Ariana Grande poses at the 96th Academy Awards
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Jeffrey Dahmer Victim’s Family Slams Ariana Grande for Romanticizing the Serial Killer

The family of Tony Hughes, one of Jeffrey Dahmer’s murder victims, has slammed Ariana Grande for saying her dream dinner date would be with the serial killer.

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Recently, Grande recounted an odd confession she made to a child during a Q&A session for her young fans. During the session, she was asked, “If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?” Surprisingly, she stated she wanted a dinner date with Dahmer because she found him “fascinating.” Of course, the child didn’t know who that was, and their parents promised to explain it to them later. While many will find it very strange that Grande wants to have dinner with a literal serial killer, confessions like hers are becoming more common as true crime fandom sweeps the nation.

In many ways, the rise of the true crime genre has desensitized people to crime and victims because they see these cases solely as a form of entertainment. They often forget that there are real people behind these stories who may still be grieving and processing their trauma. Since true crime sells, many studios and streamers have added to the sensationalization of serial killers and true crime cases.

One prime example is Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, which makes Evan Peters’ Dahmer the star of the show and focuses on painting him as some dark, alluring character but doesn’t adequately acknowledge the victims. Meanwhile, the people who are inspired, by shows like these, to declare themselves “fans” of serial killers only add to victims’ pain.

Tony Hughes’ family slams Ariana Grande over Jeffrey Dahmer dinner date comment

It didn’t take long for Hughes’ family to respond to Grande’s “fascination” with Dahmer and desire to have dinner with him. Hughes was one of Dahmer’s 17 known victims. He was deaf and nonverbal and had moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after graduating from the Wisconsin School for the Deaf. Hughes was murdered by Dahmer in 1991 after running into him at a nightclub. His family has long been critical of Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and now has some words for Grande.

Speaking to TMZ, Hughes’ mother, Shirley Hughes, didn’t mince words as she slammed Grande for laughing on the Popcrushed podcast about her interest in Dahmer. She stated, “To me, it seems like she’s sick in her mind. It’s not fancy or funny to say you would have wanted to do dinner with him. It’s also not something you should say to young people, which she says she did.” Hughes’ sister, Barbara, shared a similar sentiment, suggesting that Grande should apologize to her family. However, she acknowledged that some people just can’t put themselves in the unimaginable shoes of Dahmer’s victims. Barbara stated, “Unfortunately, until it happens to her and her family, she just doesn’t know what we have been through.”

Shirley and Barbara succinctly explain why Grande’s statement was so hurtful. Not only did she confess her fascination with Dahmer, but she shared it with children, demonstrating how these serial killer “fans” often foster the same morbid fascination in other people. People like Grande need to think twice before they publicly declare their interest in killers like Dahmer and consider how they would feel if they were the victims. Hughes’ family’s words may sound harsh, but it’s an important reminder that true crime is not fiction, and there are real victims involved who shouldn’t have to hear people publicly romanticizing and dreaming about having dinner with the criminals who took their loved ones from them.

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.