NEW YORK—Saying the ghastly imitations were sadly not entirely surprising, sources told reporters Tuesday that a widely viewed documentary about a brutal murder had inspired a string of numerous copycat documentaries. “It’s a phenomenon we unfortunately observe from time to time: producers see that a certain true-crime doc is getting attention and then try to replicate it in hopes they’ll get some of the spotlight too,” said critic Lauren Frye, noting that the many copycats of The Life And Death Of Ashley Dutcher all feature hallmarks of the original, including a small town, a murdered teenage girl, speculations about mishandled evidence, and home videos of the suspected killer as a child. “It’s absolutely sickening. We in the media have a responsibility to stop sensationalizing these derivative works with our coverage, because that’s exactly what the horrifying people who make them crave. The best thing we all can do is simply look away.” Frye went on to say that while copycat documentaries couldn’t be prevented altogether, fewer would be produced if people knew they’d have to upload it themselves to YouTube and hope even a hundred people watched.

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