Kesha and Katy Perry Criticized for Jeffrey Dahmer Lyrics

Kesha and Katy Perry Criticized for Jeffrey Dahmer Lyrics

Artists like Kesha and Katy Perry are receiving criticism for old lyrics referencing serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

With the recent release of Netflix's limited series Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story starring Evan Peters, Dahmer's gruesome legacy is once again in the spotlight. As his crimes gain more awareness with younger audiences, fans are reexamining pop songs that they believe glorify the serial killer and thus disrespect his victims' families.

"She’s a beast, I call her Karma, she eats your heart like Jeffrey Dahmer," featured artist Juicy J raps on Perry's 2013 track "Dark Horse." Meanwhile, on her 2010 song "Cannibal," Kesha sings, "Be too sweet and you’ll be a goner. Yeah, I’ll pull a Jeffrey Dahmer."

Eminem has likewise been called out for his lyrics: he's name-dropped Dahmer in at least three songs including 2013's "Brainless," in which he raps, "Cause I'd probably be Dahmer."

"Why isn’t anyone calling out Katy Perry for allowing such a vile and terrible lyric to be included in one of her hit songs?," one user wrote. Others feel that the songs were released too long ago to be called out now, with another tweeting, "Trying to cancel Kesha over her song 'Cannibal,' a song that's a decade old, is insanity."

While none of the artists mentioned have responded, Hulu bleeped out the controversial lyric in Kesha's recent performance of "Cannibal." And the singer's mother, Pebe Sebert, took to Tiktok to address the lyrics, which she says she wrote.

“At the time, Kesha and the other writer were too young to even know who Jeffrey Dahmer was," Sebert says in a video taken while in Panama for her non-profit The Magic Mission. "Literally the way it happened was I have this rhyming program called MasterWriter for songwriters. We were looking for a rhyme for 'goner.'"

Sebert explains that the song was meant to be an anthem of defiance for Kesha. "It was a song that we were writing about Kesha," she said, clarifying that the song is not about literal cannibalism. "Kesha was not the most popular girl in high school. She ended up not even getting asked to the prom...It was a tongue-in-cheek, funny song. It was not actually about cannibalism. It was just a title."


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Photo via Getty / FilmMagic / Frazer Harrison