“Nobody listened to me”: Netflix’s new Dahmer series glorifies the tragic murders of numerous victims

The show also exposes the systemic racism and homophobia that led to the deaths of many

Dahmer premiered on Netflix on September 21

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Dahmer premiered on Netflix on September 21

Glynnis Bastas, Arts & Culture Writer

Note: this article discusses some of the show’s most disturbing scenes of violence.


Netflix released a new documentary titled “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” on September 21. It follows the story of Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer, played by Evan Peters, and the horrific and brutal ways that he tortured and murdered 17 young boys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

From 1978 to 1991, Jeff Dahmer raped, beat and killed 17 young, gay and mostly Black men, and other people of color in Wisconsin. He would lure them into his apartment with the promise of money if they posed for nude photographs. Dahmer would give them drinks spiked with hallucinogenic drugs to perform sick and twisted experiments on them, such as boiling their bones until their skin fell off and then eating them. According to Dahmer, he wanted to be able to create ‘human zombies’ by using a drill to make a hole into the frontal lobes of his victim’s brain and then pouring muriatic acid into the holes. It would keep the victim conscious while he kept them alive to continue the torture. One of his victims, named Konerak Sinthasomphone, was just 14 years old at the time of his death.

Following the release of the series, the families of victims have spoken out about the pain and trauma they have had to re-live because of it. 

Rita Isbell, the sister of Dahmer’s victim Erroll Lindsey, said in an interview with Insider, “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. But I’m not money hungry, and that’s what this show is about, Netflix trying to get paid…”

Many critics assert that there was no consideration for the families who lost brothers, cousins, sons and loved ones. The biggest critics claim that Netflix has taken Dahmer’s and the victims’ stories and turned them into a money grab.

The LGBTQ+ community has also been outraged over Netflix tagging this show as an LGBTQ+ series. 

“Why the f*** did Netflix tag the Jeffrey Dahmer documentary, LGBTQ?” said one TikTok user. “I know it’s technically true, but this is not the representation we’re looking for.” 

It was seen as “gross” and “wrong” by both the Black and LGBTQ+ communities.

Systematic racism and homophobia ultimately left all of Dahmer’s victims to die. Glenda Cleveland, the woman who called the police after she found Konerak Sinthasomphone bleeding and unable to speak, was ignored by the police. Some of the police offers even made AIDS jokes and didn’t want to touch any gay person or anything in Dahmer’s apartment because they feared they would catch the disease. Even Black neighbors of Dahmer who could hear screaming and saws whirring at all hours of the night in his apartment were also ignored by police. No one in the different Milwaukee police departments investigated the smells and screams coming from Apartment 213, also known as a “House of Horrors.”

After Dahmer was caught in 1991, Black communities across America began to assert that this was not just a fight to keep Dahmer in jail, but it was also a fight for racial justice. According to members of the Milwaukee community who tried to call 911 to rescue Sinthasomphone from the hands of Dahmer, the police escorted the victim right back to his captor’s apartment, saying that Dahmer was indeed his boyfriend and was just very heavily intoxicated. Not one of those police officers ever asked to check Dahmer’s or Sinthasomphone’s IDs. They ignored the calls to check on the boy, and told worried citizens that “they had it under control.” If the police had just checked for an ID and listened to the women who tried to save Sinthasomphone, they would have seen that Dahmer was still on probation after getting out of prison for molesting another teenage boy.

These kinds of grizzly details, which the show includes and explores, bring the most criticism.

“It was not fair to the victims families to make this a show,” said RV senior Morgan Buker. “They are still recovering from the trauma of losing the ones they loved and now they have to see their deaths be replayed in front of them for entertainment purposes. I also thought it was disgusting how real they made the murders and characters look.” 

It was not fair to the victims families to make this a show. They are still recovering from the trauma of losing the ones they loved and now they have to see their deaths be replayed in front of them for entertainment purposes.

— senior Morgan Buker

The victims’ families should not have had to relive the traumas created by Jeffrey Dahmer and his heinous crimes. However, the show did expose the racism, prejudice and ignorance of people who are supposed to uphold the law and protect the citizens of this country. We should not glorify Dahmer and his murders. We should not remember the people who died only as victims but as people. They lived, laughed and made something of their lives that were tragically cut short. We should do better as a country to protect those who are in danger, and we cannot ignore cries for help, regardless of race, class or gender. And, more importantly, we shouldn’t be celebrating a show that makes a buck off of those who were ignored.

Say their names:  Curtis Straughter. Steven Mark Hicks. Richard Guerrero. Jeremy Weinberger. Jamie Doxtator. Ricky Beeks. Oliver Lacy. Errol Lindsey. Konerak Sinthasomphone. Ernest Miller. Anthony Hughes. Joseph Bradehoft. Matt Turner. Anthony Sears. David C. Thomas. Edward W. Smith. 

These are the people authorities chose to ignore and leave in the hands of a serial killer. Don’t let a TV show continue this injustice.