Watch: Dahmer is One Monster Not Welcome at Milwaukee Gay Bars this Halloween

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday October 31, 2022

Evan Peters in the Ryan Murphy-produced series "Dahmer," streaming now on Netflix
Evan Peters in the Ryan Murphy-produced series "Dahmer," streaming now on Netflix  (Source:Netflix)

Ghouls, goblins, and creatures of all sorts are represented this Halloween. But in Milwaukee, there's one costume bars and gay night spots won't be welcoming: serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, the cannibal whose victims were largely gay men of color and who is featured in the Ryan Murphy-produced Netflix series starring Evan Peters.

"Customers dressing as Jeffrey Dahmer will be shown the door at LGBTQ watering holes D.I.X. and This Is It, who warned patrons on Facebook that anyone coming as the serial killer wasn't welcome," the New York Post reported.

"Even though Dahmer was not a customer at This is It!, the bar has been getting phone calls ever since the Netflix series aired because we are the oldest LGBTQ+ bar in Milwaukee, and in the Midwest," a spokesperson for the bar relayed to local news channel WISN 12, the newspaper detailed.

Fox 6 Now reported that This Is It banned a range of costume choices, singling out Dahmer for particular emphasis.

"In solidarity, with other Queer establishments, this Halloween weekend, we reserve the right to refuse access to anyone wearing hateful, racist, and otherwise disrespectful costume choices," This Is It announced on Facebook. "This includes anyone dressed as Dahmer."

The manager of another gay Milwaukee establishment, D.I.X., told WISN, "We don't want to put patrons in the situation where they would have to see or relive something that they had to truly experience."

That includes banned Dahmer-themed costumes. "We are here to have a great time respect everyone and make sure everyone feels welcome and comfortable," the bar posted on Facebook. "No Jeffrey Dahmer costumes at the bar please."

Interest in Dahmer has surged thanks to the Netflix series, the article noted. Fox 6 Now detailed in a separate report that even bars that aren't focused on LGBTQ+ patrons have noticed renewed interest in the notorious kille. The Wall Street Stock Bar, which opened last summer in the same spot that once housed gay bar and Club 219, which Dahmer frequented, has experienced curious passers-by pressing their faces to the window and true-crime aficionados asking about Dahmer-themed cocktails.

Worse, the establishment's owner told the news channel that her business has been targeted with "bogus reviews" online that reference Dahmer.

The Netflix series has sparked a flood of criticism, much of it from relatives of Dahmer's victims, for reopening old wounds. Some of the friends and family members who have spoken out say that Murphy and his people did not reach out to them for their input.

Murphy responded to the critiques, telling The Hollywood Reporter that efforts to involve family members and friends in the making of the series were unsuccessful.

Murphy said that "over the course of the three, three and a half years when we were really writing it... we reached out to 20, around 20, of the victims' families and friends trying to get input, trying to talk to people. And not a single person responded to us in that process."

Murphy also discussed the intention and focus of the series.

"Something that we talked a lot in the making of it is we weren't so much interested in Jeffrey Dahmer, the person, but what made him the monster that he became," Murphy detailed. "We talked a lot about that ... and we talked about it all the time. It's really about white privilege. It's about systemic racism. It's about homophobia."

Watch the Fox 6 News clip below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.