Netflix, stop exploiting Dahmer’s victims



Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in Netflix’s Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. (Netflix/TNS)

By Alexa Barraza

If there’s one thing my mom, older sister and I all have in common, it is our love for true crime. Sitting down on the couch, sharing snacks and turning on Netflix to watch anything true crime-related is our version of a perfect Saturday night. 

Of course, this interest isn’t uncommon at all. Millions of people share this similar interest in psycho-analyzing the cruelest of serial killers and mass murderers. As horrifying and traumatic as the stories are, there is always a story to tell and a purpose in hearing these stories. 

There is an underlying importance that the society we live in can be criticized, and the various instances of overlooking how we fail the lives of victims are both tragic and important to hear. 

It’s here that we understand that speaking up for others is essential. That is the purpose of true crime media. 

Because of this popular interest, thousands of videos, podcasts, movies, documentaries and TV shows are created. 

One of the newest to come out is Netflix’s 2022 mini-TV series “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.” 

Evan Peters stars as the infamous American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, a man from Wisconsin who murdered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. 

Dahmer instantly became a household name when news broke about the heinous and gruesome crimes he committed. He was practically a celebrity by the time he was imprisoned in 1991. 

This twisted source of fame is how Netflix took advantage of this household name and began abusing it. 

The streaming powerhouse has an entire genre for true crime, including many different stories to listen to and new names to recognize.

Along with the new “Dahmer,” Netflix simply has too many Dahmer-related titles in their collection.

Again, it’s important to recognize the names of the victims and their families that had to suffer as a result. It’s not only painful and heartbreaking for the audience to learn about their stories, but it’s even more traumatizing for them to relive it through the screen. 

There’s a fine line between informing people and entertaining people for profit. 

Rita Isbell, the sister of Errol Lindsey, who was murdered by Dahmer in 1991, spoke out about how Netflix failed to communicate with her about recreating the show. 

“I was never contacted about the show,” Isbell told Insider. “I feel like Netflix should’ve asked if we mind or how we felt about making it. They didn’t ask me anything. They just did it.”

Isbell accused Netflix of simply “making money off of this tragedy.”

There are more stories to expand upon than the ones tied to Dahmer. There are more names to shed light upon, and there are always more stories to respect. Why continue to capitalize on him?

Outside of Netflix, there are certainly even more platforms hopping on the “Dahmer” bandwagon.

Who knows how many more projects will come out in the next few years? 

I think back to those moments of being couch potatoes with my mom and older sister and watching true crime shows and I know that this interest will never be detached from us. 

But when will Netflix and other platforms lay this name to rest?