New Jeffrey Dahmer Series Causes Families to Speak Out

Photo courtesy of David Balev at

Lauren Scisci, Staff Writer

Netflix recently released its new series about American serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, called Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. The show gained immediate popularity on Netflix but has since been shrouded in controversy, with family members of Dahmer’s victims speaking out in protest against the series. 

The show dramatizes Dahmer’s life, flashing back to childhood memories and going into great depth about his life and murders. Premiering on September 21, the show topped the release success of Squid Game, one of Netflix’s most popular shows, with over 196 million hours of watch time.

Based on a true series of tragic murders, the show has been criticized for regurgitating the traumatic experiences of real people for monetary gain by viewers.

One popular clip from the show reenacts Rita Isbell’s speech from the 1992 court trial. Isbell was the sister of one of Dahmer’s victims, Errol Lindsay, and spoke passionately to Dahmer in court, ultimately having to be restrained by deputies. Following the release of the series, Rita Isbell has come out and said she has been unable to watch most of the series because she “lived it.”  

She further explains in an interview for Insider that “When I saw some of the show, it bothered me, especially when I saw myself — when I saw my name come across the screen and this lady saying verbatim exactly what I said. If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought it was me. Her hair was like mine, she had on the same clothes. That’s why it felt like reliving it all over again. It brought back all the emotions I was feeling back then.” 

Isbell also said that she was never in touch with the producers about the series and was never consulted about using direct quotes from the actual trial. Several other family members have stepped up seconding her opinion and expressing their disappointment in the show and how it reopened wounds for many of those who were directly involved with the murders.

The backlash at the show serves as a reminder for viewers that the people portrayed in the show were, in fact, real people with real friends and families who mourned their deaths.