Netflix’s ‘Dahmer’ backlash continues as eBay bans costumes and killer’s father speaks out

Photo Credit: ‘DAHMER – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,’ Netflix

A month after its release, Netflix’s Ryan Murphy-produced DAHMER – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story remains one of the most talked about television shows of the fall. And, in this case, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Ever since the first trailer dropped, reactions to the true-crime series have been wildly mixed. With Murphy-verse regular Evan Peters starring as the infamous gay serial killer, DAHMER set out to tell this true-crime tale not as a can’t-look-away shocker, but framed as an indictment of the systems that allowed a murderer to run free for so long.

It wasn’t lost on the show’s creative team that Dahmer primarily targeted people of color, so they set out to center his victims’ stories—distinguishing it from the rest of Hollywood’s myriad portraits of the killer. But, no matter the good intentions, DAHMER only underscored the trauma that can be caused by attempting to re-litigate true crime through media. For many of the victims’ surviving family members, they saw their loved ones’ experiences being exploited for entertainment, bringing up distressing memories in the process.

Related: Here’s why viewers are calling Ryan Murphy’s Jeffrey Dahmer series exploitative and traumatizing

Now Dahmer’s own father, Lionel (played by Richard Jenkins in the series), has come forward to accuse Netflix of glamorizing his son’s crimes. As reported by the US Sun, the 86-year old’s caretaker shares that Lionel is courting legal advice on whether or not he should sue the streamer over Murphy’s scripted series, as well as the coinciding docuseries, Conversations With A Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes.

The elder Dahmer claims to be unhappy he wasn’t contacted about either project, and that Netflix never asked for permission to use tape recordings from his son’s legal team in the documentary, in particular. He is also said to be a “nervous wreck” over the renewed attention on his son, with concerns that “deranged fans” may show up to his home. Though no such occurrences have been reported, he has allegedly placed “No Trespassing” signs around his property, and his caretaker has even made the decision to arm himself for protection.

Related: 20 years ago, an unknown Jeremy Renner dared to play gay serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer

“I’ve personally talked to a few lawyers and we’ve talked to his publisher about it too due to all the chaos that is going on and the stories we’ve seen,” says the anonymous caretaker.

Lionel previously penned a memoir, A Father’s Story, which shared his view of Jeffrey’s childhood, as well as the media storm surrounding his son’s arrest, trial, and conviction. It was published in 1994, only a few months before Jeffrey was beaten to death in prison by an inmate.

The caretaker—who says they’ve not watched the full series—believes it to be a pointless retelling, and one that casts Lionel in an unfair light: “He thinks that none of this should have been made, all the information that needs to be public is right there in his book.”

Meanwhile, DAHMER remains one Netflix’s top trending series (it was supplanted at #1 by Murphy’s other true-crime reimagining, The Watcher), and is said to be the platform’s second most popular English-language series yet, trailing only the most recent season of Stranger Things.

And, with Halloween fast approaching, the holiday only underscores concerns that the popular series is glamorizing the killer, turning his distinctive appearance into “iconography.” Look no further than eBay, which is one of many retailers that has had to formally ban the sale of costumes inspired by Dahmer.

Related: That’s a ‘You’ problem: 5 unsettling recent examples of hot actors playing serial killers

Per Buzzfeed News, eBay’s official policy prohibits sellers from “listing items that promote or glorify violence or are associated with violent individuals, the acts for which they gained notoriety, or crime scenes from the past 100 years.” But that hasn’t stopped online shoppers from searching for everything from wireframe glasses to orange jumpsuits to masks that specifically look like Peters’ characterization of Dahmer in the series.

For critics of DAHMER and other true-crime series like it, this is exactly what they were worried about. Many have taken to Twitter to speak out against dressing up as Jeffrey Dahmer this Halloween, including Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles. You can read the gymnast’s post below, along with other users who have some choice words for anyone considering the costume:

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