer's victims). "It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?"
Initially, most of the backlash seemed to be coming from the Black community until several members of the LGBTQ+ population also began to share their displeasure with the way that Netflix was presenting the film.
"If I need to stay in my lane absolutely tell me but anyone else think it's pretty gross of @netflix
to list Dahmer under #LGBTQ, especially when the True Crime tag would have worked?" wrote another Twitter user.
Despite the backlash, DAHMER-Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is the biggest series debut in the history of Netflix, toppling the premieres of hit shows like Stranger Things, Squid Game, Narcos, 13 Reasons Why and Cobra Kai. This isn't the first time that Netflix has dealt with backlash because of their original content; last year, Dave Chapelle came under fire for his controversial subject matter in his stand-up comedy special "The Closer."
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