Dahmer victim’s mom speaks out against Netflix series: ‘It didn’t happen like that’


The mother of one of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims is speaking out against the Netflix series “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.”

Shirley Hughes, the mother of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victim Tony Hughes, told the Guardian that she hadn’t seen the series in its entirety, but “it didn’t happen like that.”

“I don’t see how they can do that,” Hughes, 85, said. 

“I don’t see how they can use our names and put stuff out like that out there,” she added, before saying it was difficult to discuss Tony’s murder and ending the interview.

Tony, who was deaf and could not speak, was picked up by Dahmer at a Milwaukee gay bar on May 24, 1991, when Tony was 31. Dahmer took him home, drugged him, dismembered his body and kept his skull, according to the Associated Press.

“When it first happened, I thought I would lose my mind,” Shirley told AP in 1992.

Rodney Burford as Tony Hughes in Dahmer. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.
Rodney Burford as Tony Hughes and Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.”
Netflix
Tony Hughes, who was among more than a dozen men murdered by Jeffrey Dahmer.
Tony Hughes was among more than a dozen men murdered by Jeffrey Dahmer.
Family Handout

In the Netflix series created by Ryan Murphy, Dahmer (Evan Peters) is seen donating money to the search effort for Tony (Rodney Burford) while, behind closed doors, cooking and eating his liver. Shirley is portrayed by Karen Malina White in the Netflix series.

The sixth episode of the show, titled “Silenced,” shows viewers how Tony loses his hearing as a baby after he was misprescribed medication. It depicts him growing up with sign language, lip reading and hand-written notes as forms of communication. 

It eventually brings viewers to the night Hughes meets Dahmer, showing a relationship forming. In the Netflix series, it is implied that Hughes tries to leave after a night spent with Dahmer. Then, Dahmer murders him, possibly with a bloodied hammer. The episode finishes by showing the scene of the serial killer eating his liver.

Dahmer. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. Rodney Burford as Tony Hughes in episode 106 of Dahmer. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
The sixth episode of the show, titled “Silenced,” tells the story of how Tony Hughes met Jeffrey Dahmer.
Courtesy Of Netflix © 2022

Shirley Hughes hasn’t spoken much about Tony publicly. According to the Guardian, she was in Bible class in Milwaukee at the time of her son’s murder and learned of his death after investigators discovered his skull in Dahmer’s apartment.

According to AP, Shirley attended every day of Dahmer’s trial in 1992. During the time of the trial, Shirley won a civil court judgment that awarded her more than $10 million. Local news outlet Deseret News reported that the lawsuit sought any money that would have been made on movie, television or publication rights to the serial killer’s story.

Tony was one of more than a dozen men murdered by Dahmer. 

Dahmer confessed to killing 17 men and boys since 1978 and was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1992. He was beaten to death by another inmate two years later at 34 years old.

Shirley has joined other relatives of victims in criticizing the dramatization of the Netflix depiction.

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.
The 10-part series has been widely criticized by viewers, saying it’s disrespectful to the victims and their families.
Neflix

Eric Perry, the cousin of Dahmer’s victim Errol Lindsey, slammed the show and said it brought back painful trauma for his family.

“I’m not telling anyone what to watch, I know true crime media is huge rn, but if you’re actually curious about the victims, my family (the Isbell’s) are pissed about this show,” Perry tweeted.

Rita Isbell, Lindsey’s sister, wrote in a first-person essay in Insider that Netflix never contacted her about the show or re-creating her courtroom scene.

Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer
Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.”
Courtesy Of Netflix © 2022

“When I saw some of the show, it bothered me, especially when I saw myself — when I saw my name come across the screen and this lady saying verbatim exactly what I said,” she wrote.

The 10-part series has been widely criticized by viewers, saying it’s disrespectful to the victims and their families.