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Netflix's Monster: Backlash over Jeffrey Dahmer series explained

Evan Peters portrays the killer in the new drama

dahmer evan peters
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
September 27, 2022
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Netflix's new true crime drama, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, has only been on the streaming platform for a week but has already received major backlash. 

MORE: Who plays Jeffrey Dahmer in Netflix's Monster? Inside Evan Peters' chilling transformation

The ten-parter, which quickly shot into Netflix's Top 10 most-watched series following its release, tells the disturbing story of one of America's most notorious serial killers, who reportedly killed 17 men between 1978 and 1991. Find out why the show has been criticised here...

WATCH: Have you seen the new series yet? 

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story backlash explained

Following its release on Netflix, the series received some backlash from viewers who criticised the programme for "humanising" the serial killer and being "insensitive" to the victims and their families. 

One person tweeted: "Jeffrey Dahmer series is just insensitive. We don't need to humanise a disgusting man, and we don't need to retraumatise those effected by his actions," while another wrote: "I'm nearly done with the Jeffrey Dahmer doc on Netflix and I just need to know why they continue to humanise and even victimise these murderers, every single time???"

MORE: Monster: what happened to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer?

MORE: Netflix viewers dub Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story "most disturbing" true crime series ever

Viewers have also been divided over the casting of American Horror Story actor Evan Peters in the role as Dahmer. While many Netflix users have praised his chilling performance, some have called out other viewers for romanticising the killer after finding Evan attractive in his portrayal. 

dahmer 2© Photo: Netflix

Evan Peters plays Jeffrey Dahmer in the series

One person tweeted: "I see #dahmerNetflix is out and I just want to say that Evan Peters is an attractive man but can we PLEASE not forget that he is portraying a real-life serial killer. Please let's not romanticise or glamorise Jeffrey Dahmer. Remember his victims."

A second added: "A reminder now #DahmerNetflix is trending: Jeffrey Dahmer was a monster who did horrendous things. Evan Peters is a very attractive man doing an amazing job at portraying him. Don't confuse the two and romanticise a psychopath. It's distasteful and disrespectful to his victims."

MORE: Monster: Who were Jeffrey Dahmer's victims and what have their families said about the Netflix show?

This isn't the first time that the internet has glamorised serial killers, with a similar reaction occurring following Ross Lynch's portrayal of the same murderer in My Friend Dahmer. Another instance of fans romanticising criminals occurred after Zac Efron's performance playing Ted Bundy in Netflix's Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.

dahmer 3© Photo: Netflix

A family member of one of Dahmer's victim has spoken out

However, it wasn't just viewers who criticised the new drama. A family member of one of Dahmer's victims has said the series left them "retraumatised". 

A Twitter user named Ericthulu, who claims to be a cousin of 19-year-old victim Errol Lindsey, wrote: "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 (the Isbells) are [expletive] about this show.

"It's retraumatising over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?"

In a follow-up tweet, Eric said, "Like recreating my cousin having an emotional breakdown in court in the face of the man who tortured and murdered her brother is WILD."

MORE: Monster: viewers in tears over harrowing moment in true-crime series

In a separate post, he went on to reveal that the victims' families are not "notified" by the creative teams behind true-crime recreations. "My family found out when everyone else did," he said. 

dahmer 1© Photo: Netflix

Twitter users called some viewers out for romanticising the killer

"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 at this point with a bunch of calls and messages and they know there’s another Dahmer show. It's cruel," he added. 

What else have viewers said about the show? 

Not all Netflix users have been so critical about the drama, however, with some praising creator Ryan Murphy for putting Dahmer's despicable behaviours back in the spotlight. 

One person tweeted: "Anyone who was afraid that this is here to glamorise Jeffrey Dahmer is mistaken. This paints him as a monster. You feel for all the victims and their families, all of his neighbours and the wider community. It's one of the best things Ryan Murphy has made. Just haunting stuff."

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