Netflix Criticised For Portrayal Of Killer Sex Worker Aileen Wuornos

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Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

If your appetite for true crime documentaries wasn't sated by things like Making A Murderer and Tiger King, Netflix have now released a new series called Catching Killers, which explores the experience of the investigative teams seeking to bring serial murderers to justice.

However, the series' second episode - titled 'Manhunter: Aileen Wuornos' and tackling the story of killer sex worker Wuornos, who shot dead seven men between 1989 and 1990 - has drawn some criticism from viewers.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Wuornos was found guilty for the murder of six out of the seven men that she killed. She was sentenced to death and later executed by lethal injection by the state of Florida, but not before claiming that she had acted in self-defence each time, suggesting that each of her victims had either raped or hurt her while they were soliciting her for sex.

The criticism for Catching Killers seems to stem mostly from the idea that the show focusses on the story from the perspective of the investigating officers, without paying particular attention to the plight of the person being hunted. One Twitter user expressed their disdain for the show's point of view by saying: 'Not Netflix and Catching Killers painting a cop-men-perfect picture while making Aileen Wuornos be the monster whose side of the story is not even shown.'

It is interesting to note that there hasn't been an abundance of similar criticism for any of the other episodes, which focus on the likes of 'Green River Killer' Gary Leon Ridgway, and 'Happy Face Killer' Keith Hunter Jesperson.

The fact that a Hollywood movie charting Wuornos' life preceded the documentary is more than likely to have contributed to the Twitter backlash. In the film Monster, Wuornos is played by Charlize Theron - a role for which the actor won an Academy Award - and though she is certainly cast as a somewhat unhinged serial murderer, there is also a degree of sympathy shown towards her position.

Abandoned by her mother, Wuornos claims she was sexually abused and beaten by the grandfather tasked with being her guardian. At just 15, she found herself homeless and it was then that she resorted to sex work. It seems that post-Monster, Wuornos has developed something of a fan club. At least, a bevvy of Twitter dwellers willing to show compassion for the rough hand she was dealt in life.

Of course, there are those on the other side of the fence, who question the validity of stanning a serial killer.

But for every one of them, there seems to be a counterbalancing Wuornos super-fan:

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