Jeffrey Dahmer: did Netflix approach families ahead of production? Why families are hurt by new series

Rita Isbell, whose brother Errol Lindsey was murdered by Dahmer said watching herself depicted in the series was like ‘living it all over again’

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Netflix’s latest true crime drama Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has topped the streaming charts in 60 countries.

The 10 part series created by Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story) and Ian Brennan (Glee), tells the story of one of America’s most infamous serial killers who was reponsible for the gruesome murders of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991.

The new series has renewed interest in the notorious crimes, with people taking to social media urging viewers not to romanticise Evan Peters (American Horror Story, Mare of Easttown) depiction of the serial killer.

Family members of the victims have also taken to Twitter to claim that they had not been approached prior to production, only finding out “when everyone else did” and that the series had further “retraumatised” them.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Evan Peters in DahmerEvan Peters in Dahmer
Evan Peters in Dahmer

What is Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story?

Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is a 10 part true crime series that tells the story of one of America’s most infamous serial killers.

Starring Peters as Dahmer it is directed by American Horror Story’s Ryan Murphy.

Netflix’s synopsis describes it as: “DAHMER shines a spotlight on the as-yet untold stories of Dahmer’s victims, the people who tried to stop him, and the systemic failures that enabled him to continue his murderous spree for over a decade.”

What have victim’s relatives said?

Following the release of the series, victim’s relatives have been taking to social media to share their feelings on the Netflix drama.

Eric Perry, a cousin of Dahmer victim Errol Lindsey took to Twitter to share that the family had not been contacted by show creators and that the series had been “retraumatizing”.

He said: “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?”

Adding: “They don’t notify families when they do this. It’s all public record, so they don’t have to notify (or pay!) anyone. My family found out when everyone else did.

“So when they say they’re doing this ‘with respect to the victims’ or ‘honoring the dignity of the families,’ no one contacts them. My cousins wake up every few months at this point with a bunch of calls and messages and they know there’s another Dahmer show. It’s cruel.”

Netflix dramatization of Rita Isbell’s victim impact statement (Pic: COURTESY OF NETFLIX)Netflix dramatization of Rita Isbell’s victim impact statement (Pic: COURTESY OF NETFLIX)
Netflix dramatization of Rita Isbell’s victim impact statement (Pic: COURTESY OF NETFLIX)

Rita Isbell, sister of Lindsey whose harrowing victim impact statement is featured in the Netflix drama, spoke to Insider, again reiterating that her family had not been contacted and that seeing herself on the show was like “living it all over again.”

Isbell said: “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. 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.

“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.”

What has Netflix said?

In the show’s synopsis Netflix says the series tells the “untold stories of Dahmer’s victims”, however they have not addressed the claims made by victim’s relatives.

The actress Dasha Barnes who played Rita Isbell, reflected on Twitter about her experience taking on the role.

In a post which shared the video comparing her performance to Isbell’s original statement, her caption read: “I feel really honored to be trusted with telling this part of this horrific story. I’m grateful the victims weren’t an afterthought but their humanity and perspectives were reflected in this series.

Netflix and Ryan Murphy Productions have not yet responded to NationalWorld’s requests for comment.