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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.
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.'
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. And of course, the system hasn't got a flaw there.
— una presenza fuggevole (@pajtashh) November 6, 2021
Watching "Catching Killers" on @netflix, ep 2 is about Aileen Wuornos. I do not condone killing but damn if the folks in this don't seem real killable. Middle aged bubbas cruising for hookers are not usually are not usually citizen of the year nominees.
— Christian 🗡️👑🐝 (@thrivingfornow) November 7, 2021
Watching Catching Killers on Netflix. 1st, do shows like this propagate Salem Witch Trial “witness” mindsets of hysteria before factual evidence?
2, what if Aileen Wuornos had a better defense attorney who could argue she was traumatized and in need of mental health care?
— Bianca (@beekasnen) November 7, 2021
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.
I just feel for Aileen Wuornos, so badly. She was set up to fail and no one helped her
— Olivia Grace (@OliviaGraceSP) November 6, 2021
Aileen Wuornos is in my opinion the worlds most misunderstood serial murderer. Im actually on her side in all of it.
— Camilla- #SquareOneMJ🌹 (@CamillaMR2) November 5, 2021
Thinking of Aileen Wuornos again and the machinery of abuse and misery that poisoned her life and cultivated the violence that she turned back outward against that same machinery and the men who were it's operators. Just a hauntingly miserable life and death.
— lil freakass ☭ (@mattymoron) November 10, 2021
still can’t believe we killed aileen wuornos.
— A. Andrews (@_anghost) November 4, 2021
Of course, there are those on the other side of the fence, who question the validity of stanning a serial killer.
saw grown women calling aileen wuornos “queen” and “girl boss” so that’s when I know it’s enough tiktok for the evening pic.twitter.com/eqPj1aVaHL
— 𝔰𝔞𝔪𝔞𝔫𝔱𝔥𝔞 𝔣𝔩𝔶𝔫𝔫 🔥 (@CountessTepes) November 7, 2021
But for every one of them, there seems to be a counterbalancing Wuornos super-fan:
Looking to commission someone who can make me a shirt that says “Aileen Wuornos went to heaven”. Potentially in rhinestones. Serious inquires only I pay my fellow gig workers well
— fleetwood mak (@purpleberrypie_) November 4, 2021
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