Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, Ryan Murphy’s new, strangely titled series on the prolific serial killer (played by Evan Peters), has been a massive hit on Netflix. It’s so popular that eBay actually had to ban people selling his likeness as a Halloween costume. Any show that depicts real life horrors is going to get some pushback. And that Dahmer has gotten, including from some of the families of his victims. The show also earned a more specific criticism: There were complaints about it being listed under the service’s LGBTQ tag, arguing that it demonized the community. The streamer eventually removed that, but that move enraged at least one person: Ryan Murphy.
In a new profile by The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd (in bits caught by The Hollywood Reporter), Murphy expressed dismay about the tag being removed. “I also don’t think that all gay stories have to be happy stories,” he told Dowd. “There was a moment on Netflix where they removed the LGBTQ tag from Dahmer, and I didn’t like it, and I asked why they did that, and they said because people were upset because it was an upsetting story. I was, like, ‘Well, yeah.’ But it was a story of a gay man and, more importantly, his gay victims.”
He also defended the show against its critics, including those who’ve argued it exploits its victims. Murphy has said he reached out to most of the victims’ families but never heard back from any of them. But what he did do is tell Dowd that his show shines light on the racism and homophobia that plagued the investigation, saying it shows “how easy it is to get away with things with the white privilege aspects.”
Murphy also railed, “What are the rules now? Should we never do a movie about a tyrant?”
Dahmer now streams on Netflix.