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Ryan Murphy responds to ‘Dahmer’ backlash, says he reached out to victims’ families

“Not a single person responded to us in that process," Murphy said.
/ Source: TODAY

Ryan Murphy, creator of the Netflix hit series "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story," said he did due diligence during the series' development period, reaching out for feedback from family members and friends of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's victims.

But, as he said at a Directors Guild of America screening event in Los Angeles, Thursday, no one ever called them back.

Ryan Murphy at the Producers Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California, in March.
Ryan Murphy at the Producers Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California, in March.Kevin Winter / Getty Images

"Over the course of the three, three and a half years when we were really writing it, working on it — we reached out to 20, around 20, of the victims’ families and friends trying to get input, trying to talk to people," Murphy said at the event, The Hollywood Reporter reported.

"Not a single person responded to us in that process," he added. "So we relied very, very heavily on our incredible group of researchers."

In 1992, Dahmer was convicted of murdering 15 boys and men between the years of 1978 and 1991, and admitted to two more murders. He died in prison, aged 34, in 1994.

The show's synopsis says that it's meant to "expose these unconscionable crimes" and is centered around the victims and their communities.

Since its release, "Dahmer" has come under fire from the loved ones of victims, many of whom are depicted in the show.

Ron Bush as Jeffrey’s Lawyer and Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in "Dahmer."
Evam Peters (as Jeffrey Dahmer) and Ron Bush as Dahmer's lawyer in "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story."Netflix

Shirley Hughes, mother of victim Tony Hughes, told the Guardian in October she didn’t understand how the TV show came to be.

“I don’t see how they can do that,” Hughes said. “I don’t see how they can use our names and put stuff out like that out there.”

Rita Isbell, sister of victim Erroll Lindsey, wrote the the show “harsh and careless” in an essay for Insider. “It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed,” Isbell said.

Murphy spoke to the intent of the show at the Directors Guild of America event, per the Hollywood Reporter.

"Something that we talked a lot in the making of it is we weren’t so much interested in Jeffrey Dahmer, the person, but what made him the monster that he became,” Murphy said Thursday. “We talked a lot about that … and we talked about it all the time. It’s really about white privilege. It’s about systemic racism. It’s about homophobia.”

Peters said much the same in an official Netflix video posted in September: "We had one rule going into this from Ryan (Murphy), that it would never be told from Dahmer’s point of view, he said. "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.”

At the event, Niecy Nash (who plays Dahmer's neighbor Glenda Cleveland), wondered why there was no memorial set up for the victims.

"Anything that we could do to get that to happen, you know, I would even be happy to pay for it myself,” said Murphy. "I do think there should be something. And we’re trying to get a hold of people to talk about that. I think there’s some resistance because they think the park would attract people who are interested in paying homage to the macabre… but I think something should be done."

TODAY reached out to Murphy for comment.