Netflix recently premiered a 10-part true-crime documentary Making A Murderer, about controversial murder investigation in Wisconsin. Some viewers of the show have been so moved by what they’ve watched that they’re forming virtual picket lines on Yelp and other review sites.
This feels incredibly wrong to write this, because I’m not sure how one can “spoil” a matter that’s in the public record and has been the subject on ongoing news coverage — some of it national — for more than a decade. BUT, if you know nothing about the Steven Avery case and don’t yet want to know how the documentary concludes, then maybe go read something else.
Ken Kratz, the special prosecutor who handled the Avery trial, continues to use the case to promote his private law firm in Wisconsin, boasting on his site that he “Successfully tried one of the largest and most complex homicide cases in Wisconsin history” —
And even including news articles about his performance in the case and his involvement in the prosecution of Avery’s nephew Brendan Dassey, who was convicted of taking part in the murder despite a lack of physical evidence:
Anyone who has seen Making A Murderer knows that Kratz does not exactly come across well in the documentary. He claims — in spite of the fact that the crew spent a decade filming just about every aspect of this case — that he was not given an opportunity to provide his side of the story for the series, a claim the producers deny.
With the Avery and Dassey cases in legal limbo — both have exhausted their state-level appeals — viewers who are convinced that the two men are victims of prosecutorial misconduct (or who just don’t like Kratz) have taken their protest to the virtual sidewalk of his law firm’s Yelp page.
Below are just a smattering of the more than 100 Avery-related reviews posted:
It’s gotten to the point where visitors to the page now see an “Active Cleanup Alert,” indicating that some of the reviews you read might be motivated more by headlines than by, per Yelp terms, actual business dealings with the firm:
Len Kachinsky was Brendan Dassey’s perma-grinned defense lawyer. In the documentary, he is depicted as being convinced of his client’s guilt, to the point of having his investigator talk the teen into a written confession (complete with explicit stick-figure drawings that don’t mesh with the physical evidence). While his law firm’s Yelp page has not yet been demolished by angry viewers of the show, there are more than a handful of protest posts:
In fact, according to the Inquistr, since the release of the documentary, his firm has scrubbed Kachinsky’s name and bio from its website.
Interestingly, the firms for Avery’s two prominently featured defense attorneys, Dean Strang and Jerry Buting, show no signs of any criticism or praise on Yelp. In fact, we couldn’t locate a Yelp page for Strang’s firm in Madison, Wisconsin.
One company that is receiving 5-star reviews from viewers of the documentary is the Avery family salvage and auto repair business in Two Rivers, WI. While it only has about a half-dozen Yelp writeups at the moment, they are all positive and supportive of the family.
The outpouring of pro-Avery sentiment is even more noticeable when you look at the Google reviews, where more than 200 have been written in the last week, nearly all of them voicing outrage over the case or support for Steven’s family:
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