JUSTICE

Netflix Hit “Making A Murderer” Is Also Making A Ton Of Trolls

The prosecutor featured in the docuseries is being cast as a "villain," and the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Office is flooded with angry voicemails and emails
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Dec 28, 2015 at 5:20 PM ET

The Netflix documentary series “Making a Murderer” reexamines a murder case that the filmmakers believed to be potentially biased against the defendant. As the popularity of the series exploded over the past week, angry commenters and trolls have turned their anger toward the law enforcement and prosecution team featured in the series.

The 10-episode series follows the case of Steven Avery, who was exonerated after serving 18 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit. After he filed a $36 million lawsuit against Manitowoc County for the wrongful conviction, he was coincidentally convicted of an unrelated murder. The filmmakers spent 10 years following the story and examining the evidence in the latter case, which pointed to the possibility Manitowoc County framed the innocent Avery.

Ken Kratz, prosecutor in the murder trial and the clear antagonist of “Making a Murderer,” told Vocativ he’s being “painted as a villain.” He called the documentary “not a documentary at all, but rather a defense-generated advocacy piece.” Now a private defense lawyer, Kratz does not plan to make his case to angry viewers. “The people who have vilified me have not taken the time to find out the evidence they weren’t spoon fed,” he told Vocativ. Kratz added he can’t take time out of his day to comment on old cases when he has clients who depend on his attention.

Of course, the Netflix-consuming public doesn’t care about any of that. Over Christmas weekend, Kratz’s private law firm page on Yelp accrued dozens of vulgar comments chastising Kratz for what the documentary painted as his biased prosecution case. Commenters also brought up the reported four-month suspension of Kratz’s law license in June 2014 over sexts he sent to a client.

Kratz’s Yelp page was so overloaded with comments and doxxing—obviously motivated by viewers’ reaction to the show—that Yelp issued a notification on Monday afternoon that they were “cleaning it up.”

The Manitowoc County office has also received at least 200 voicemails and emails from people around the world since Netflix released the show on December 18, according to Robert Hermann, current department director of the Manitowoc Sheriff’s Office. He told Vocativ that calls and emails have gone to every member of the Sheriff’s office. “The more messages we get, the more disruptive it is,” he said. “I believe the messages are more misinformed than not, because they’re biased by the defense’s side, whose job is always to shed a doubt into the jury’s mind.” Hermann hasn’t seen the series and doesn’t know its content, although he plans to watch it soon. When asked whether the officers were annoyed by the comments, he said, “It’s unfortunate, but you deal with it. Everybody’s still coming to work.”