Fans Are Demanding a Netflix Boycott Over This "Disgraceful" True Crime Series
A miniseries about Jeffrey Dahmer is getting backlash from one victim's family members, among others.
True crime series still draw in audiences and get them talking, but one new Netflix show has some viewers so upset they're calling for a boycott of the service. Dahmer stars Evan Peters as notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and includes fictionalized accounts of his early life, the murders he committed, and the trial that found him sentenced to 15 counts of life in prison. It premiered on the service on Sept. 21, and while it's reportedly Netflix's biggest series debut ever, it's also led to some angry backlash.
While the content of the show itself is clearly upsetting, the issue for some critics is not just that the show centers an actual serial killer. Read on to find out why Dahmer has so many, including one victim's family members, condemning Netflix.
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One victim's sister has spoken out.
In an "as told to" essay for Insider, Rita Isbell, the sister of Dahmer victim Errol Lindsey, claimed that she wasn't notified about the Netflix series, even though an actor's reenactment of her passionate victim impact statement during the trial is included in Dahmer.
"I was never contacted about the show. 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," Isbell said.
She continued, "I could even understand it if they gave some of the money to the victims' children. Not necessarily their families. I mean, I'm old. I'm very, very comfortable. But the victims have children and grandchildren. If the show benefited them in some way, it wouldn't feel so harsh and careless."
The show made Isbell felt like she was "reliving" the events over again.
Isbell told Insider that she only watched one episode that included her as a character, as played by DaShawn Barnes.
"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," she explained. "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."
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Another family member called Dahmer "retraumatizing."
In addition to Isbell speaking out, a cousin of Lindsey's, Eric Perry, denounced the series on Twitter.
"I'm not telling anyone what to watch, I know true crime media is huge rn, but if you're actually curious about the victims, my family (the Isbell's) are pissed about this show. It's retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?" Perry wrote.
He continued in a second tweet, "Like recreating my cousin having an emotional breakdown in court in the face of the man who tortured and murdered her brother is WILD. WIIIIIILD."
Even people unconnected to the murders are calling out the series.
Most viewers don't have the direct connection that Isbell and Perry do, but some still see the potential harm Dahmer could cause family and friends of the killer's victims. It's also been noted that most of the men Dahmer targeted were racial minorities, which adds another layer to the dramatization of the case.
"Maybe it is time to boycott @netflix once and for all," Twitter user @CharlieelovesU wrote. "The lack of empathy, emotional intelligence or just overall humanity with this new Dahmer series shows how re-exploiting black pain and trauma (because the victim's relatives are still alive) gains precedence over morality."
@liv_romano tweeted, "Raise your hand if you think Netflix should be SIGNIFICANTLY COMPENSATING Jeffery Dahmer's victims' families for releasing the new docuseries WITHOUT their consent AND that the city of Milwaukee should FINALLY put up a memorial for the victims."
@HifromtheFuture posted, "I implore all of you not to watch the new dahmer movie. Family of a victim has stepped forward and asked that we don't hype it. They weren't consulted. Their feelings weren't considered. Please do not allow the movie to get any larger."
"Why do they have a series about Jeffrey Dahmer killing black men we need to boycott this disrespectful [expletive] it's disgraceful to the families," wrote @Candace86545977.
This isn't the only controversy the series has faced.
On top of being called out for being insensitive to the victims and their families, Dahmer also made headlines for one of the tags Netflix put on the miniseries. On the streaming service, Dahmer was categorized under "LGBTQ"; the serial murderer was gay, as were some of his victims. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, a viral TikTok video from user @lizthelezbo says that while the tag is "technically true … this is not the representation we're looking for."
Others spoke out on social media, as well, and the "LGBTQ" tag has since been removed on Netflix.
Best Life has reached out to Netflix for comments on Isbell's comments and the general backlash but has not yet received a response.