During a press event for the record-breaking series that had the biggest debut ever on the streamer, creator Murphy told attendees that the production researched the true stories behind serial killer Dahmer’s murders for over three years. Between 1978 and 1991, Dahmer killed 17 men, mostly targeting BIPOC queer males.
Murphy said that production reached out to 20 victims’ families and friends, but “not a single person responded” prior to the series airing.
“It’s something that we researched for a very long time,” Murphy said at an event for the show at the DGA Theatre in Los Angeles (via The Hollywood Reporter). “And we, 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. 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 to us trying to uncover the truth of these people.”
“Monster” has sparked controversy over its accuracy, with Evan Peters playing the titular Dahmer. Eric Perry, cousin of Jeffrey Dahmer victim Errol Lindsey, tweeted that the show’s decision to recreate “my cousin’s emotional breakdown in court in the face of the man who tortured and murdered her brother is WILD.”
“So when they say they’re doing this ‘with respect to the victims’ or ‘honoring the dignity of the families,’ no one contacts them,” Perry penned. “My cousins wake up every few months at this point with a bunch of calls and messages and they know there’s another Dahmer show. It’s cruel.”
Anne Schwartz, a journalist who broke the story of Dahmer’s killings when she worked as a crime reporter for the Milwaukee Journal in 1991, said “Monster” is “not a helpful representation” of events and “does not bear a great deal of resemblance to the facts of the case.”
Murphy offered to pay for a memorial himself to honor the victims, but added, “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.”
Director Paris Barclay, who helmed episodes 6 and 10, said the show is “about celebrating these victims.”
“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,” Barclay said at the press event. “And they came from all sorts of different places, but they were real people.”
Murphy added, “Something that we talked a lot in the making of it is we weren’t so much interested in Jeffrey Dahmer, the person, but what made him the monster that he became. It’s really about white privilege. It’s about systemic racism. It’s about homophobia.”