Ryan Murphy speaks out on Netflix stripping LGBTQ+ tag from Jeffrey Dahmer series: ‘I disagree’

A side-by-side image showing TV creator Ryan Murphy on the left wearing a white hat, sunglasses and a white suit jacket over a black t-shirt. On the right is a promo shot of actor Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer from Netflix series Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story

Netlflix’s psychological horror Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story – which tells the story of the notorious serial killer’s horrific actions – was labelled as LGBTQ+ by the streaming platform after being released in September.

The tag was removed after sparking significant backlash, but creator Ryan Murphy has said that he not only stands by the series but also that it should have remained in the category as the show was about “homophobia”.

Speaking to Variety, Murphy (who also created series like Glee and American Horror Story), defended the show.

“I have a saying: ‘My job as an artist is to hold up a mirror about what happened.’ It’s ugly. It’s not pretty. Do you want to look at it? If you do, watch it. If you don’t, look away, and sometimes, some of this outrage is directed at the frame of the mirror instead of the reflection. I try and say, I really understand why you’re upset about the inclusion of that. I understand it, but I also disagree with it personally.” 

He also justified the tag as due to his own personal involvement.

“I’m a gay man, so most of my stories deal with some sort of LGBTQ thing and I do that selfishly; when I was growing up, I had nothing [to look to],” he explained. “My mission statement has been to talk about those stories and those characters and unearth buried history.” 

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

Murphy also addressed accusations that the series sensationalised Dahmer himself, rather than focusing on the victims.

“I was never interested in Jeffrey Dahmer, the monster. I was interested in what made him. I think that the fact that all of the characters in this are seen as true humans makes some people uncomfortable. I understand that and I try not to have an opinion on that,” he said. “We always tried to centre everything on the victims.” 

Despite this, multiple family members of various victims of the killer said that they were not contacted prior to the show being created – Murphy claims the team did contact them, but received no response.

Mugshot of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer
Mugshot of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. (Getty/Bureau of Prisons)

Jeffrey Dahmer, who murdered 17 primarily gay men between 1978 and 1991, is played by Evan Peters in the series, Murphy’s long-time collaborator.

After his taxing experience playing the serial killer, during which Murphy admitted there “were some dark days” Peters said that he also dropped 15 pounds before filming, gaining back 20 towards the end of the series.

“I’m going to take a little break from darker roles and explore the light. It would be interesting to me to play something that is a little closer to home, a little more mundane, and to explore the details of those kinds of experiences.”

The Monster series has been renewed for another two seasons, following “other monstrous figures who have impacted society”, according to Netflix.