Rita Isbell, the sister of Errol Lindsey, who was one of the last victims of Dahmer, recently wrote an essay for Insider about how the new Netflix show had affected her and her family.
In 1992, Rita gave a victim impact statement at Dahmer’s sentencing - a statement which was recreated word-for-word in the new show.
“It bothered me,” she wrote, “especially when I saw myself — when I saw my name come across the screen and this lady saying verbatim exactly what I said.”
“That’s why it felt like reliving it all over again. It brought back all the emotions I was feeling back then.”
Critically, Rita explained that Netflix never contacted her about the show.
“I feel like Netflix should’ve asked if we mind or how we felt about making it,” she wrote in the article.
“They didn’t ask me anything. They just did it. I could even understand it if they gave some of the money to the victims’ children. … The victims have children and grandchildren.
“If the show benefited them in some way, it wouldn’t feel so harsh and careless. It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed.”
And it wasn’t just Rita who slammed the project, with Errol Lindsey’s cousin Eric Perry also taking to social media to explain why he was not okay with the new series.
“It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need? Like, recreating my cousin having an emotional breakdown in court in the face of the man who tortured and murdered her brother is WILD. WIIIIIILD,” he tweeted.
He also reiterated that Netflix never notified their family, “It’s all public record, so they don't have to notify (or pay!) anyone.”
“My family found out when everyone else did.”
Among the many videos on TikTok that are praising the new series, a rapidly rising number of users are now siding with the victim's families, finding discomfort in the portrayal of real-life trauma.
Under one clip, which summed up the response of both Rita and Eric, hundreds of comments slammed Netflix’s decision.
“Do Better Netflix,” commented one person, whilst another asked, “why are we still making movies about this man?”
While others did point out that they believe the show focused on the victims and their stories, instead of the killer, the general consensus was that Netflix should have financially compensated the families at the very least.
Watch Below: Nitram - Official Trailer
As audiences continue to debate whether the show should have been made or not, it brings up a bigger question about media interpretations of real-life horrors.
It’s an issue that is also very close to home for Aussie viewers. In 2021, Nitram, a film focused on the Port Arthur massacre was slammed as “too much, too soon, and too close to home.”
This October, Netflix is streaming The Stranger, a fictionalised account inspired by the search for Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe, who was abducted on December 7, 2003, and murdered.
Daniel’s parents slammed those who made the film as “parasites”, and the film itself as “corrupt and cruel.”