The release of Netflix's new series based on serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's life and crimes has inspired a horrendous TikTok challenge. As it is, the show has received backlash for being too graphic and insensitive to the families of the victims.
Trigger Warning: The following article contains topics that may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.
Dahmer was active from 1978 to 1991, during which he strangled and dismembered 17 men and boys. After his capture in 1991, police found at least 80 horrific photos of his victims—some even depicting necrophilia.
Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has stirred controversy since its release on Netflix on September 21, 2022. The series depicts the police finding the polaroids of the victims, some of which showed the murderer engaging in lewd acts with his dead victims while others were of corpses - naked, dismembered, and posed.
Jeffrey Dahmer Polaroid Challenge on TikTok horrifies netizens
While most stray away from such morbid topics, TikTok users have started a trend called the Jeffrey Dahmer Polaroid Challenge. The challenge involves users searching for the crime scene photos and reacting to them. At the time of writing, the search term has amassed over 530 million views.
Although the app has already removed some of the more graphic videos associated with this challenge, the reaction videos are still trending under the same tag, with over 3.4 billion views on the platform.
Many users have participated in this trend, but others are outright disgusted by it. One user tweeted that nobody should be "bragging" about their desensitivity to the horrid images.
Some users fell prey to the trend but instantly regretted it, warning others not to search for the images.
Another tweet echoed the regret:
The casting of well-known actors to play notorious serial killers in retellings is nothing new. Movie studios and broadcast networks are well aware that star power can attract viewers to their projects.
While Zac Efron played Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, Evan Peters of X-Men and ex-Disney star Ross Lynch have starred as Dahmer in different depictions of his story. This incited some confusing reactions, with some calling these characters "hot." A tweet addressed the same.
Numerous social media users have expressed their displeasure with the trend.
The show is a limited series created by Ryan Murphy of American Horror Story fame and stars Evan Peters, Richard Jenkins, Molly Ringwald, and Neicy Nash. It has already broken records by becoming Netflix's biggest debut, beating even Squid Games. The series is available to watch on the streaming platform.