Viewers are split on Jeffrey Dahmer’s dad after watching new Netflix series
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Not only does the gruesome series dive into the serial killer's murder spree, it also sheds new light on Dahmer's relationship with his father, Lionel.
Jeffrey’s father Lionel is played by Richard Jenkins in the Netflix series and viewers get to see the duo's fractured and delicate relationship.
You get to see how Dahmer Senior taught Jeffrey everything he knew about dissecting, discarding and preserving animal bones.
In real life, Lionel acquired his PhD in chemistry and worked as a research chemist when Jeffrey was a child.
The two would frequently (as depicted in the show) collect and dissect animal remains, including roadkill, as his father believed his son was interested in studying animal autonomy.
Jeffrey infamously murdered 17 males, dismembering their bodies while keeping parts in his freezer.
After seeing the show, viewers are divided on their feelings for Lionel. Some say he did his best with Dahmer, whereas others felt he could have done more to prevent his son's murderous rage.
Jeff Dahmer’s dad: “I didn’t raise you like this.”— shawnte (@sevenwonderzz_) September 25, 2022
No because picking up roadkill and dissecting it is such a normal father/son hobby?????
I don’t think this is fair. He was a scientist, his son asked questions and he was excited to teach him something he specializes in. I just don’t think you can blame the dad /:— • incognitobird7 • (@H0thead_) September 25, 2022
I know it was weird but I feel like maybe from his perspective, he could do something else with that. He said “its something that interests him”, maybe he thought being a doctor, surgeon or maybe forensic pathologist. As a dad you never think your kid would be cutting up humans— Ilse Benavides (@IlseBenavides3) September 25, 2022
One person wrote on Twitter: “Jeff Dahmer’s dad: “I didn’t raise you like this. No because picking up roadkill and dissecting it is such a normal father/son hobby?????”
Another said: “Something I feel like ppl don’t talk about enough when it comes to Jeffrey Dahmer is his dad. The man literally taught him how to preserve dead animal bodies which he would later do to his victims."
However, some defended Lionel, as one person wrote: “I don’t think this is fair. He was a scientist, his son asked questions and he was excited to teach him something he specializes in. I just don’t think you can blame the dad.”
While another shared: “I know it was weird but I feel like maybe from his perspective, he could do something else with that. He said ‘its something that interests him’, maybe he thought being a doctor, surgeon or maybe forensic pathologist. As a dad you never think your kid would be cutting up humans.”
Lionel, who is still alive today, revealed in his memoir A Father’s Story that despite his son’s atrocities, he and his stepmother Shari tried to support him, as per The Tab.
He also disclosed that up until Jeffrey died in 1994, the couple were the only ones to visit him in prison.
The father revealed in an interview with Larry King that regardless of his son’s crimes, they are still ‘proud’ of the last name Dahmer.
Lionel said: “I’m proud of the name Dahmer.
“My father was a schoolteacher and a barber. He brought himself up from the bootstraps. His father and mother died at a very young age. I have a very good ancestry, and I’m proud of the name.”
In his book A Father's Story, Lionel also explained why he thought his son ended up as a serial killer.
He suggested the prescription drugs Jeffrey’s mother was on while she was pregnant could have influenced his brain, and also mentioned his shyness as a child.
According to The Tab, Lionel explained how he wished he was emotionally more available to his son during his earlier years.
He added: “As a scientist, I wonder if the potential for great evil resides deep in the blood that some of us may pass on to our children at birth.”