Such discussions defy the black-and-white morality tales spun as leisure within the ’90s. “The 1990s in the U.S. was the decade for infotainment, from more normative news coverage to Jerry Springer,” Ms. Ross wrote, citing the headline-dominating tales of O.J. Simpson, Nancy Kerrigan and Lorena Bobbitt.
The Menendez brothers belong to a class of criminals whose tales are being retold with extra nuance and reassessed in mild of shifting public opinion. “We are right now much more attuned as a society to the realities of the impact of domestic violence, sexual abuse and harassment, and racist violence and harassment,” wrote Ms. Ross. “This allows us to look at ‘reactions’ to such elements with 20/20 hindsight.”
Aileen Wuornos, a serial killer who was executed in 2002 for the murders of seven males in Florida between 1989 and 1990, mentioned the killings had been self-defense towards sexual assault; she has since come to be seen as a misunderstood feminist determine. (There are loads of TikTok movies about her, too.) Same goes for Ms. Bobbitt, who minimize off her husband’s penis in 1993 after he raped her, she mentioned.
In addition to inspiring sympathy from younger folks studying about their case, the Menendez brothers have been forged by some on social media as stars (their video edits invoke hallmarks of “stan” tradition, like upbeat pop music and dreamy soft-focus pictures) and intercourse symbols. This isn’t new: When they had been first arrested, the brothers obtained 1,000 letters every week on the Los Angeles County jail, Mr. Rand mentioned, a few of which contained nude images. He remembers seeing “groupies” lined up in a single day to get seats at their trial.
But some posters see such romanticization as a distraction from their advocacy. “I want people to stop sexualizing them and actually focus on the case, because their looks have nothing to do with it,” mentioned Zoe Patterson, 17, an avid Menendez supporter from Melbourne, Australia, who made fan accounts on Instagram and TikTok in August. She hopes the brothers by no means encounter “those sexualization edits, considering they’re both married and have suffered a traumatic childhood.”
“I just want to thank them for inspiring me — not only me, but other supporters as well,” she mentioned, citing reviews of the brothers’ efforts working remedy teams for different inmates. “I think what they’re doing is absolutely amazing.”