Controversial Netflix Series Hits Major Milestone With 1 Billion Hours Viewed

Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story continues to do monster numbers for Netflix. Produced by American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy and starring Evan Peters as notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, Monster debuted September 21st as one of the all-time top ten English language shows on the streamer. The ten-episode series saw subscribers tune in for 196.2M hours in its first week online, behind only ratings hits Squid GameAll of Us Are DeadStranger Things Season 4, and Bridgerton Season 2 in that same period. In the latest update on Monster's record-breaking ratings, the series has joined another viewership club. 

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has crossed 1 billion hours viewed in its first 60 days on Netflix, making it only the third series to reach the milestone after international hit Squid Game and Stranger Things Season 4, according to DeadlineMonster remains the second most-watched English language series, behind Stranger Things 4, while Korean survival drama series Squid Game is the most-watched series overall.

The series sparked controversy after Netflix labeled Monster with the LGBTQ tag, categorizing it among LGBTQ+ romance series like Heartstopper and Uncoupled. After Netflix removed that tag and labeled Monster under the "Ominous" and Dark" categories, Murphy told The New York Times he objected to that decision: 

"The rule of my career has been: The more specific you are, the more universal you can become. I also don't think that all gay stories have to be happy stories," Murphy said. "There was a moment on Netflix where they removed the L.G.B.T.Q. tag from Dahmer, and I didn't like it and I asked why they did that and they said because people were upset because it was an upsetting story. I was, like, 'Well, yeah.' But it was a story of a gay man and more importantly, his gay victims."

Some subscribers objected online to Monster's graphic content, but the controversial series fueled a bigger backlash among the family members of Dahmer's victims. While Netflix described Monster as an examination of "the horrific true crimes of Jeffrey Dahmer and the systemic failures that enabled one of America's most notorious serial killers to continue his murderous spree in plain sight for over a decade," some family members said the series retraumatized them with its depictions of Dahmer's murders.

"I don't see how they can do that," Shirley Hughes, mother of Dahmer victim Tony Hughes, told The Guardian of dramatizing her son's murder. "I don't see how they can use our names and put stuff out like that out there." 

Eric Perry, the cousin of Dahmer victim Errol Lindsey, also criticized Monster in a viral tweet. 

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"To answer the main question, no, they don't notify families when they do this. It's all public record, so they don't have to notify (or pay!) anyone. My family found out when everyone else did," Perry tweeted in September. "So when they say they're doing this 'with respect to the victims' or 'honoring the dignity of the families,' no one contacts them. My cousins wake up every few months at this point with a bunch of calls and messages and they know there's another Dahmer show. It's cruel."