Rita Isbell, the sister of one of the victims of Jeffrey Dahmer, has spoken out against the new Netflix series.
Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is the latest Netflix series about the notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and now one of the victim’s family members has spoken out against the series. Rita Isbell, sister of victim Errol Lindsey, wrote an essay for Insider where she states “I feel like Netflix should’ve asked if we mind or how we felt about making it.”
Isbell went on saying “It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed.” Isbell also mentioned in the essay that none of the victims’ children or grandchildren are receiving any compensation for the Jeffrey Dahmer Netflix series.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix, and Ryan Murphy Productions both declined to comment at this time. Since the Jeffrey Dahmer case is a matter of public record, it does mean the creators don’t have to notify or pay the families of the victims. It’s certainly a moral grey area, especially when the tragedy was relatively recent and there are many living relatives affected by the crimes.
Jeffrey Dahmer was convicted of killing over 17 men between the years 1978 and 1991. He was given 15 consecutive life sentences for his crimes. Rita Isbell gave a victim impact statement in 1992 during Dahmer’s sentencing.
Isbell is portrayed in Netflix’s Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, which likely makes it even harder for her to watch. Specifically, her victim impact statement is recreated in the series. Understandably, it seems that Isbell is tired of Hollywood’s obsession with shows, movies, and documentaries about her brother’s killer.
Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is co-created by Ian Brennan and Ryan Murphy, who has a deal with Netflix. The limited series was released on September 21 and stars Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer. The cast is rounded out by Richard Jenkins, Molly Ringwald, Penelope Ann Joyce, Michael Learned, and Niecy Nash.
The series consists of ten episodes and set out with the goal of showing how systematic racism in the Milwaukee Police Department contributed to Jeffrey Dahmer being able to get away with his crimes for so long. Out of Dahmer’s 17 victims, 11 of them were Black. While the goal to show the Dahmer murders from a different angle seems noble, it’s hard to ignore the impact that the show is having on the relatives of the victims.
Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story isn’t even the only Dahmer-related media that Netflix is releasing this year. The streamer is also planning on releasing Conversations With a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes on October 7. While the true crime genre is incredibly popular right now, it does seem like the right thing to do here is for Netflix and the creators of the shows to talk to the families of the victims to get their perspectives.
There are certainly arguments to be made for both sides of this story. While Netflix has no obligation to talk to the victims or compensate them, it seems like it could possibly help the situation. While no one is saying the true crime genre should go away altogether, it does seem like there are some ethical issues that could be ironed out to make it easier on the people that lived through the crimes.