Netflix’s true crime drama, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, a grizzly adaptation of Jeffrey Dahmer’s murders, has one of the platform’s most mixed responses. The show has been viewed more than 1 billion hours but has garnered controversy following reports that the show’s creators made the project without the victims’ families’ consent.
Furthermore, Evan Peters, who plays Dahmer, won a Golden Globe for his performance, which caused one of the victim’s mothers to speak out. Shirley Hughes’s son, Tony Hughes, was the serial killer’s 12th victim, depicted in the series in a debatable way considering accuracy. Hughes was only 31 and was a deaf man living in Wisconsin as an aspiring model.
Series creator Ryan Murphy claims to have reached out to the families to get their blessing and help with the show’s creation but never got a response.
“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,” Variety reported as Murphy’s statement. “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.”
The families claim the director’s show “re-traumatised” them and spoke out against using the tragic ends the victims met to make money. Shirley Hughes told TMZ: “There’s a lot of sick people around the world, and people winning acting roles from playing killers keeps the obsession going, and this makes sick people thrive on the fame” about Peters’ win.
Hughes also criticised the American Horror Story actor for failing to bring attention to the affected families. She also voiced a concern that this win will further glorify dramatic portrayals of serial killers that have detrimental responses concerning audiences who do not understand the severity of the crimes.
During his acceptance speech, Peters addressed the exhausting process of performing in the show. However, Hughes responded by noting that there was no reason to take such a role and that the actor could have refused it. She also highlighted that the families have yet to see any money from their horrific trauma being dramatised.