Netflix's Dahmer criticised for being "inaccurate" by reporter who broke the real story in 1991
5 October 2022, 19:16
Former reporter Anne E. Schwartz says the Netflix series "does not bear a great deal of resemblance to the facts of the case".
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How accurate is Netflix's DAHMER – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story? Well, quite a lot of the dramatisation is pretty accurate to what actually happened to the serial killer and the victims of his horrific murders in real life.
But according to the journalist was on the scene and first broke the story about Dahmer's crimes for the Milwaukee Journal, co-creators Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan might have dramatised some aspects of it a little too much.
Anne E. Schwartz, author and former reporter, told The Independent that the Netflix series took "artistic license" with a lot of key details, adding that it actually "does not bear a great deal of resemblance to the facts of the case".
"When people are watching Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series and saying ‘Oh my God this is terrible’. I want to tell them it didn’t necessarily turn out that way," Schwartz said.
Here are some of the details that Schwartz believes DAHMER got wrong.
The biggest inaccuracy of the series, according to Schwartz, was Glenda Cleveland's storyline.
In the series, Niecy Nash portrays Glenda as Dahmer's neighbour who was regularly calling the police about his behaviour, and the smells and sounds coming from his apartment. The show also depicts her as being present when Konerak Sinthasomphone was found on the steps of the Oxford Apartments, drugged and naked, and then brought back to Dahmer's apartment by the police.
In real life, none of that is true. Glenda was not Dahmer's neighbour, she never lived next door and she didn't even live in the same building as him. The real Glenda actually lived in the building next to the Oxford Apartments. Several of her storylines in the show were compiled of encounters that other people had had with Dahmer.
Speaking to the Independent, Schwartz said: "In the first five minutes of the first episode you have Glenda Cleveland knocking on his door. None of that ever happened."
"I had trouble with buy-in, because I knew that was not accurate. But people are not watching it that way, they’re watching it for entertainment."
Another inaccuracy that Schwartz pointed out in the show was the way in which the smell emitting from Dahmer's apartment was described.
"I was a crime reporter for five years so I know what it smells like when you walk into a building with a dead body or a decomposing body," Schwartz said, recounting the moment she stepped into Dahmer's real apartment building as a reporter back in 1991. "This was not that. This was a very chemical smell."
In the series, Dahmer (played by Evan Peters) explains countless times that the bad smell that people often complained about was due to 'bad meat'. It's implied that the unbearable smell was due to the decomposing bodies of the victims in his apartment.
Schwartz goes on to add that she believes the depiction of the officers as racist and homophobic was incorrect in the series. Others, however, would disagree with her comments.
"I’ve spent a lot of time with them, interviewing the people who were at the scene," she said. "Again this is a dramatisation, but at a time when it is not exactly easy for law enforcement to get trust and buy in from the community, it’s not a very helpful representation."
As seen in the series, civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson came to Milwaukee and set out to determine whether discrimination or racism ever played a role in the Dahmer investigation, and the double standard that the local police held for Black and white citizens.
In real life, Associated Press reported that the real Jackson stated that "police at the local, state and national level should be scrutinised for racism". The AP News report also notes that police recordings indicated the officers laughed and joked about needing to be ″deloused″ after leaving Konerak and Dahmer behind at the apartment. That moment is depicted in the series.
The majority of Dahmer's 17 victims were young men of colour. The majority of people who alerted the police to their concerns about Dahmer – and were consistently ignored – were Black community members. Dahmer, a white man with previous convictions and sexual offences, was given the benefit of the doubt multiple times by the authorities.
Read more about Netflix's DAHMER here:
- Where is Christopher Scarver now? Here's what happened to the man who killed Jeffrey Dahmer
- Jeffrey Dahmer polaroid challenge slammed after going viral on TikTok
- What happened to Jeffrey Dahmer's dresser and fridge? Here's why his belongings were sold
- Is Lionel Dahmer still alive? Here's why Jeffrey Dahmer's dad thinks he became a killer
- Evan Peters says Jeffrey Dahmer is the hardest role he's ever had to play