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Why Netflix's 'Jeffrey Dahmer Story' is getting backlash from victim's family, fans

A relative of Errol Lindsey, one of the killer's victims, called the show "harsh and careless."
/ Source: TODAY

The family of Errol Lindsey, one of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims, is joining some viewers in critiquing a new Netflix series on the serial killer, "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story," saying the show humanizes the murderer and forces victims' families to relive the traumatic events.

Dahmer was a convicted serial killer from Milwaukee who murdered 17 men and boys from 1978 to 1991. He died in prison in 1994 at the age of 34. Evan Peters plays him in the 10-episode Netflix series created by Ryan Murphy.

Rita Isbell, Lindsey's sister, told Insider that Netflix never contacted her about the show, and called the series "harsh and careless."

"I feel like Netflix should’ve asked if we mind or how we felt about making it. They didn’t ask me anything. They just did it," Isbell said. "But I’m not money hungry, and that’s what this show is about, Netflix trying to get paid."

TODAY reached out to Netflix for comment regarding Isbell's statements.

Isbell added she would understand if Netflix gave some of the money to the victims' families. "If the show benefited them in some way, it wouldn’t feel so harsh and careless," she said.

"It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed," Isbell continued.

Isbell said she watched the scene in which her victim impact statement she delivered at Dahmer's sentencing in 1992 was recreated, but that she didn't watch the rest of the show.

"I don’t need to watch it," she said. "I lived it. I know exactly what happened."

Eric Perry, who said he is a relative of Lindsey's, also criticized the show in a series of tweets.

"I'm not telling anyone what to watch, I know true crime media is huge rn, but if you’re actually curious about the victims, my family (the Isbell’s) are pissed about this show," he said. "It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?"

Dahmer has been the center of other documentaries and fictional works, including the 2017 movie "My Friend Dahmer," about his childhood.

Perry added his family found out about the series "when everyone else did," and that no one from the show contacted his family.

"My cousins wake up every few months at this point with a bunch of calls and messages and they know there’s another Dahmer show," Perry said. "It’s cruel."

Perry did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TODAY, and TODAY could not independently confirm Perry’s relation to Lindsey.

Some viewers echoed Isbell and Perry's sentiments on social media since the series premiered on Sept. 21, criticizing the dramatization of Dahmer's crimes. Dahmer's later murders involved necrophilia and cannibalism.

Others criticized the amount of true crime content in general, specifically regarding Dahmer, as dozens of television, film and podcast series have recounted Dahmer's vicious methods of killing, which included dismemberment, necrophilia and cannibalism.

Netflix also faced backlash on social media last week when viewers saw the series was tagged as "LGBTQ" on the streaming platform.

Evan Peters, who plays Dahmer in the series, said in a video that while creating the show, they didn't want the audience to sympathize with the killer. The series shows the multiple failures that took place

"We had one rule going into this from Ryan (Murphy), that it would never be told from Dahmer’s point of view," Peters said. "It’s called 'The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,' but it’s not just him and his backstory: It’s the repercussions, it’s how society and our system failed to stop him multiple times because of racism, homophobia. It’s just a tragic story."

Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TODAY.