Dahmer Actress Defends The Series Calling It Educational

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Keyla McNeely, who starred in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, has come out in support of the series, saying it is “educational.”

By Britta DeVore
| Published

Netflix and Ryan Murphy struck gold with their release of a scripted telling of the gut-wrenching crimes of the Milwaukee Cannibal in Murphy’s Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. And, while the project rubbed many people the wrong way, including members of the victim’s families, Monster actress Keyla McNeely is standing by the cast and crew’s hard work. As TMZ reported, the actress believes that at the very least, the piece can be seen as “educational” in not only helping to spot warning signs in loved ones but also in learning about the history of racism and homophobia that audiences saw so deeply embedded in the police department.

For those who may not know, Keyla McNeely played Dorothy Straughter, the mother of Dahmer’s victim Curtis Straughter, in the Netflix limited series. TMZ chatted with the actress at LAX where she said that while she was sorry that many of the victims’ families were troubled by the production, she believed it was a useful and pertinent story to tell. Throughout the show, it’s made abundantly clear that the police were not doing their job of protecting and serving, which in turn allowed the titular serial killer to get away with his crimes and move on to even more victims. 

keyla mcneely dahmer

The communities at the center of the story were grossly underserved, with race playing a key part in officers not responding sooner to what would later be discovered as a crime scene. Part of the reason why Dahmer lived and operated in these neighborhoods was that he knew he could get away with killing minorities. In the world of true crime, non-white victims and those belonging to the LGBTQ+ community are referred to as “the less dead,” because police are less likely to pour themselves into their cases.

Along with the neighborhood, Dahmer, a gay man, also preyed on men who he would meet while out at clubs. The stigma around being gay allowed him to push things off as lover’s quarrels as cops were grossed out by the idea of two men being together, leaving his residence as quickly as possible. It’s with these major ideas that McNeely believes that the cast and crew of Monster were telling the best story they could and shining a light on injustices that she believes still happen today. 

A heart-wrenching and stomach-churning series, Ryan Murphy’s Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story featured American Horror Story alum, Evan Peters, in the titular role with The Rookie: Feds star Niecy Nash in the co-starring role as Dahmer’s neighbor Glenda Cleveland. Molly Ringwald played Dahmer’s stepmother Shari Dahmer, with Richard Jenkins as his father Lionel Dahmer, and Penelope Ann Jenkins as his mother, Joyce Dahmer. The ensemble cast telling the story of those whose lives the sadistic killer tragically touched the most included Shaun Brown, Rodney Burford, Kieran Tamondong, Karen Malina White, and Cameron Cowperthwaite. 

The show became such a hit for Netflix, that they immediately gave Ryan Murphy the go-ahead to create several other projects like it. With this platform, the Glee co-creator will tell the stories of other monsters like Dahmer who have worked their way into American history because of their brutal and gruesome crimes. As of right now, no further announcements have been made about who the next installment will follow or when audiences can expect to see it land on Netflix.

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