Dahmer: The Monsters Behind The Show

The Dahmer show raised many concerns within the Netflix community regarding the victims families, as well as within the school.


Jacob Bardy, Writer

On September 21, 2022, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story debuted on Netflix. The series was created by acclaimed writer and producer, Ryan Murphy, who is well known for shows such as American Horror Story and Glee. While the show quickly became popular, reaching #1 on Netflix in the first week of its release, it wasn’t long before the show’s controversies followed. 

Immediately following the release of the show, viewers were quick to point out that one of the tags the show was listed under was ‘lgbtq+.’ It was even more troubling when viewers pointed out that the ‘true crime’ tag was missing, with one TikTok user stating “this is not the representation we’re looking for.” Following the flood of backlash, Netflix quietly removed the tag from the show. However, this controversy was only the beginning.

On September 26, Rita Isbell–the sister of Errol Lindsey, one of Dahmer’s victims–gave an interview with Insider.com about her feelings on the show and how it felt to give her emotional victim impact statement during Dahmer’s 1992 sentencing. She spoke about when she got behind the stand and faced Dahmer for the first time, she felt that she was ‘face-to-face with pure evil.” She then moved to talking about the show’s impact on her. “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.” But the kicker is that she “was never contacted about the show… they didn’t ask [her] anything. They just did it.” 

Following this, on October 16, Tatiana Banks came forward to speak on her experience with the show. Banks is Errol Lindsey’s daughter, who was born six months after Dahmer murdered Lindsey. She felt that she was in a place where she had somewhat come to terms with what befell her father. “That chapter of my life was closed and they reopened it.” She had largely avoided programs about Dahmer, but she decided to watch the episode in which it depicted her aunt, Rita Isbell, giving her victim impact speech. However, due to the disturbing nature of the show, she couldn’t bring herself to watch any more episodes. The episode disturbed her so deeply that it’s impacting her ability to sleep. “Ever since that show’s been on I haven’t been able to sleep. I see Jeffrey Dahmer in my sleep.”

However, the effects of the show don’t just stop at the victims. The effects have been vast and far-reaching, with the show’s instant popularity. GCHS Senior Aurora Barth voiced her opinion on the popularity of the show and its effects. “I think we’re just a bit desensitized as a society to those kinds of things… [I think] the show shouldn’t have been made in the first place.” The feeling of desensitization seems fairly universal to most people talking about the show. GCHS Senior Sophia Monsevais had quite a bit to say on this as well. “I think they toned it down a bit. I’ve researched Dahmer, and I’ve seen the photos [published from] the crime scene. But also I think I’m way too desensitized to this kind of stuff at this point.”