Amid Dahmer's Controversial Popularity, People Vs. O.J. Subject Kim Goldman Calls Out Ryan Murphy For Not Contacting Victims' Families

Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer watching a TV in Dahmer.
(Image credit: Netflix)

While Dahmer - Monster: the Jeffrey Dahmer Story has been the talk of the 2022 TV schedule and watched by millions, it has also faced a lot of controversies. One of the biggest issues people have spoken out about is the show not contacting the victims’ families to ask for permission to make the show. It turns out this has been an issue across many of the true crime shows Ryan Murphy has made, as Kim Goldman, the sister of one of the victims in the People vs. O.J. Simpson case spoke out about the problem. 

For a bit of background, Kim Goldman’s brother Ron Goldman was murdered in Los Angeles along with Nicole Brown Simpson, and the trial that followed was a nationally known case that drew in a lot of attention. Then a few years ago Murphy created a limited series about the trial called The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. In an interview with EW Kim opened up about the show and explained that she was not contacted before it came out. She said: 

I was bombarded — bombarded — with news, and phone calls, and emails, and my feed, and I had no fricking idea what was going on. So, either I had to choose to watch so that I could be part of the conversation or not. It's unnecessary, to not be able to just send an email that says, 'Hey, we're doing this about your family. I'm so sorry. We hope that you're proud of the work that we've done.'

The reason a lot of true crime shows are able to be made without permission is that the cases are public record. However, many have spoken out about how traumatizing rewatching the events are, and how to hurt they were by not being asked permission. In Dahmer’s case, a sister of one of the victims spoke out saying she wished Netflix would have reached out. Also, the mother of one of the victims said she couldn't figure out how they were able to tell these stories without permission from those who actually lived them.

According to Kim, this isn’t much of a surprise. She used another one of Murphy’s movies as an example, saying: 

I'm not surprised. The same creator did the same thing to our family. I've seen [this type of backlash] from Gabby Petito's family about the Lifetime movie. Lots of other families have talked about how their case has been exploited without any involvement or even a courtesy call. It's pretty gross.

She also brought up one example where Murphy did ask permission to tell a story. This was for the latest installment of American Crime Story, called Impeachment, which followed the relationship of Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton. Lewinsky was an executive producer on the show. Kim explained: 

I scroll and I see what's trending and it bothers me, because I know what those [families] are enduring. I can bet my mortgage on the fact that they weren't included in the process, or told about it, so I'm making that assumption. I made that assumption about the Ryan Murphy show Impeachment about Monica Lewinsky. I actually tweeted about it, and they said, ‘Oh no, Monica's the executive producer.’ I'm like, ‘Oh, maybe you got it right this time!’ [Laughs] But it's upsetting because it's par for the course. It has spawned a conversation within some folks in the victim advocacy world about whether or not there's something we can do about that. I am curious if there's anything that can be done.

While true crime is a controversial genre, it’s also wildly popular. Dahmer remained the No. 1 series on Netflix for weeks, and when it was bumped down to No. 2 another one of Murphy’s true crime series, The Watcher, took its place. 

Each week more people speak out about how uncomfortable these shows have made them, especially those who were directly involved with the case. It will be interesting to see how the conversation around true crime evolves. 

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.