Opinion | Stop creating serial killer media

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Photo courtesy of Netflix/TNS

Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in Netflix’s “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.” Columnist Sanchita Teeka argues that it is immoral for media companies to keep creating serial killer media.

By Sanchita Teeka, Columnist

People love serial killer shows, movies, articles, podcasts and quite literally any type of true crime media. This trend boomed over the pandemic when people had the time to get into podcasts. Now, major entertainment companies continue to produce biopics based on the trauma of real people, often without the consent of the families involved. 

In fact, none of the family members of Dahmer’s victims were asked for consent or given a warning about the new Netflix series, “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.” Given how incredibly graphic and gruesome the depictions are, this choice by Netflix was incredibly unethical.

Rita Isbell, the sister of Errol Isbell, a victim of Jeffrey Dahmer, delivered a victim impact statement at the real-life trial of Jeffrey Dahmer. Her statement was used in the series without her consent or warning. In fact, she only found out when she watched the show for the first time. The show only forced people to relive their trauma all in pursuit of making money. 

Furthermore, these media companies continue to portray these real-life villains with conventionally attractive actors and in scenes that show them in an attractive light. This only enables the people who already romanticize these real-life villains.

On social media, criticisms of the show are not of this immoral process but rather that the depictions weren’t brutal enough. Some tone-deaf viewers even brag about being numb to the content, saying they were “unfazed” and unaffected by the series.

This is not okay. This is not something to be proud of. 

Our generation’s obsession with serial killers and true crime has come to a point where the production of this media is not only unethical but it’s also just weird. The obsession with serial killers has become such a problem that people have detached from the reality of this media. 

It’s come to the point where people have even tattooed Jeffrey Dahmer’s signature onto themselves. To be clear, this is the man who brutally murdered countless men, the majority of whom were from marginalized communities. Tattooing his name is a slap in the face to all of his victims and their families. 

The obsession with profit over people from media corporations and bragging rights on desensitization is seriously wrong. If these stories were portrayed with respect to the victims, by asking permission and focusing on them rather than the serial killers, many of these problems would cease to exist. We need to reevaluate the purpose of these shows and our reactions to them.

 

Sanchita is a sophomore in LAS.

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