Netflix’s series Dahmer, detailing the life and crimes of a Milwaukee serial killer, has become a global sensation and one of the most talked-about shows of the year.
The program focuses on Jeffery Dahmer - a man whose crimes were so unspeakably horrific they can’t be mentioned in any sort of detail - and features graphic depiction on his 18-year-long spree.
Seventeen young men were killed by Dahmer, and he was sentenced to life in prison in 1991 after a would-be victim escaped his house of horrors and flagged down the police. However, the killer met his match in prison, and was himself murdered whilst cleaning a locker room.
Cheap And Exploitative
Dahmer’s profile has only grown in death, and the public seems to have a macabre fascination with the abominable man. Whilst it’s natural to be interested in psychology and the human condition, I find Netflix’s capitalization of Jeffery Dahmer to be nothing short of cheap and exploitative.
Let’s not forget that people like Dahmer devastated families and took innocent lives away for no reason. They shouldn’t, by any means, be given a platform, or have their cowardly crimes fall under the banner of ‘entertainment’. Dahmer’s victims weren’t anonymous characters in a TV drama, but were living, three-dimensional people with dreams and hopes.
Making a program about a fictitious serial killer is one thing, but cashing in on grieving families is another. Barely 30 years have passed since Dahmer’s arrest, and the wounds on victims’ loved ones are still fresh, and will likely never heal.
Losing Faith In Netflix
I’m slowly starting to lose faith in Netflix as they seem hellbent to make profit out of pain. None of the victims’ families were contacted prior to Dahmer’s production and, whilst the events are public record, the real names of the young men were used without approval. Is it illegal? No. Is it insensitive? In my opinion, yes.
Actor Evan Peters, who plays Dahmer, gives an accurate performance, however the exploitative material is a severe handicap. Whilst I’m all for remembering those whose lives were taken away, I think there are far more tasteful ways of doing so than serial killer programs. Let’s stop giving a platform to evil, and instead focus on the memory these 17 young men left behind.
Netflix must look at itself in the mirror. It may be the most popular streaming service in the world, but that doesn’t give its executives the right to make whatever they want.
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