True Crime glorifies criminals and exploits victims

Within our society, a common genre among TV shows and podcasts is “true crime.” True crime entails the retelling of spine-chilling stories such as kidnappings and murders. Although some people may find this entertaining, the impact of true crime can be harmful to the victims’ families, which leaves the viewer to judge the ethics of the content they consume.

Unfortunately, in the making of many crime shows, the victims’ families are not consulted before the show is released. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story was released in 2022, and victims of Dahmer’s brutal crimes were represented in ways not approved by their living family members. Aside from the victims themselves, the families were also portrayed in the series without permission. One of the family members later came out to say that she did not give permission to have her brother’s name and story in the series, which included a depiction of herself. Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, producers of Dahmer, said that they reached out to the families but received no response, so they just went along and told their stories. This is extremely unethical, as it is their private lives which they did not give permission to be placed in the public domain.

Besides the invasion of privacy and lack of permission, this depiction of victims is detrimental to the families, as it forces them to relive those unthinkable events. Their perspective and feelings surrounding true crime content are very important to consider; viewers of true crime shows may view people within the stories as simply characters, or the case as simply a “story,” but the reality of the situation and those impacted by it is staggering.

Another moral issue presents itself when it comes to the way in which grisly crimes and the perpetrators of these crimes are often romanticized by viewers of true crime content. Although it sounds absurd, this is unfortunately the result of desensitization towards content about real events that ruined people’s lives and are not simply entertainment.

Some may argue that true crime content is necessary to bring awareness about the reality of these dark events, however, it almost always does more harm than good. In a time where media is available at one’s fingertips 24/7, people must remember the heartbreaking reality of the true crime content they indulge in.