Family members and survivors of the victims of mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer have loudly shouted out their disappointment at Netflix and the producers of “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” claiming they are more interested in hustling as many dollars as they can than in the pain and suffering the loved ones and survivors of Dahmer’s victims will have to endure.
Netflix’s 10-episode True Crime presentation began streaming September 21, with all episodes streamed at the same time. The nation’s largest streaming service, Netflix proudly announced that in only two weeks the Jeffrey Dahmer Story had become the ninth most watched English language show of all time and had the biggest debut ever for the company.
Yet the pain, suffering, and mental trauma caused by Dahmer went far beyond the abbreviated lives of his 17 victims. It has had a recurrent and lasting impact on the survivors that is immense and overwhelming.
Many of these family members have declared that Netflix should not have revived the Dahmer story for the home screen.
Inez C. Thomas, the mother of victim David Thomas whose body was never found, and her daughter Valerie Allen, David’s elder sister, are among those calling for better consideration from Netflix about the potential for harm. Both are residents of Milwaukee.
“I feel that Netflix is just exploiting this situation,” David’s mother, Inez Thomas, said. “And the families are the ones suffering from the situation.
“I have the transcripts from every day that we sat in court,” she said. “And none of that relates to what they’re doing in the series. They’re not doing anything but dragging the families’ name in the mud. And I call out Bezos and the people who own the studios. They’re just pocketing the money for themselves. If they want to keep doing this, they need to do something for the families. Recognize the families who went through this trauma. They’ve recognized only one family because of the situation that came about.”
The family that received compensation from the City of Milwaukee was that of a 14-year-old Hmong immigrant who might have been saved if the Milwaukee police had taken him under their protection instead of releasing him to Dahmer.
“They don’t have the story,” Thomas continued. “They’re making up stuff. They’re paying these actors to do this stuff in a city where it never happened. It didn’t happen in LA. They’re throwing stuff together to make money. And then they’re offering us nothing. I think it ought to be publicized nationally that we are not getting compensated.”
Allen had to spend two years in therapy after learning of her brother’s fate. It is believed that his body was disintegrated in the tub of acid that Dahmer had in his kitchen.
“Milwaukee doesn’t want to talk about it because Milwaukee’s police made some gruesome errors in this case,” Allen said. “Two ladies had found a 14-year-old victim of Dahmer on the street at night, bleeding and naked. Jeffrey had injected him with acid in his head or something like that. Dahmer had walked to the store to get some beer and the boy was able to get out.”
Approaching the delirious boy, the women called the police, she said. The police arrived but seemed more interested in hearing what the white Jeffrey Dahmer who was now on the scene had to say than they were concerned about the Hmong boy’s safety.
“The police returned the boy to Jeffrey Dahmer,” Allen said.
“They make a big thing of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims being homosexual,” Allen said. “But my brother was not a homosexual. My brother worked, and he was also a loving father of two. Although one child had passed away.
“David also hung out at the malls. We didn’t know that Dahmer picked his victims up from malls until after he was caught. David came up missing in September 1990 and it was 10 months later, with the capture of Jeffrey Dahmer in July of 1991, that we found out that Dahmer had killed him.
“I’ve already had a nervous breakdown once and I had to go to therapy for two years,” Allen said.
“My mom seems to be doing all right,” she added. “But she’s 82 now, and I’m very concerned about her having to go through this again and about the impact it will have on both of us.”
“We know that a lot of victimized families have moved away. But we don’t know if all of them have. We were told about six years ago that we were perhaps the last of the victimized families still living in Milwaukee,” Valerie Allen said.
The murder of David Thomas hits especially close to home for Jackson Advocate publisher emerita Alice Thomas Tisdale, the niece of Inez Thomas, and the first cousin of David and Valerie Allen.
David Thomas was the nephew of Tisdale’s father and is her first cousin.
“Uncle Roland was my dad’s favorite brother,” Tisdale said. “They looked just alike, which made it easy for him to be my favorite uncle. His wife, Aunt Inez, has always been my favorite aunt; their children, my favorite playmates.
“When Uncle Roland cried to my father about David, I saw my dad buckle. I felt both their pain, plus mine. Imagine that weight. It’s still horrifying to me. Can’t hardly make room for it in my head to comment on. Blessings to all affected by this demonic creature.”
Looked at through the prism of racial and power inequities in the United States, “Dahmer: Monster” can easily be viewed as another case of reinforcement for white preference in the social life of the United States. Why is a single white male able to murder and mutilate sixteen young men of color and be given a quiet refuge in state prison? – a punishment that was poles apart from the pain and suffering and death he inflicted on his Black and Brown victims.
Psychopath Jeffrey Dahmer murdered, mutilated and – in some cases – cannibalized 11 Black males, 3 Latinos, one Asian and two white males in a murder spree that ran from 1978 until his captivity in 1991, when he was caught and sentenced to 15 consecutive lifetimes in prison in Milwaukee.
Dahmer was killed in prison by another inmate, a Black man who had watched him closely during mealtimes and concluded that Dahmer somehow enjoyed knowing the impact of his gruesome murders on his victims and their families.
Dahmer told Inside Edition from prison in 1993 that he was acting out fantasies of “complete dominance and control” over another man when he committed his first murder in Ohio in 1978. He ended with the eerie murder of 16 more males accompanied by salutary bouts of cannibalism, necrophilia and sado-masochistic sexual indulgence.
Dahmer moved back to his hometown of Milwaukee in 1982, eventually settling in a mostly Black neighborhood known to the local police as “Drug City.” And it was in a seedy apartment in Drug City where Jeffrey Dahmer shed his human skin and metamorphosed into “the Milwaukee Cannibal,” or as others called him “the Milwaukee Monster.”