Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

Shirley Hughes Warns Against Awards for Story of Her Son’s Murderer, Jeffrey Dahmer

Tony Hughes was 31 years old when he was murdered by notorious serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer in 1991. Now, his mother, Shirley Hughes, is speaking out after Evan Peters won an award for portraying her son’s killer in Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. On Tuesday, Peters took home a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Limited Series for his role in the highly controversial Netflix show.

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Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story premiered on September 21, 2022, and documents the gruesome true story of Dahmer (Peters) and the murders of his 17 victims. The show is just one of many dramatizations, documentaries, and biographical films on the killer who died in prison in 1994. Just like many of the projects before it, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story drew criticism for its decision to, yet again, dramatize Dahmer’s story. These projects always raise the question of whether we really need another Dahmer biopic that shines a spotlight on a convicted killer while forcing the families of the victims to relive their trauma.

Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has especially drawn scrutiny because of how popular the show became. Its dramatization and Peters’ performance have resulted in some viewers even claiming to be fans of Dahmer or to have empathy for him. Meanwhile, the families of the victims have expressed disgust at the series for recreating their stories without permission, warning, or any financial compensation. Rita Isbell, the sister of Dahmer victim Errol Lindsey, released an emotional statement about how it felt to see Netflix profit off of her tragedy and even recreate her testimony against Dahmer without ever contacting her. Now, Hughes is also speaking out after Peters’ Golden Globe win.

Hughes warns against awarding Dahmer depictions

Hughes slammed the Golden Globes for awarding Peters for his portrayal of Dahmer. The entire series has been a nightmare for the victims of Dahmer, many more of whom have spoken out and criticized the series. However, to add to their grief, Peters was given an award for depicting the man that murdered their family members. What was especially shocking was that Peters, in his acceptance speech, made absolutely no mention of Dahmer’s victims or their families. Hughes expressed that he, at the very least, could’ve used his speech to pay tribute to Dahmer’s victims.

In addition to thanking a list of people, as is standard in acceptance speeches, Peters did briefly touch on it being a difficult role to play. However, he concluded that he hoped “some good” would come from it. Of course, he didn’t touch at all on what good he actually thought could come from the series. Victims like Hughes certainly can’t see any good coming from the show. She also had a warning following Peters’ Golden Globe win. Hughes told TMZ:

There’s a lot of sick people around the world, and people winning acting roles from playing killers keeps the obsession going and this makes sick people thrive on the fame.

Her warning is a sentiment that has been expressed before as depictions of murderers like Dahmer gain traction, fostering obsession and showing that fame can be attained through evil deeds. The detachment regarding Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has been particularly disturbing to watch. On social media, users could be seen fawning over Peters’ depiction of the killer and even calling Dahmer “hot,” while ignoring the 17 people he killed. The fact that Peters didn’t mention the victims in his acceptance speech further highlighted this eerie detachment from the true tragedy of the story. It is disheartening that the victims themselves have to keep reminding the show’s viewers, and even the cast members, of their existence.

(Via: TMZ, featured image: Netflix)


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Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant 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.