The Disturbing Glorification of Jeffrey Dahmer


The new Netflix drama series, “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” was released to Netflix on September 21, 2022. 

The show documents the real-life events of Jeffery Dahmer’s murderous sprees throughout the late 80s and 90s. The disturbing nature of his crimes are depicted within the series composed of 10 episodes.

Since its release, new attention has been shed on Dahmer’s crimes, attention some would argue is unnecessary and is doing more harm than good. Many people have raised issues regarding the ethics behind the production of the series. 

Many family members of the real-life victims of Dahmer’s crimes claim their pain is being exploited and are having to relive the pain they endured only a couple of decades ago. Rita Isbell, sister to Errol Lindsey, one of Dahmer’s victims, told Insider,

 “When I saw some of the show, it bothered me, especially when I saw myself — when I saw my name come across the screen and this lady saying verbatim exactly what I said. If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought it was me. Her hair was like mine, she had on the same clothes. That’s why it felt like reliving it all over again. It brought back all the emotions I was feeling back then.”

She also stated that, “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. I could even understand it if they gave some of the money to the victims’ children. … The victims have children and grandchildren. If the show benefited them in some way, it wouldn’t feel so harsh and careless. It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed.”

Issues are also being discussed regarding the romanticization and glorification of Dahmer as a result of the TV show. The actor who portrays Dahmer in the show, Evan Peters, is a popular actor, especially amongst Gen Z and fans of his performance in American Horror Story and X-Men: Apocalypse. Due to his popularity and “heart-throb” status, concerns are being raised regarding the romanization of Dahmer on account of Peter’s portrayal of him. The portrayal of murder for the sake of entertainment has also been a topic of much debate and the release of this new show only confirms the increasing presence of those concerns. 

Dahmer was infamous for targeting gay men of color in his murderous sprees. Many people questioned his reason for doing this, with the Tik Tok videos involving the search “Why Jeffery Dahmer targeted black men accumulating two million views on the platform. Many cite the theory that Dahmer knew that the police force was biased against Black, queer men in comparison to other demographics, understanding that historically they endure a lot of neglect by law enforcement. 

With the new series already accumulating 701.37 million hours watched since its release, it’s no secret that people are deeply invested in the show. However, this raises the question of whether or not that interest is morally sound and if the show should, in some way, be censored to prevent the glorification of the psychotic killer.