Stop Romanticizing Criminals


Graphic by Alycen Kim

Alycen Kim, Editor-in-Chief

Harry Styles, Cole Sprouse, and Ted Bundy.  What do all of these men have in common? They are all adored and worshipped by teenage girls all over the world.  Yes, you read that right.  Even Ted Bundy.  

In recent years, true crime has been a point of interest and popularity in the media.  Serial killers, especially, have been boosted to stardom, with fame seemingly blurring the extent of their heinous crimes.  

Ted Bundy, an infamous killer who murdered and raped countless young women during the 1970s, is one of these so-called “celebrities”.  

After his arrest, Bundy amassed a twisted fan base of young girls, who called him “handsome” and “charming”.  

These fans flocked to his 1976 court hearing by the hundreds, even sending him love letters in prison. 

The atrocities didn’t stop in the 70s, however.  Scroll onto the wrong side of the TikTok FYP or the Instagram explore page, and one will bump into actual fan edits of the heinous criminal.  Log onto Netflix and one will also see the vast amount of movies and documentaries made about him, the most recent being “Extremely Wicked”, “Shockingly Evil” and “Vile” starring Zac Efron.    

 A bigger problem lies with the fact that these criminals receive attention not for their violent acts, but for how their crimes don’t match up with their attractive faces.  

Take the Netflix show “You”, for example.  The popular series debuted in 2018 to over 43 million viewers.   The main character, Joe Goldberg, is portrayed by Penn Badgley, whose good looks spin the show’s narrative into a whole different direction.  

Goldberg’s various love interests cause him to stalk, torture, and even kill, all under the guise of “love”.  

Goldberg’s looks create a kind of halo effect to the audience, portraying him as “handsome” and “charming” (sound familiar?), instead of focusing on his clear lack of empathy and sociopathic tendencies.  

On the other hand, some may argue that attention to these criminals may be a good thing.

Learning about these crimes may be educational and help prevent things like this from happening again in the future.  

But, there is a fine line between learning from the past and romanticizing evil people.