After backlash from angry families of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims who said that they never heard from Ryan Murphy’s series about his Netflix series “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” Murphy claims that he did reach out to “around 20” relatives and friends, but “not a single person responded to us.”
“Over the course of the three, three-and-a-half years when we were really writing it, working on it, we reached out to 20, around 20, of the victims’ families and friends trying to get input, trying to talk to people,” said Murphy, speaking at an event at the DGA Theater in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “And not a single person responded to us in that process.”
This contradicts statements made by family members including Rita Isbell, the sister of Dahmer victim Errol Lindsey, whose emotional real-life court scenes were recreated for the series.
In a September article for Insider, she wrote, “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.”
Lindsey’s cousin Eric Perry also tweeted, “No, they don’t notify families when they do this. It’s all public record, so they don’t have to notify (or pay!) anyone. My family found out when everyone else did.”
On Thursday, Paris Barclay, who directed two episodes of “Dahmer,” said he and Murphy’s goal with the series was to honor the victims.
“We really want it to be about celebrating these victims,” Barclay said. ” 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. And they came from all sorts of different places, but they were real people.”
He added, “They weren’t just numbers. They weren’t just pictures on billboards and telephone poles. They were real people with loving families, breathing, living, hoping. That’s what we wanted it to be about.”
Murphy said he would pay for a memorial in Milwaukee for the victims, an issue cast member Niecy Nash raised during the discussion. “Anything that we could do to get that to happen, you know, I would even be happy to pay for it myself. I 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,” he said.
Thomas M. Jacobson, who represented the victims’ families after Dahmer’s trial in 1992 and worked diligently to see that Dahmer himself never profited from his crimes, told TheWrap, “the memorial contribution for the Dahmer victims by Ryan Murphy seems likes an afterthought.”
“Milwaukee wanted Dahmer memory to disappear, so not wanting any remembrance of his mayhem in the community is a given,” Jacobson said. “The only meaningful Dahmer victim family action on Murphy’s part would be a monetary consideration from the Netflix profits for their exploitation and continuing trauma.”
Isbell would like to see money go to the victim’s “children and grandchildren.” In her September, essay, she wrote, “If the show benefited them in some way, it wouldn’t feel so harsh and careless.”