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Families Of Dahmer Victims Speak Out About Netflix Show

The sheer number of movies and television series on the subject indicates that the United States has a twisted affection for serial killers. Hollywood has long been cashing in on the stories of the worst individuals to emerge from the great American experiment, and the true crime boom has only fanned the flames. In the last few years, we've seen two films about the notorious serial killer Ted Bundy alone: "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile" and "No Man of God."

However, when it comes to television, it seems no killer has been as high-profile as Jeffrey Dahmer. 2017's "My Friend Dahmer" looks at the Milwaukee Monster's coming of age, and the forthcoming documentary series "Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes" hits Netflix on October 7. Most recently, the murderer and sex offender is the subject of "Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story." The series has hit a significant milestone for Netflix, surpassing 300 million hours viewed. Still, "The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" has its share of critics, many of whom are the relatives of Dahmer's victims. Now, those families have begun to speak out about the divisive series.

The victims' families have condemned the series for being exploitative

Despite the immense popularity of "Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story," the series is getting intense backlash as new details emerge. A production assistant recounted the awful conditions on set. Netflix raised eyebrows for its ham-handed application of an "LGBTQ" tag — a tone-deaf designation considering that Dahmer preyed on queer people of color. Most damning has been the reaction from the victims' families, many of whom have condemned the series for being retraumatizing and exploitative.

In a piece for Insider, Rita Isbell — whose brother, Errol Lindsey, was murdered by Dahmer in 1991 — denounced Netflix for failing to reach out to her, even though they recreated her victim's statement. "I was never contacted about the show," she said. "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." Isbell also added, "It's sad that they're just making money off of this tragedy. That's just greed." Eric Perry, another relative of Lindsey's, said that the series was "retraumatizing over and over again, and for what?" (via New York Times).

For these families, the reimagining of their trauma comes as a shock. While Ryan Murphy has a reputation for creating violent and dark series, like "American Horror Story," given the real pain and suffering of Dahmer's victims' families, many believe that the series' creators should have taken much more care.

Members of Milwaukee's Black queer community are especially disappointed in Ryan Murphy

Eric Wynn, a former drag queen at Club 219 in Milwaukee, similarly noted the streamer's rapaciousness. "It couldn't be more wrong, more ill-timed, and it's a media grab," he told The New York Times. For Wynn, the series is incredibly disappointing coming from creator Ryan Murphy, who also created the inclusive, joyful "Pose." "I was so impressed; we finally had representation that we were involved in," said Wynn. "And then he turns around and does this, somebody who is actually attacking the Black gay community."

Murphy reportedly set out to tell Dahmer's story with the victims at the center. "It's how society and our system failed to stop him multiple times because of racism and homophobia," said star Evan Peters (via NBC). "Everybody gets their side of the story told." For the victims' families, Murphy failed to meet that goal. Of Dahmer's years-long reign of terror over the queer community in Milwaukee, Wynn said, "That's a scar on our city."