tNetflix’s new Jeffrey Dahmer series sacrificed accuracy for drama, according to the journalist who first proclaimed the sensational story more than three decades ago.
Anne E Schwartz said: The independent that the filmmakers behind Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story took “artistic license” with many key details, saying the series “doesn’t bear much 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 it didn’t necessarily turn out that way,’ she said.
Mrs. Schwartz worked as a crime reporter for the Milwaukee Journal in 1991, when she received a call from a police source to say that they had found a human head and body parts in a city apartment.
Ms. Schwartz rushed to the crime scene and said she found only a few police officers there and entered the Oxford Apartments building for a closer look.
“I walked over to Dahmer’s apartment and I stuck my head in it because you’re a journalist, you want to know,” she said. The independent.
“I think the strange thing was that it didn’t look strange.”
She said officers slowly began to understand the magnitude of the crime scene when they discovered Polaroids Dahmer had taken from his victims at various stages of mutilation.
“They didn’t know what they found,” 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 corpse or a decomposing body. This was not. This was a very chemical smell.”
Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story Trailer
Ms. Schwartz, who went on to work in communications for the Milwaukee Police Department and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, said the depiction of city police officers as racist and homophobic was incorrect.
“I spent a lot of time with them and the people who were interviewed on the spot. Again, this is dramatization, but at a time when it’s not exactly easy for law enforcement to gain trust and buy into the community, it’s not a very helpful representation.”
In the Netflix series, Glenda Cleveland, who tried to warn the police about Dahmer’s murder, is portrayed as living in a neighboring apartment. In reality, Mrs. 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. That never happened,” says Ms. Schwartz.
“I struggled with the buy-in because I knew it wasn’t right. But people don’t look at it that way, they look at it for entertainment.”
After publishing a bestseller on the case in 1991, The Man Who Couldn’t Kill EnoughMs. Schwartz said she received a call from Dahmer in the newsroom of a TV station she was working on to file a complaint.
Several psychiatrists who interviewed Dahmer told Ms. Schwartz that his behavior could be attributed to his parents.
“He hated it. For someone who showed no emotion or seemed to care, he was very protective of his parents, especially his mother,” she said. The independent.
The call was “very prompt, and very to the point”.
“He had no inflection in his voice. It was so vanilla, it was so flat. There was nothing. He just said no one was responsible for what I expected of me.”
Ms. Schwartz said Dahmer was very “sly” in the way he selected his victims. He spoke to them at length in bars and on the streets to hunt down men who were on the fringes of society and whose disappearance did not ring any alarm bells.
This, along with his horrific body removal techniques, helped him get away with killing 17 boys and men before his crimes were discovered.
In addition, crime victims in the Milwaukee gay community in the 1980s and early 1990s rarely reported violations to the police for fear of being ridiculed by family or employers, she said.
After the murders drew national and international attention, people regularly flocked to Oxford Apartments in search of souvenirs.
When Dahmer’s apartment building was demolished that year, some tried to grab rocks and pieces of earth, and the lot remains empty and surrounded by high fences to this day.
While the Dahmer series has broken Netflix’s Week 1 record for most hours watched, Ms. Schwartz says Milwaukee is “absolutely done hearing the case.”
“People in Milwaukee think this is 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 interviewed the main characters again 30 years later.
Her new book, which came out last October, Monster: The True Story of the Jeffrey Dahmer Murders.
* Monster: The True Story of the Jeffrey Dahmer Murders was released through Union Square Publishing and is available on Amazon.