There's a ton of true crime content populating various networks, streaming services, and social media accounts. While there's varying debate as to whether or not this is a good thing or not, it doesn't seem like America's obsession with the true crime genre is going anywhere anytime soon.
However, there are some people who believe it's a bit grimy that there are folks out there profiting from these cases. We're talking about instances of statutory rape, kidnapping, child endangerment, murder, torture, and all sorts of horrifying human behavior.
What usually isn't taken into account are the surviving family members who are left to deal with the aftermath of these crimes.
And a now-viral TikTok is calling into question how folks feel about seeing podcasters, influencers, and producers essentially making money on some of the most traumatic incidents a person's family and loved ones have ever gone through. It ended up sparking a viral debate with many folks saying they were effectively grossed out over the practice, with many calling it exploitative.
In a nine second clip, @themisspamelaj looks into the camera while a remixed version of The Neighbourhood's "Sweater Weather" plays. The clip highlights a question from another TikTok user that reads: "My mom's close friend was murdered and I can't find a single video without them laughing and a Hello Fresh sponsorship."
A text overlay on the TikTok reads: "I've heard a lot of ppl say this. What are ya'lls opinions on this?"
Throngs of other users on the platform lambasted the commercialization of True Crime programming, stating the many people treat the subject matter with irreverence, which is not only disrespectful to victims, but those who survive them.
"True crime should be a memorial for the victims, getting sponsorships feels so wrong. I don’t think anyone should be able to profit from murder"
The TikToker agreed with the aforementioned statement, responding with: "I couldn’t agree more. I understand sponsors to keep the vids going but I think some do it more respectfully than others."
Others said that the deluge of True Crime content and its rise in popularity has culminated in an impossible scenario of attempting to find genuine podcasts and/or shows: "it's hard to find a YouTuber that doesn't treat true crime cases as if it was girl night gossip"
Some folks remarked that the paid sponsorships don't bother them so much because they inevitably just "skip" over the advertisements.
Others said that for many folks getting these stories to light is impossible with the assistance of sponsors: "Sponsors are a good way to fund the videos and charities. Although they may be insensitive, they are necessary sometimes to keep stories heard"
But there were several folks who called out YouTuber Bailey Sarian for putting on her makeup while "narrating brutal murders."
"its okay just tag morbid and Bailey sarian lol"
"i had to distance myself from bailey sarian because of this…the way she handles it is bad like she really does makeup while narrating brutal murders"
But there were also folks who were quick to point out their favorite True Crime personalities online, noting that their work was respectful and kind.
"That Chapter is the only one I’ve seen truly be respectful. He makes jokes, but at the expense of the murderer, not the victim"
"wendigoon is a good youtuber (in my opinion) on these types of topics"
"I will always bring up mike higher podcast and Kendall Rae. And with the sponsorship, creating content isn’t cheap, these topics are often demonetized"
And there were others who said that levity when dealing with the heavy subject matter, like a true crime podcast touching on topics of murder, death, and abuse, is necessary in order to emotionally distance oneself from what they're talking about. A TikToker by the name of Lindsey said it would be impossible for her to carry on as a mortician if she didn't inject some humor into her day.
"I’m a mortician and if I don’t laugh my days get very long. Imagine the toll talking about something so dark for so long could take on you."
What do you think? Are many True Crime influencers insensitive? Should there be a specific protocol when dealing with touchy cases like the ones covered in many of these programs? Or is it fair game?