After thirty years, Menendez Brothers trending again

Bailey Wolf, Editor

On the popular social media website TikTok, amidst dance crazes and wacky filters, a new trend has emerged.

The newest viral trend is a little more out there than most; teens across the country began to gush over the attractiveness of the Menendez Brothers (aka the socialites who brutally murdered their parents) and have been discussing the nitty gritty of the murder and resulting trial. 

Drooling over their looks might have been what kicked off the trend, but it is has become secondary to finding out the true nature of the murder and whether they are truly guilty or not. Their testimony about the horrific sexual abuse their father inflicted on them throughout their childhood and other awful things that happened behind closed doors at their palatial estate in Southern California, is the main argument for the fact that while they did indeed commit the murder it may have been justified.

The media in the late eighties and early nineties when the case took place focused on the fact that the brothers merely wanted their inheritance early, highlighting the fact that soon after their parent’s death they went on a massive shopping spree racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of designer purchases.

What the media failed to spend as much time mentioning was the effects that years of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse would have on someone psychologically and how those effects could drive someone to kill. 

With the cases popularity on TikTok info quickly spread to other social media sites as well as pop culture news sites and only gained traction from there. The new-found support for the Menendez Brothers resulted in the case getting a 20/20 episode on April 2nd, 2021.

The popular show on the ABC network normally deals with true crime topics, there is typically a retelling of the case,  interviews from family members and law enforcement officials, and videos from inside the courtroom. This two hour long special focused on how and why a group of teens on TikTok had brought this case back into the limelight. You can watch the special on Hulu or see some clips on YouTube.

They’re now looking at the murders through the lens of the values of 2021,” said ABC News reporter Erin Murtha, “especially with regard to the claims of sexual abuse.”

There is a stark difference between the topic of sexual assault in the eighties and nineties and now in present day. People are more aware of the statistics surrounding sexual assault and the effect it has on individuals especially when it happens during the formative years of childhood.

More than that though conversation surrounding male sexual abuse was non-existent when the murder and trials took place and it now seen as an equally terrible thing that happens to both men and women. Teens today are more aware of the impact of sexual abuse and so of course they are more likely to get behind the Menendez Brothers.