I compiled all the tea behind ‘Dahmer-Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,’ so you’re spared

As many of you probably know, the quality of Netflix content in the past few years has been almost as bad as month-old bananas. A new Netflix release that indicates this drop-in rate is “Dahmer-Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” which came out on Sept. 21.

For those like me,  who didn’t know who he was before the show’s release, Jeffrey Dahmer was an American serial killer and cannibal who committed the gruesome murders of 17 men, most of whom were people of color, between 1978 and 1991. He was finally caught in 1991 and spent the rest of his life in jail before the murder. Unlike my description of Dahmer’s life, however, the show itself doesn’t skip over the more explicit details of the murders that Dahmer committed.

 “Dahmer-Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” (we’ll just call it “Dahmer” now) was co-produced by Evan Peters and Ryan Murphy and was advertised as “ominous,” “dark,” and “LGBTQ.” 

First of all, who on Netflix thought it was okay to attach the LGBTQ tag to this show? Sure, Dahmer was gay, and many of his victims were. But a show about a queer serial killer performing gruesome acts on his queer victims both before and after their deaths is not the representation I, or anyone else in the LGBTQ+ community, asked for. When placed in the same category as the lighthearted “Heartstopperand the hilarious “Sex Education,” “Dahmer” sets back the positive, nuanced representation that people in the LGBTQ+ community have experienced in the media.

 The sheer outrage on social media caused Netflix to remove the tag without a proper explanation, likely thinking about the higher viewership they would get after the circulation of this news. 

 “Dahmer” attempts to retell the story of Jeffrey Dahmer in a way that would entertain a large audience. It does—the true crime series shot to #1 on Netflix’s daily rankings and remains one of the top 10 TV shows today. However, “Dahmer” mixes up the story of the murders Dahmer committed, making you question whether the series is a “true” crime. On the show, Glenda Cleveland is Dahmer’s neighbor and constantly alerts the uncaring police to her concerns about Dahmer after smelling an unpleasant odor coming from his apartment. However, in real life, Cleveland lived in the apartment complex next to Dahmer’s. She continuously called the cops after her daughter encountered 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone attempting to escape Dahmer’s home. The show also dramatizes Dahmer’s early fascination with consuming human blood, as he revealed in an interview that he found it disgusting. While these changes were made to enrapture the viewers, they can also alter viewers’ opinions on what happened. 

Many of you who use TikTok have probably seen the reviews of “Dahmer,” with some being quite questionable. Evan Peters’s exceptional acting and physical appearance have made viewers begin to pity Dahmer’s loneliness and “simp” over him, which is not uncommon within the true crime fandom. If this wasn’t odd enough, some viewers are even complaining about how the show wasn’t “gruesome enough,” and expressed their desire for more gore. While the show was meant to depict the victims’ stories rather than the killer’s, the advertising for the show primarily focused on Dahmer. That makes sense, considering how the current popularity of true crime leads Netflix to have a greater incentive to deliver killers’ stories, sometimes sacrificing quality over quantity. However, with yet another  depiction of Dahmer’s story, his victims become retraumatized for the umpteenth time as their stories are used again for a third party’s profit. 

The lesson to be learned from this story? Don’t keep encouraging Netflix to dish out mediocre, poorly-labeled content that blurs the line between fact and fiction without informing and compensating those involved. Because if we keep putting these shows at the top of the charts, who will stop them?