Netflix's Dahmer Creator Ryan Murphy Claims The Show Actually Did Attempt To Get Input From Victims' Families

Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer at a trial in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.
(Image credit: Netflix)

In the weeks since Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has been released, intense popularity and criticism has followed. While those with a Netflix subscription kept it in Netflix’s Top 10, and in the No. 1 spot for a while, there is also a lot of criticism surrounding the true crime story. A lot of the controversy is in regard to how the family of Dahmer’s victims feels about the show. Now, its creator Ryan Murphy is speaking up, saying they did try to get input from the victims’ families. 

Both Murphy, the creator, and Evan Peters, who plays Dahmer, have spoken about trying to tell the story of the victims. Rather, they wanted to shine a light on the serial killer’s “unconscionable crimes” and show how “underserved victims and their communities” were “impacted by the systemic racism and institutional failures of the police,” the show’s description, via THR, says. THR reported that Murphy spoke about the process of creating the show, and said at an event: 

It’s something that we researched for a very long time. And we — over the course of the three, three and a half years when we were really writing it, working on it — we reached out to 20, around 20, of the victims’ families and friends trying to get input, trying to talk to people. And not a single person responded to us in that process. So we relied very, very heavily on our incredible group of researchers who… I don’t even know how they found a lot of this stuff. But it was just like a night and day effort to us trying to uncover the truth of these people.

Along with what he said about the research they did for the show, Murphy also spoke about the goal of Dahmer, saying: 

Something that we talked a lot in the making of it is we weren’t so much interested in Jeffrey Dahmer, the person, but what made him the monster that he became. We talked a lot about that… and we talked about it all the time. It’s really about white privilege. It’s about systemic racism. It’s about homophobia.

While the creatives behind the series have spoken about the caution and care they put into making it, Dahmer has been called out by many, and has become a fairly large controversial topic. Many have spoken out against the show including Rita Isbell, the sister of one of Dahmer’s victims. She noted that she was never contacted about the show. Along with her, Shirley Hughes, the mother of one of the victims said she couldn’t see why or how the show was able to use their names. 

Other people, including the journalist who broke the story as well as people who worked on the show, and friends of the victims have spoken out against it. Most recently it was reported that Dahmer’s father was allegedly thinking about suing Netflix over the limited series, saying he was never contacted about the show.

The controversy around this show seems to grow every week. Now with Murphy saying they tried to contact family members of Dahmer’s victims with no response the situation around the show has grown more complex. 

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.