Outraged by Netflix’s docuseries “Making a Murderer,” people online are writing petitions demanding the pardon of its main subject, Steven Avery.
The 10-part film focuses its lens on Manitowoc County in Wisconsin and the investigation, trial, and aftermath of the murder of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach. Filled with seemingly corrupt authority figures, suspicious evidence, and arguably a coerced confession from a learning-impaired 16-year-old, you may feel frustrated after watching “Making a Murder.” And you’re definitely not alone.
The two circulating petitions — one on the White House official petition website We the People and the other on Change.org — are both asking for President Obama to give Avery a presidential pardon. The Change.org petition focuses solely on Avery while the White House petition also includes his 16-year-old nephew Brendan Dassey, who was convicted for Halbach’s murder as well.
“Steven Avery should be exonerated at once by presidential pardon, and the Manitowoc County officials complicit in his two false imprisonments should be held accountable to the highest extent of the U.S. criminal and civil justice systems,” reads the Change.org petition. So far, nearly 160,000 people have signed it.
That’s a lot more than the White House We the People petition, which includes Dassey in its language and has just over 19,000 signatures. It needs 80,000 more people to sign before January 19, 2016, in order to be considered by the White House staff.
The Change.org petition seems to be gaining the most traction on Twitter, where many people are broadcasting their support for Avery's release.
President of the United States: Free Steven Avery - Sign the Petition! https://t.co/Nsmc5hhhbk via Change— Stroke 9 (@Stroke9) January 4, 2016
Have you seen Making A Murderer on Netflix? Outraged? If so join the cause https://t.co/5jDqSiCpqB and if not cancel plans and watch!— Jeff Probst (@JeffProbst) January 3, 2016
The petitions are not the only way people are expressing their frustration after the documentary. The online outcry has also extended to Reddit, which created /r/MakingaMurderer to discuss theories about the case.
Meanwhile, “Making a Murderer” is not without controversy. Some people have called the series biased towards the Avery family, and Ken Kratz, the original prosecutor in the Halbach case, told FOX 11 News the documentary only included "80 to 90 percent of the physical evidence" that tied Steven Avery to the murder. Since the documentary's premiere online, he said he has received threats.
The filmmakers disagree. "We believe the series is representative of what we witnessed," Demos told FOX 11. "The key pieces of the state's evidence are included in the series."
The current sheriff of Manitowoc County has also responded, telling a Post-Crescent reporter: "I won’t call it a documentary, because a documentary puts things in chronological order and tells the story as it is. […] I’ve heard things are skewed.” He also added he had not seen the documentary.
You can watch all 10 episodes of “Making a Murderer” on Netflix now.