Shirley Hughes — whose son Tony Hughes was among the 17 men and boys Dahmer murdered between 1978 and 1991 — slammed the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's decision to award the actor, who played the titular Milwaukee serial killer, with the prize for Best Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.
"There's a lot of sick people around the world," she told TMZ soon after the ceremony. "And people winning acting roles from playing killers keeps the obsession going, and this makes sick people thrive on the fame."
Hughes said that Peters should have paid tribute to the victims during his acceptance speech, or at least mentioned their families, who are still grieving to this day, reports the outlet. She added that he could have also used the moment to tell Hollywood to stop glorifying serial killers by putting them on screen.
"It's a shame that people can take our tragedy and make money," Hughes said. "The victims never saw a cent. We go through these emotions every day."
Peters did not mention the victims or their families during his speech, in which he thanked multiple people including his own family and friends, the show's cast and crew, and its creator, Ryan Murphy. At the end, he added, "I sincerely hope some good came out of [the show]."
Hughes previously condemned the Netflix series and its portrayal of her and her son in October, telling The Guardian that while she hadn't seen the full series that it "didn't happen like that."
Netflix Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in 'Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story'
"I don't see how they can do that," she said at the time. "I don't see how they can use our names and put stuff out like that out there."
Hughes' son, who was deaf, was a 31-year-old aspiring model when he was murdered in 1991. The series' sixth episode, "Silenced," explores his relationship with Dahmer, following the pair as they get to know one another after meeting at a bar. His mother, played by Karen Malina White, also appears in the episode, and she and Tony later share a poignant discussion at the dinner table.
Since its release, the controversial series has received backlash from the families of Dahmer's victims. Rita Isbell, the sister of victim Errol Lindsey, wrote in an Insider essay that she was "never contacted about the show" before it landed on the streaming platform last September. Murphy has said he attempted to reach out to the families but that none of them had responded.