We’ve been obsessed with Netflix shows before, and we’ve plowed through binges before, but no Netflix Original has ever gripped us like Making a Murderer. The first Netflix Original Documentary premiered quietly in December, and since then, has gained an incredible amount of momentum. Everyone is obsessed with the real-life story of Steven Avery, as he tries, and — spoiler alert — fails, to prove his innocence.
Well, not everyone is obsessed with the show. The citizens of Manitowoc, Wisconsin are not thrilled with the sudden publicity the show has brought to their small town, and less than happy with all the tourists suddenly wandering around in Avery’s Auto Salvage.
“We made our judgment [regarding the case], and the trial came to an end, and locally most people were in support of that,” Jason Ring, the president of the Manitowoc Area Visitor and Convention Bureau, told the New York Times. “Now it’s back — by no choosing or no doing of anyone in this community. So that’s the first point of injustice. [We] have to live through it again.”
Manitowoc, which in the last census reported a population of just under 35,000, has seen a sudden influx in visitors to the area. But the visitors aren’t there to see the local sights and take in the natural scenery; they’re visiting to voice their own opinions about Avery. And if they don’t want to make the trek to Wisconsin, they flood the telephone numbers and Facebook pages for the sheriff’s department, police station and even the Historical Society.
“It’s not how Manitowoc wants to be put on the map,” Current Sheriff Robert Hermann explained (Hermann was an undersheriff during Avery’s trial). A quick look at the city’s sheriff department’s Facebook page shows that they have a 1.1 rating, because Making a Murderer. The comments posted are not very nice. Their @ mentions on Twitter aren’t much better. The Manitowoc Police Department has even had to issue a public plea for the tweets to stop.
Also speaking to The New York Times, the filmmakers behind Making a Murderer, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, feel bad about the sudden negative attention they’ve brought the town.
“We have empathy for Manitowoc because we know that people have been reaching out in unkind ways and posting things about the city and the county,” Ricciardi explained. “That’s an unfortunate response, because we have always wanted the series to be constructive, not destructive.”
So whatever emotional response you had at the end of Making a Murderer — frustrated, heartbroken, disheartened, etc. — please think twice before you take it out on the city of Manitowoc. There are better ways to make your voice and thoughts heard in the Avery case.
(Image via Netflix)