Evan Peters Sparks Outrage Over His Golden Globes Speech

After Evan Peters won the Golden Globe for Best Actor, earned portraying serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, he never mentioned the families of the victims, angering the survivors.

By Douglas Helm | Updated

Evan Peters won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series for playing the real-life killer Jeffrey Dahmer, but the mother of one of Dahmer’s victims felt his speech was lacking. Speaking to TMZ, Shirley, mother of victim Tony Hughes, said that Peters should have “used his acceptance speech to mention the families who are still suffering,” adding “It’s a shame that people can take our tragedy and make money.” While Peters did say that he hoped something good would come of the series, Shirley obviously doesn’t feel like that will be the case.

Making a real-life serial killer the focal point of a TV series or movie has been a thorny subject, especially when it comes to modern killers whose crimes are still being felt by families and survivors. While Evan Peters gave a great performance in Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, it can feel odd watching something that is so recent, and that clearly offends the people most affected by the story. There is definitely creative freedom to be had, but Shirley is more than justified in wishing that projects wouldn’t get made about her son’s killer.

“It’s a shame that people can take our tragedy and make money.”

Shirley, mother of Jeffrey Dahmer victim Tony Hughes, on Evan Peters acceptance speech

There does seem to be a particularly weird Hollywood obsession with telling this tale, specifically. Evan Peters is far from the only actor to play Jeffrey Dahmer, and the Netflix series is far from the only project to retell the story. In fact, there are around 20 projects specifically about him that have been released since 1992.

Evan Peters and Ryan Murphy have defended the series in the past, mentioning how the story sheds light on how homophobia and racism allowed Dahmer to get away with his crimes for so long. Specifically, they point out how the series highlighted that his victims were largely members of LGTBQ communities of color. One episode actually follows Shirley’s son Tony, who was black, deaf, and gay.

evan peters jeffrey dahmer
Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer

However, many of the victims’ families feel like the Evan Peters series glorifies Dahmer and that creator Ryan Murphy is exploiting their tragedy. Murphy countered that he reached out during research for the series and none of the families responded. It seems like Murphy may have set out with noble intentions to make sure the series criticized America’s racist and homophobic tendencies, but it seems the families of the victims would prefer that Hollywood would move on.

It probably doesn’t help that Evan Peters and Ryan Murphy’s efforts led to their Dahmer series racking up over 1 billion minutes viewed on Netflix. The explosion of popularity the series received meant the show was all over the news, the front page of Netflix, and social media. The series became a bit of a cultural moment, and it was likely hard for the victims’ families to avoid being exposed to it in some capacity.

It does appear that Evan Peters is ready to move on from Dahmer, as he mentioned that he’s looking to pursue lighter roles in the future. However, Monster has been renewed for more seasons with Ryan Murphy continuing to lead the series. It hasn’t been announced what real-life monsters the series will follow next.