- Sarah Froiler attended a school for troubled girls and made headlines over the death of a student.
- When the True Crime Podcast used her story for an episode, she objected to the genre.
- She told an insider that she wished true crime creators were more considerate of the feelings of survivors.
Sela Freuler, a 30-year-old woman from Phoenix, Arizona, unexpectedly became the subject of an episode of the True Crime Podcast.
Freuler is a former attendee of the Lakeland Girls Academy, a Florida agency for troubled teens, after a 17-year-old girl named Naomi Wood died in her care in 2020. It closed earlier this year.
She attended the school from 2007 to 2009 and has been openly critical of the school, publishing essays online and speaking to several news outlets about how the school is run. increase. She also created TikToks about how she felt neglected by the institution during her school days, but when the “Popcorn Murder Stories” podcast used her experiences as the basis for an episode, she was satisfied. I didn’t.
The 30-year-old TikToker told Insider he believes the true crime genre should address crime and tragedy responsibly and respect the victims mentioned in the episode.
Froiler said it was “extremely upsetting” to hear her story retold without her consent.
In a TikTok video posted on Nov. 10, Froiler said several true crime podcasts had tried to tell her story without contacting her, which she found particularly offensive. He said he had picked something. There are 142 episodes dating back to 2019 on a woman named Emily and Megan (the insider agreed to keep her last name withheld due to her privacy concerns amid ongoing backlash). The show’s description on the Apple Podcasts page describes it as an “almost true” crime podcast.
In an audio recording of the episode in which Froiler responded on TikTok, the host was heard describing Froiler as a “monster” and making false claims about her.
Some of the information in the podcast appears to have been taken from Freuler’s TikTok videos, many of which casually discuss the situation, but Freuler told Insider that the host added his own jokes that made him feel uncomfortable and that the host said she felt as if she hadn’t heard her. seriously. She also accused them of blaming the victim for focusing on her behavior.
“It’s one thing for victims and survivors to talk about their experiences and use humor, but it’s quite another when someone else talks about your fears or your experiences with the same level of snarky humor.” That’s not going to work,” she said.
Froiler said the podcast host did not reach out to her for comment or an interview about the episode, which was first posted towards the end of 2021, but shortly after mentioning the podcast on TikTok about a year later. Deleted.
“It’s very upsetting to hear a complete stranger who has insanely fictionalized his entire life,” she told Insider.
After Froyler’s video went viral online and garnered 260,000 views, “Popcorn Murder Stories” was flooded with negative reviews on Apple’s podcast, and people called the show “unethical” to victims. He called it “target” and “disrespectful.” Buck’s entire catalog has since been removed from all platforms.
On Nov. 23, Freuler posted a follow-up video showing one of the podcast hosts apologizing to her in a private email. An insider saw that screenshot.
In a statement given to an insider, Emily said that she and Megan intended to “amplify” the victim’s voice by discussing the Frauler video, not “embarrass her.” said.
“We take Serra’s concerns very seriously, so as soon as we learn from viewers that she is unhappy with our coverage of Naomi’s case, we will respect her demands for accountability. ‘It’s something that deserves careful consideration, and as we went along, I realized that this is part of a larger conversation about whether humor is appropriate in the true crime space. It became clear. Overall down. “
Froiler’s experience with the podcast, she said, represents a broader question about how true crime content treats trauma like entertainment.
Froiler said he believes the humor used in the “Popcorn Murder Stories” episode epitomizes how true crime content increasingly blends entertainment and reality, adding that content creators are more interested in the story of the incident. He pointed out recent trends such as applying make-up while explaining events. Discuss them using crime, or comedy.
“It created desensitization, so it feels like we’re talking about a horror movie where you can enjoy popcorn and watch it instead of real life,” she said.
“Popcorn Murder Stories” is a smaller show than many mainstream true-crime podcasts and TV shows, and is subject to higher fact-checking standards… accountability to victims across the genre.
Most recently, a Netflix adaptation of the life and crimes of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer came under fire after being opposed by the victims’ relatives. The insider depicted a scene in which Retise Bell, sister of one of Dahmer’s victims, Errol Lindsey, made a shocking statement at Dahmer’s 1992 sentencing, although Shaw had not contacted her. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the show’s creator, Ryan Murphy, said his team contacted “about 20” of the victims’ families, but none of them reached out to them. did not respond.
In such cases, Froiler said, true crime creators have a responsibility to weigh the impact of their content and do their best to ensure that the true voices of victims and survivors are represented. thinking.
“If you’re using someone’s real-life experience as material, you have to consider their thoughts and feelings,” she told Insider.
Freuler says he continues to share his stories using TikTok.
“I find it helpful to be able to tell my story in my own words and find community with people who have gone through similar experiences through social media,” she said.
For more examples like this, check out Insider’s Digital Culture team article here.