Kesha’s mom Pebe Sebert is addressing a lyric in her daughter’s 2010 hit single “Cannibal” which name-drops the infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
Following recent backlash from the victims’ families over the Netflix series Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, the 66-year-old singer and songwriter shared a video on TikTok Sunday to discuss how Dahmer’s name became incorporated into her daughter’s famous tune — which was released in 2010.
In the TikTok caption, she wrote, “Some context on the lyric that’s bothering people 12 years later. All opinions are valid. Not meant to shut anyone down, just more info.”
“The whole Jeffrey Dahmer lyric in “Cannibal” is a big controversy right now,” Sebert began in the video. “I thought I’d just say a few things about it because that was my line that I wrote in ‘Cannibal.'”
She explained, “At the time, Kesha and the other writer were too young to even know who Jeffrey Dahmer was. Literally, the way it happened is I have this rhyming program called Master Writer for Songwriters. We were looking for a rhyme for ‘goner,’ at the very end of the widest rhymes was Jeffrey Dahmer. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s a perfect lyric.'”
Sebert continued: “Not to be insensitive to anybody whose families were involved in this and lost loved ones. At the time, it was a song that we were writing about Kesha. It was a tongue-in-cheek funny song. It was not actually about cannibalism. It was just a title.”
“I’m sorry for anyone who’s lost a family member in this tragedy,” Sebert added. “We certainly never meant to hurt anybody or make anybody feel bad. There’s a [series] out right now that’s kind of bringing attention back. The song’s been out for more than 10 years, probably almost 12 years. This is not something that we’ve recently written.”
Noting that “Jeffrey Dahmer was just part of the culture back then,” she added, “Everybody talked about him for many years. What he’d done was so extreme, and so worse than anyone had ever done that anybody knew about.”
In the “Cannibal” lyric, the name of the serial killer was mentioned during the verse: “Use your finger to stir my tea // And for desser I’ll suck you teeth // Be too sweet and you’ll be a goner // Yeah, I’ll pull a Jeffrey Dahmer.”
Starring Evan Peters as the titular serial killer, the new Ryan Murphy crime Netflix drama follows Dahmer’s numerous grisly murders through the lens of his victims.
The series was first announced in March 2021. It has since renewed interest in the story of the killer, as well as prompted responses from the victims’ families, with one member sharing that the show is “retraumatizing” his family.
Dahmer raped, murdered, and dismembered at least 17 men and boys in Milwaukee, Wis., between 1978 and 1991, shocking the world with the extent of his crimes, including cannibalism and necrophilia.
While the current series gives a closer look at his victims, it also highlights the one victim who got away and who played a significant role in Dahmer’s eventual arrest.
We’re not saying it’s right, but people were generally okay with certain things being in songs 12 years ago that aren’t received well now. When you know better, you do better.
@pebesebert Some context on the lyric that’s bothering people 12 years later. All opinions are valid. Not meant to shut anyone down, just more info #jeffreydahmer #kesha #cannibal #dahmer ? Cannibal – Ke$ha