OPINION: Netflix’s ‘Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story’ revisits a disturbing, traumatizing history

This newly released series has reached the TV screens of millions, and has now sparked controversy.

Photo obtained from IMDb.com

This newly released series has reached the TV screens of millions, and has now sparked controversy.

The stories of serial killers should never be taken lightly, and often revisiting the frightening history of these cases are uncomfortable conversations. Netflix recently released “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” a 10 episode reenactment of the life of Jeffrey Dahmer and the victims that he claimed. As one of the most notorious serial killers in America, Jeffrey Dahmer brutally murdered 17 men and boys and was charaged with first degree murder, drunk and disorderly conduct and second degree sexual assault. The disturbing history of Jeffrey Dahmer should have been put away after his charges and death, yet this Netflix series has dug up this history in an offensive and disturbing way. 

The show has recently gained traction as the top viewed Netflix series in the same week as it’s release, attaining almost 196.2 million views in just those first few days. With this attention, the show has triggered much controversy across several media platforms. With famous stars like Evan Peters (Jeffrey Dahmer) and Molly Ringwald (Shari Dahmer), it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Dahmer was a real monster. Incorporating little to no first hand accounts or interviews and relying only on acting creates the feel of a fictional piece. Because the murders committed by Jeffrey Dahmer were so tragic, its imperative to emphasize the fact that Dahmer was a murderer. The show followed Dahmer around his daily life, making him seem like an average person; this humanization draws away from the true stories of the victims. 

Many families of Dahmer’svictims  have also come out to say that many details in the show regarding the victims and their families were added for dramatic effect. Rita Isbell, sister of Dahmer’s victim Eroll Lindsey, told Insider that she was “deeply disturbed” to see a recreation of her speech during Dahmer’s court case, one of the most traumatizing moments of her life. Isbell also remarks that Netflix did not consider her wellbeing or opinion on the matter, which only worsened her feelings about the reenactment for herself and the affected families. 

While the Damher show might entertain the curious minds of true crime junkies, it’s yet another reminder, on top of many others, of a delicate, disturbing and tragic situation. Netflix disregarded the feelings of anyone involved in the situation, and desensitized the magnitude of a murderer. As Isbell’s cousin (@ericthulhu) tweeted “It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?”