Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s name has been woven into the lyrics of a number of songs over the years, from tracks recorded by Katy Perry and Eminem to Kesha‘s 2010 track “Cannibal.” In response to recent controversy discussed on social media regarding pop culture references to Dahmer, Kesha’s mother, Pebe Sebert — a songwriter and non-profit founder who has a co-writing credit on “Cannibal” — says she’s the one who wrote the lyric “I’ll pull a Jeffrey Dahmer.”
“The whole Jeffrey Dahmer lyric in ‘Cannibal’ is a big controversy right now, and I thought I’d just say a few things about it because that was my line that I wrote in ‘Cannibal.’” Sebert said in a TikTok video uploaded on Sunday (Oct. 2). She filmed herself in Panama, where she was on her way to an event put on by her non-profit organization, The Magic Mission.
“At the time, Kesha and the other writer were too young to even know who Jeffrey Dahmer was. Literally the way it happened was I have this rhyming program called MasterWriter for songwriters. We were looking for a rhyme for ‘goner.’ At the very end of the widest rhymes was ‘Jeffrey Dahmer.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s the perfect lyric,’” she said.
“Not to be insensitive to anybody whose families were involved in this and lost loved ones,” said Sebert. “At the time, it was a song that we were writing about Kesha. Kesha was not the most popular girl in high school. She ended up not even getting asked to the prom. Later on, when she got famous, all these guys that, you know, never paid any attention to her were coming around and like, ‘Remember me? Remember me?’ And she was like, ‘Yeah, now that I’m famous you’re up my anus.’ It was a tongue-in-cheek, funny song. It was not actually about cannibalism. It was just a title.”
Netflix released Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, starring Evan Peters as Dahmer, on Sept. 21. The Ryan Murphy- and Ian Brennan-created limited series topped the streamer’s top 10 list the week of its release. Between 1978 and 1991, Dahmer gruesomely murdered 17 men; family members of Dahmer’s victims have criticized Netflix for profiting off of their tragic stories.
In her TikTok clip about “Cannibal,” Sebert said: “I’m sorry for anyone who’s lost a family member in this tragedy. We certainly never meant to hurt anybody or make anybody feel bad. There’s a movie [Netflix’s Dahmer limited series] out right now that’s kind of bringing attention back. That song’s been out for more than 10 years, probably almost 12 years. This is not something that we’d recently written.”
The song is featured on Kesha’s 2010 EP of the same name, which followed that year’s release of her debut full-length album, Animal. The Cannibal EP also included songs like “Blow” and “We R Who We R.”
“Once again, Jeffrey Dahmer’s name wouldn’t even be in the song if it wasn’t for the MasterWriter that threw his name up there because he was a person who became famous, unfortunately, because of what he did. Jeffrey Dahmer was just part of the culture back then. Everybody talked about him for many years. What he had done was so extreme and so worse than anything anyone had ever done that anybody knew about,” Sebert said.
Besides being a songwriter, Sebert is founder of The Magic Mission, which she launched in September to better the lives of street dogs.
According to the organization’s website, The Magic Mission is dedicated to stopping the overpopulation, abuse and homelessness of dogs and cats in Latin America through orchestrating and funding sterilization blitzes (Sebert explains exactly how those events operate in this TikTok video), health services, and community education. Find out more about The Magic Mission and how to get involved here.