TNetflix’s new Jeffrey Dahmer series sacrifices accuracy for the sake of drama, according to the journalist who first broke the sensational story three decades ago.
Ann E. Schwartz said Independent Behind which are the filmmakers Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story took “artistic license” with many key details, saying the series “bears little resemblance to the facts of the case”.
“When people watch Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series and say, ‘Oh my God, this is terrible.’ I want to tell them that it didn’t happen that way,” she said.
Ms. Schwartz worked as a crime reporter Milwaukee Journal It was in 1991 when she received a call from a police source that they had found a human head and body parts in a city apartment.
Rushing to the scene, Ms. Schwartz said she arrived there only to find several police officers entering the Oxford apartment building for a closer look.
“I went to Dahmer’s apartment, and I stuck my head in, because you’re a journalist, you want to know,” she said. Independent.
“I guess what was weird was that it didn’t look weird.”
She said authorities slowly began to understand the severity of the crime scene as they found Polaroids taken by Dahmer of his victims in various stages.
“They didn’t know what they were finding,” she said.
“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. This was not the case. It was a very chemical smell.
Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story trailer
Ms. Schwartz, who works in communications for the Milwaukee Police Department and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, said the portrayal of city police officers as racist and homophobic is inaccurate.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with them, interviewing people who were on the scene. Again it’s a dramatization, but at a time when it’s not easy to get the trust and buy-in of the community for law enforcement, it’s not a very useful representation.”
In the Netflix series, Glenda Cleveland, who tried to alert the police to Dahmer’s murder, is depicted as living in a neighboring apartment. In reality, Ms. Cleveland, who died in 2011, lived in a separate building.
“In the first five minutes of the first episode you have Glenda Cleveland knocking on his door. Nothing like that happened,” says Ms. Schwartz.
“I had trouble getting buy-in, because I knew it wasn’t accurate. But people don’t watch it that way, they watch it for entertainment.”
After publishing a bestseller on the subject in 1991, A man who couldn’t kill enoughMs. Schwartz said she received a call from Dahmer in the newsroom of a TV station she worked for to complain.
Several psychiatrists who interviewed Dahmer told Ms. Schwartz that his behavior could be attributed to his parents.
“He hated it. He was very protective of his parents, especially his mother, for someone who didn’t show any emotion or care about anything,” she said. Independent.
The phone call was “very quick and to the point”.
“There was no emotion in his voice. It was so vanilla, it was so flat. There was nothing. He just said that no one is responsible for what I expect from myself.
Ms Schwartz said Dahmer was very “cunning” in the way he chose his victims. He would talk at length with them in bars and on the streets who preyed on men on the fringes of society and whose disappearance would not set off any alarm bells.
This, along with his body disposal techniques, helped him kill 17 boys and men before his crimes were discovered.
Furthermore, crime victims in Milwaukee’s gay community in the 1980s and early ’90s rarely reported crimes to police for fear of being outed by family or employers, she said.
After the murder gained national and international attention, people regularly searched the Oxford apartment for memorabilia.
The year Dahmer’s apartment building was demolished, some tried to take the bricks and pieces of soil, and the site remains empty and surrounded by a high fence to this day.
While the Dahmer series broke Netflix’s record for the most hours watched in Week 1, Miss Schwartz says Milwaukee is “done hearing about the case”.
“People in Milwaukee think it’s a terrible stain on the city, they don’t want people to think about it.”
Last year, Ms. Schwartz wrote an updated version of the 1991 book and re-interviewed the main characters to gather their thoughts 30 years later.
Her new book, which was published last October, Monster: The True Story of the Jeffrey Dahmer Murders.
* Monster: The True Story of the Jeffrey Dahmer Murders Released by Union Square Publishing and available on Amazon.