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Netflix Viewers Sickened By ‘Most Disturbing’ True Crime Doc They’ve Ever Seen

Tell Them You Love Me Has been described by Netflix viewers as the 'most disturbing' documentary.
Credit: Sky UK

Netflix viewers have been left sickened by the ‘most disturbing’ true crime documentary. 

The streaming platform offers a range of docs that delve into the most perplexing and chilling criminal cases.

They don’t just provide a detailed exploration of heinous acts, they also unravel the psychological and societal factors behind them.

Now, one doc in particular has unsettled viewers and everyone is talking about it.

Tell Them You Love Me (2023).
A true crime documentary has dropped on Netflix and people are saying it’s the ‘most disturbing’ they’ve ever seen. Credit: Netflix

Discussing it on social media, one person writes: “I’ve watched A LOT of documentaries but this was truly some of the sickest s*** I’ve ever seen.”

A second adds: “It ended up being one of the most disturbing and uncomfortable documentaries I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a lot.”

“It made me sick to my stomach,” a third agrees.

A fourth person pens: “It might be one of the most unsettling documentaries I’ve ever watched on Netflix.”

Tell Them You Love Me (2023).
Viewers have been quick to offer their comments on the disturbing doc. Credit: Netflix

This new documentary, executively produced by the renowned Louis Theroux, plunges into a controversial and distressing case that some have found too difficult to watch.

Directed by Nick August-Perna of The Swell Season fame, it explores the disturbing case of Anna Stubblefield, a former philosophy professor whose controversial relationship led to a criminal conviction.

The story begins in 2009 when Stubblefield, then 41, met Derrick Johnson, a 30-year-old non-verbal man with cerebral palsy, through his brother, John Johnson.

John was a student in one of Stubblefield’s courses at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey.

Tell Them You Love Me (2023).
Anna Stubblefield claimed she had a consensual s**ual relationship with Derrick Johnson, who has cerebral palsy. Credit: Netflix

According to a 2015 article in The New York Times, Stubblefield’s parents held Ph. D.s in special education and had extensive experience working with people with disabilities.

Stubblefield offered to help Derrick improve his communication skills, seemingly following in her parents’ footsteps.

What started as an educational endeavor, however, took a controversial turn when Stubblefield, who was married at the time, claimed that her interactions with Derrick had developed into a consensual s**ual relationship.

Derrick’s mother, Daisy Johnson, vehemently disagreed, stating that her son was incapable of consenting to physical or emotional intimacy due to his condition.

Tell Them You Love Me (2023).
Tell Them You Love Me has promoted strong reactions from viewers. Credit: Netflix

Netflix describes the doc as a scandalous exploration of ‘the controversial relationship between a professor and a nonverbal man that leads to a trial over race, disability, and power.’

Stubblefield was found guilty of two counts of first-degree aggravated s**ual assault and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, per NJ.com.

In 2017, Stubblefield’s conviction was overturned and she was granted a new trial with a new judge.

Stubblefield later took a plea deal and pleaded guilty to the lesser third-degree aggravated criminal s**ual contact, per NJ.com. She was sentenced to time served and released from prison.

Despite her guilty plea, she says in the doc: “I’m not guilty of a crime.”

Given the sensitive subject matter and the gravity of the allegations, Tell Them You Love Me has prompted strong reactions from viewers.

The doc dives into the case specifics but also raises broader questions regarding consent, power dynamics, and the intersection of race and disability within the justice system.

Watch the gripping trailer below…

Tell Them You Love Me is now streaming on Netflix in the U.S. U.K. viewers can watch via Sky.

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Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.