Netflix ‘Dahmer’ Fans’ Gross Reaction to the Series Sparks Outcry
There is a new Netflix series out there that tells the very told story of Jeffrey Dahmer, a serial killer and cannibal who targeted gay men (primarily Black and brown gay men) and would experiment on them. It is not easy to watch. It’s disturbing, upsetting, horrific, and true. Like much of true crime, though, those “fans” of the genre have taken to idolizing the killers they deem their faves, which is what is happening with Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story as “fans” (meaning mainly white women and white men) are taking to social media to comment on the series.
As someone who does like to examine true crime but more specifically, watch these fictionalized tellings to see how they give the story back to the victims, Monster is, well, interesting. It’s still a lot about Jeffrey Dahmer, and the episode so far that I’ve found the most compelling is the episode about Tony Hughes, who Dahmer killed, but even then, the series did not contact the families of the victims or give money to them for this story, so it is still a hollow gesture to give back to the families who lost their loved ones to the monster that the show is highlighting. What the series has also done is bring in Dahmer “super fans” who have felt the need to comment on how the show wasn’t gory enough for them.
I just want to point out that this is real. This is a thing that happened in our real life, mainly to marginalized people, and people are logging onto TikTok and sharing their thoughts on the series and their thirst for Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer, and it’s truly terrifying to see. The TikTok that kicked off the commentary has since been deleted (GOOD), but the user in question wrote “When everyone is freaking out about how ‘morbid’ the new Dahmer show is…And you’re just bummed they didn’t show the actual morbid parts…” and zooms in on her earrings that are OF Jeffrey Dahmer’s face. That is not normal behavior, sorry! You shouldn’t be wearing earrings of these guys.
Many were quick to call out this behavior for what it is: horrific. We should all be uneasy with the series because we’re watching mainly Black and brown gay men get brutally murdered, consumed, and often burned with acid. Dahmer is not someone we should be “idolizing” or wearing merchandize for, and it’s frankly upsetting seeing the reaction from these white men and women on TikTok.
Users began to post their own videos with the audio from the original TikTok, calling out this behavior.
The problem with not highlighting the victims
There are lots of reasons why things like this happen, but this is definitely a sickness caused by the lack of focus on the victims of these monsters. We’re constantly thrown information about the killers themselves and the names of their victims are, often, just listed on the screen. We rarely learn about their hopes and dreams that these men took from them, and we don’t get to spend time with the victims in these fictionalized retellings.
It’s why I like things like Zodiac that give me information I didn’t know about the Zodiac Killer, but I’m not following some fictionalized story about this man they know nothing about. I am learning about the victims and the people who were trying to stop him. Things like Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story just continue to give the focus to the monster in question, and if anything, the series does a LOT of trying to explain away why Dahmer was who he was.
It highlights his relationship to his parents and the homophobia he experienced in his home. And all of that does not excuse his actions. He’s rightfully labeled a monster by many, and the show giving this side to him is just going to make more people who have earrings of Jeffrey Dahmer out there or are in love with him because he’s played by Evan Peters.
The series should have been about the victims. The Tony Hughes episode is a standout because we got his story, but even then, the series didn’t reach out to families (or at least some of the families have spoken out against it), and if we’re going to keep on telling the same stories about these monsters without highlighting who these victims were and paying those hurt by them, what is the actual point?
Gore should not be your objective when watching something about a real monster and his very real victims. And if that happens to be your draw to true crime? Well, then that’s something that you should really examine within yourself.
(featured image: Netflix)
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