Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, has been causing a world of controversy for the streaming giant Netflix.
The true-crime docu-series, which features Evan Peters in the title role, purports to tell the story of the serial killer through the eyes of his victims.
But as Cosmopolitan correctly points out, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is proving to be more sensational than informative — and it’s at the expense of Black and brown families.
The outlet shared thoughts from Eric Perry — the cousin of one of Dahmer’s victims — who has been one of the most vocal opponents of the docu-series.
Peters, however, has a different take on the controversy. “We had one rule going into this from Ryan [Murphy], that it would never be told from Dahmer’s point of view,” he said in a promotional video for the series. “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.”
Throughout Dahmer’s life, there have been only a few constants — with one being his father, Lionel, whose story is featured in the first part of the show. Let’s take a look at what we know about him.
Lionel Dahmer has another son
In addition to being the father of the infamous Jeffrey Dahmer, Lionel Dahmer has another son — David — who went into hiding after his brother’s infamous crimes came to light.
He wrote a memoir about Jeffrey Dahmer
In 1994, shortly after his son was killed by Christopher Scarver, Lionel Dahmer penned a memoir called A Father’s Story, which detailed the complicated feelings he had about his infamous son. While he said he did, indeed, love his son — and even visited him regularly — he was quick to blame himself, and others, for what he became.
And he seemed relieved that Jeffrey Dahmer was dead
According to The Tab, Lionel Dahmer regularly visited his son, Jeffrey, while he was in prison. But when he was killed by Christoper Scarver in 1994, Lionel Dahmer seemed relieved.
“It is a portrayal of parental dread … the terrible sense that your child has slipped beyond your grasp, that your little boy is spinning in the void, swirling in the maelstrom, lost, lost, lost,” he wrote in his memoir.
He divorced his first wife, Joyce, who was also the mother of his two sons
According to All That’s Interesting, Lionel Dahmer was initially married to the former Joyce Flint, with whom he shared his two sons — Jeffrey and David. In 1977, Lionel discovered that Joyce was having an affair and the couple decided to divorce, telling their sons they did so amicably.
But in his memoir, Lionel minced no words about his real opinion of his ex-wife. He claimed Joyce was mentally ill and on prescription medication while she was pregnant with Jeffrey, was a hypochondriac during Jeffrey’s childhood and even refused to comfort Jeffrey when he was a baby, fearful of contracting a communicable disease.
“As a scientist, [I] wonder if [the] potential for great evil … resides deep in the blood that some of us … may pass on to our children at birth,” he wrote in his memoir.
He's still alive today
Today, Lionel Dahmer — who is still alive and has since remarried — has remained out of the spotlight, for the most part. However, actor Richard Jenkins depicts him in the Netflix series.