In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday, the prolific producer and director insisted that efforts were made to talk with the victim's loved ones but that the team behind Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story never heard back.
"It's something that we researched for a very long time," Murphy, 56, said. "And we, 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 and not a single person responded to us in that process."
He continued, "So we relied very, very heavily on our incredible group of researchers who… I don't even know how they found a lot of this stuff. But it was just like a night and day effort to us trying to uncover the truth of these people."
Murphy's comments come as many of the victim's family members have claimed that producers and others behind the show never contacted them regarding the project, leading to what they claim are inaccurate depictions of the truth.
Shirley Hughes, the mother of Dahmer's victim Tony Hughes, told the Guardian earlier this month that the show's depiction of her son's death and its aftermath "didn't happen" how it is shown on screen. "I don't see how they can do that," the 85-year-old said. "I don't see how they can use our names and put stuff out like that out there."
Tony, who was deaf and could not speak, met Dahmer at a Milwaukee gay bar on May 24, 1991, according to the Associated Press. Dahmer then took Hughes home, drugged him, and dismembered his body.
In the Netflix depiction of the events, Dahmer, played by Evan Peters, is shown donating money to the search effort for Hughes –– who is played by Rodney Burford –– and then cooking and eating his liver during episode 6.
Both Murphy and Peters have previously said that an emphasis was placed on showing the victims' perspectives, but only Hughes' episode is fully realized in that way. "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. "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."
Courtesy Of Netflix Evan Peters in Monster
But last month, Eric Perry, a cousin of victim Errol Lindsey, tweeted that the Murphy-helmed series is "retraumatizing" his family. "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 posted on Twitter. "It's retraumatizing over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?"
Perry later tweeted that his family was not notified about the project, writing, "My family found out when everyone else did."
Rita Isbell, Lindsey's sister, agreed that her family was not asked for input regarding the making of the series in an essay for Insider, and said watching the dramatic reenactment is still a very real trauma. "When I saw some of the show, it bothered me, especially when I saw myself — when I saw my name come across the screen and this lady saying verbatim exactly what I said," she wrote.
She continued, "I was never contacted about the show. 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."
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.
Lindsey's daughter, Tatiana Banks, who was born six months after he tragically died, has also spoken out about the series. "Honestly ever since that show's been on I haven't been able to sleep," she told Insider, adding that she has had nightmares for weeks. "I see Jeffrey Dahmer in my sleep."
She also seconded others' assertions about not being consulted about the show. "I feel like they should have reached out because it's people who are actually still grieving from that situation," Banks said. "That chapter of my life was closed and they reopened it, basically."
Despite the complaints, Murphy — who co-created the show with Ian Brennan — told THR that the Netflix series was about humanizing the victims in the eyes of viewers.
"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. "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."
"We really want it to be about celebrating these victims," added Paris Barclay, a director on the series. "When Tony writes 'I won't disappear' on that last card, that's what this show is about. It's about making sure these people are not erased by history and that they have a place and that they're recognized and that they were important and that they lived full lives. And they came from all sorts of different places, but they were real people."
"They weren't just numbers. They weren't just pictures on billboards and telephone poles. They were real people with loving families, breathing, living, hoping," Barclay continued. "That's what we wanted it to be about."
All episodes of Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story are now streaming on Netflix.