‘Dahmer’: Ryan Murphy Responds to Accusations He Ignored Victims’ Families

Evan Peters in Dahmer
Ser Baffo/Netflix

Ryan Murphy‘s latest series, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, has become a massive hit on Netflix but has also received backlash for dramatizing the victims’ stories and sensationalizing Dahmer’s horrific crimes.

Speaking at an event for the show at the DGA Theatre in Los Angles on Thursday (October 27), Murphy explained that he and his team “researched for a very long time” before making the series and “reached out to around 20 of the victims’ families and friends” over the three and a half years spent writing the drama.

“We reached out to 20, around 20 of the victims’ families and friends trying to get input, trying to talk to people, and not a single person responded to us in that process,” the writer-director said (via The Hollywood Reporter). “So we relied very, very heavily on our incredible group of researchers who… I don’t even know how they found a lot of this stuff. But it was just like a night and day effort to us trying to uncover the truth of these people.”

Earlier this month, Shirley Hughes, the mother of Tony Hughes, who was in a relationship with Dahmer before he was murdered, said the series dramatized her son’s story. “It didn’t happen like that,” she told The Guardian. Meanwhile, Eric Perry, the cousin of Dahmer victim Errol Lindsey, wrote on Twitter that his family didn’t find out about the series until it premiered on Netflix on September 21.

Lindsey’s sister, Rita Isbell, who is portrayed in the series during a courtroom scene, said that the show felt “harsh and careless.”

Fellow director Paris Barclay said the aim of the series was to show the victims as people and not just statistics. “We really want it to be about celebrating these victims,” Barclay stated. “When Tony writes ‘I won’t disappear’ on that last card, that’s what this show is about. It’s about making sure these people are not erased by history and that they have a place and that they’re recognized and that they were important and that they lived full lives.”

Murphy also addressed the calls for a memorial to honor the victims, saying, “I would even be happy to pay for it myself.” He added, “I do think there should be something. And we’re trying to get a hold of people to talk about that. I think there’s some resistance because they think the park would attract people who are interested in paying homage to the macabre… but I think something should be done.”

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, Now Streaming, Netflix