Following the show’s premiere, Eric Perry, cousin of Jeffrey Dahmer victim Errol Lindsey, took to social media to voice his disgust with Netflix and the creative choices in “Dahmer.” In a quote tweet that compares a scene from the Netflix series to the real courtroom footage from Dahmer’s trial, Perry condemned the show, arguing “it’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?”
Iâ€™m not telling anyone what to watch, I know true crime media is huge rn, but if youâ€™re actually curious about the victims, my family (the Isbellâ€™s) are pissed about this show. Itâ€™s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need? https://t.co/CRQjXWAvjx
— eric. (@ericthulhu) September 22, 2022
Perry further pointed to the lack of sensitivity toward the living, many of whom are depicted in the series — without their knowledge, let alone consent. As he explains, because the information is all public record, there was no obligation or requirement for Ryan Murphy Productions to contact those involved in the story, so his “family found out when everyone else did.” Using actual trauma for the sake of entertainment can easily cross the line into exploitation; as Perry states in a tweet, “Recreating my cousin having an emotional breakdown in court in the face of the man who tortured and murdered her brother is WILD.”
I can only imagine how violated and disgusted I would feel if I was Rita Isbell, seeing an actor dressed like me recreating such an intensely personal, devastating moment. The purpose of these courtroom testimonies is to find justice, not to entertain. It’s frankly disappointing that, in 2022, we’re still so callously fascinated with figures like Jeffrey Dahmer.
According to IndieWire, the official word from “Dahmer” is that this wasn’t the intention:
The show’s production team has defended the project, saying that the goal was never to humanize Dahmer but instead to show the perspectives of the victims and explain the ways that race and sexuality informed the killings.