Ryan Murphy, the creator of the Netflix hit “Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” said he disagreed with the company’s removal of the tag listing the show’s LGBTQ content.
“It’s about homophobia,” Murphy told Variety in an interview published Monday.
“I have a saying, ‘My job as an artist is to hold up a mirror about what happened,’” he added. “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.”
Murphy’s “Dahmer” became the No. 1 show on Netflix after its September debut. After many viewers protested Netflix’s categorization of the grisly show as LGBTQ content, the streaming service removed the tag.
Murphy said he disagreed. “Dahmer,” which earned four Golden Globe nominations on Monday, is framed as part of LGBTQ history. The serial murderer raped, killed and disremembered 17 men and boys in Wisconsin from 1978 to 1991.
The victims’ relatives were deeply troubled by the show. Shirley Hughes, whose son Tony Hughes was killed by Dahmer in 1991, told The Guardian: “I don’t see how they can do that. I don’t see how they can use our names and put stuff out like that out there.”
“I feel like Netflix should’ve asked if we mind or how we felt about making it,” Rita Isbell, whose 19-year-old brother Errol Lindsey was murdered by Dahmer, told Insider. “They didn’t ask me anything. They just did it.”
Murphy told Variety the motivation behind his queer-centric shows was fairly selfish, as he “had nothing” to watch in that regard during his own childhood. For him, exploring even the darkest parts of the community’s history is vital in showing a complete picture.
“I try and say, ‘I really understand why you’re upset about the inclusion of that [tag]. I understand it, but I also disagree with it personally,’” Murphy told Variety. “I think that it got the tag, one, because of my involvement. I’m a gay man, so most of my stories deal with some sort of LGBTQ thing.”
“My mission statement has been to talk about those stories and those characters and unearth buried history,” Murphy added.