Netflix's Dahmer Faces Complaints From O.G. Journalist And Crew Member As It Remains #1 Streaming Series

Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer getting a mugshot taken at the police station.
(Image credit: Netflix)

Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has made quite the impression since it debuted last month as part of the 2022 TV schedule. As of this writing, the Ryan Murphy-created limited series is the No.1 trending TV show on Netflix and has generated plenty of buzz on social media. That attention, however, isn’t all positive, as the show has garnered a number of detractors. Among them are a veteran journalist who covered Dahmer’s case years ago and a crew member from the show. 

The journalist in question is Anne E. Schwartz, who worked for the Milwaukee Journal as a crime reporter when Jeffrey Dahmer’s murders came to light in the early ‘90s. Schwartz takes issue with the show because she believes that it takes “artistic license” when it comes to important aspects of the situation. Schwartz’s recent comments seem to indicate that she’s aware of the discourse surrounding the recently released show. With that, she wishes that she could tell critics that the tragic chain of events “didn’t necessarily turn out that way.” She went on to assert that one of the first alleged inaccuracies happens within the first few minutes of the first episode. According to her, Glenda Cleveland (played by Niecy Nash on the show) was not actually Dahmer’s neighbor:

In the first five minutes of the first episode you have Glenda Cleveland knocking on his door. None of that ever happened. I had trouble with buy-in, because I knew that was not accurate. But people are not watching it that way, they’re watching it for entertainment.

While speaking with The Independent, Anne E. Schwartz pointed out another specific detail that’s allegedly inaccurate. In Dahmer, the police officers investigating the case are depicted as being racist and homophobic. Schwartz, who spent a significant amount of time with the cops, said that wasn't the case:

I’ve spent a lot of time with them, interviewing the people who were at the scene. Again this is a dramatisation, but at a time when it is not exactly easy for law enforcement to get trust and buy in from the community, it’s not a very helpful representation.

As the debate regarding the accuracy of the show has raged on, another controversy has arisen, and it pertains to the making of the production. Ahead of the series’ debut, production assistant Kim Alsup posted tweets, in which she discussed her purported experiences on set. Alsup claimed that she was “treated horribly” and that as one of only two Black crew members on set, she was regularly mistaken for her colleague. Regarding the situation, he specifically said to The Los Angeles Times

It was one of the worst shows that I’ve ever worked on … I was always being called someone else’s name, the only other Black girl who looked nothing like me, and I learned the names for 300 background extras.

Kim Alsup, who’s also worked on shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Dear White People, called the experience “exhausting” and at the time, said that she was not planning to watch the show. Alsup said that “the trailer itself gave [her] PTSD” and that’s “why [she] ended up writing that tweet and [she] didn’t think that anybody was going to read.” The PA also alleges that there was no mental health counselor on set. Per The LA Times, Netflix did not comment on her claims, though a spokesperson said that all crew members have access to a licensed therapist along with other resources. 

Aside from these claims, the show has received mostly mixed to negative reviews from critics. Meanwhile, the lead of the Dahmer cast, Evan Peters, has received wild reactions from social media commentators due to his performance.. The show also drew outrage because it featured the LGBTQ+ genre tag on Netflix, which eventually removed the label. As the discourse continues, one wonders if the streamer and the show’s creatives will formally address the claims of inaccuracy and toxic workplace conditions.

Those who are curious, though, can watch Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story using a Netflix subscription.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.