Netflix faces $170 million lawsuit over Baby Reindeer stalker depiction

June 7, 2024
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A Scottish woman who says it only took thousands of Reddit and TikTok users “a matter of days” to identify her as the inspiration behind a stalker in Netflix’s Baby Reindeer series has filed a $170 million defamation lawsuit against Netflix and the show’s creator, Richard Gadd. Fiona Harvey alleges her “identity and likeness” were used for the character Martha Scott, played by Jessica Gunning, telling “brutal lies” out of “greed and lust for fame” that have destroyed “her reputation, her character, and her life.”

In the series, which claims in its title card that it’s a “true story” based on Gadd’s personal experiences, the comedian plays a fictionalized version of himself being stalked by Martha. While Harvey isn’t mentioned in the show by name, the lawsuit says her identity as the basis for Martha was “completely undisguised” and alleges that Netflix “did literally nothing” to validate the events depicted.

Fiona Harvey’s lawyers claim Netflix “did literally nothing” to confirm the events depicted in Baby Reindeer

“The lies that Defendants told about Harvey to over 50 million people worldwide include that Harvey is a twice-convicted stalker who was sentenced to five years in prison, and that Harvey sexually assaulted Gadd,” said Harvey’s lawyers in the filing. “Defendants told these lies, and never stopped, because it was a better story than the truth, and better stories made money.”

Gadd previously told The Guardian that the Baby Reindeer story is “very emotionally true, obviously: I was severely stalked and severely abused. But we wanted it to exist in the sphere of art, as well as protect the people it’s based on.” Netflix said in a statement to CNN that the company intends “to defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd’s right to tell his story.”

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