Mother of Dahmer victim Tony Hughes denounces Netflix series: ‘It didn’t happen like that’

A promotional still of actor Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in the Netflix series Monster: The Jeffray Dahmer Story.

The mother of Jeffery Dahmer victim, Tony Hughes, has condemned the Netflix true crime series, saying she doesn’t understand how the show could be made. 

Shirley Hughes, whose son was the 12th victim of Dahmer, spoke to The Guardian to say the series doesn’t offer an accurate portrayal of what happened.

Tony was an aspiring model who lost his hearing permanently as a child. He was killed by Dahmer on 24 May in 1991, aged just 31. 

Shirley, who is portrayed by actor Karen Malina White in Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffery Dahmer Storyhasn’t been able to watch all of the series.

“It didn’t happen like that,” the 85-year-old said.

Two decades later and Shirley still struggles to speak about her son’s murder.

“I don’t see how they can do that,” she added.

“I don’t see how they can use our names and putting out that stuff out that like there.”

‘Zombie-like state’

Tony’s still-grieving mother has joined a chorus of backlash against Netflix’s controversial portrayal of Dahmer’s killing spree. 

In the sixth episode – titled “Silenced” – Tony’s heartbreaking story is played out by deaf actor and former reality television star Rodney Burford. 

On the day of his death, Tony, who communicated with Dahmer through handwritten notes, was offered money to return to his apartment and pose for photos.

However, Dahmer drugged Tony, and drilled a hole into his skull, in one of several attempts to induce a “zombie-like state” and keep his victims subdued.

Tony did not survive the horrific experiment, and was left on Dahmer’s bedroom floor for three days, before the killer, known as the “Milwaukee Cannibal”, dismembered him and preserved his skull.

Shirley learnt of her son’s murder after investigators discovered his skill in Dahmer’s apartment and identified it through dental records. 

Dahmer was finally arrested in July 1991 when would-be victim Tracy Edwards managed to escape his apartment and notify police.

At the time Dahmer was charged with his killing spree in 1992, Shirley spoke with the United Press International to share her relief of knowing why her son had vanished, but also the emotionally shattering discovery of how he died.

“It hurts. I shed tears. They’re not tears of sorrow, and it’s not disbelief in the Lord,” she said at the time.

“The tears [are] tears of hurt because it hurts. It hurts real bad. But you have to trust and pray and just keep going day by day.”


Cousin of Dahmer victim Errol Lindsey – Eric Perry – took to Twitter to express his discomfort with the show.

He wrote: “It’s retraumatising over and over again, and for what? How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?”

Evan Peters, who plays the titular killer, said in a promotional video for Netflix that the story wouldn’t be told from Dahmer’s point of view. 

“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.”

Netflix was slammed for categorising the dramatisation under the LGBTQ section of its library. The platform has since been forced to remove the tag.