Ryan Murphy Claims He Reached Out to Families While Making Dahmer Series
Ryan Murphy’s latest production for Netflix, the factually-based drama series Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has become one of the most-watched shows on the streaming platform, but it has not been without its controversies. Each time a true crime documentary or dramatization is released, the conversation begins anew over whether this art form is educational or sensationalized, whether it honors victims or glorifies killers.
In the case of Monster, the living families of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims have criticized the show on a couple of different fronts, calling out what they deem to be inaccurate portrayals of real life events, and accusing executive producer Ryan Murphy and his team of retraumatizing them and profiting from their pain, all without consulting them or asking for permission or input.
At a recent live panel in Los Angeles, Murphy responded to accusations of icing out family members, and claimed that he actually did attempt to contact several of them during the writing and pre-production stages—and that nobody responded.
“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, and not a single person responded to us in that process,” he said. “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 trying to uncover the truth of these people.”
This appears to directly contradict what a number of family members have said, including Eric Perry, cousin of Errol Lindsey. “They don’t notify families when they do this,” he tweeted after the show dropped. “My family found out when everyone else did… So when they say they’re doing this ‘with respect to the victims’ or ‘honoring the dignity of the families’, no one contacts them.”
Shirley Hughes, the mother of Tony Hughes, has also spoken about this “I don’t see how they can do that,” she told the Guardian. “I don’t see how they can use our names and put stuff out like that out there.”
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.
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