Netflix sued for millions over portrayal in Baby Reindeer series

Written by Jakob A. Overgaard

Jun.07 - 2024 11:07 AM CET

Movies and tv
Shutterstock, Rokas Tenys
Shutterstock, Rokas Tenys

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Fiona Harvey has filed a lawsuit against Netflix, seeking 170 million dollars, claiming her portrayal in the series "Baby Reindeer" has damaged her reputation. Harvey asserts that she is the inspiration for the character Martha, played by Jessica Gunning, and alleges the show falsely depicts her as a stalker who was imprisoned.

Harvey came forward in early May, revealing that she believes she was depicted as Martha, who is shown in the series as stalking the creator Richard Gadd.

In the show, Martha sends thousands of emails, frequently calls, appears at Gadd's home, and even assaults his girlfriend. Martha is ultimately convicted of stalking and sent to prison.

Harvey contends that Netflix and Richard Gadd falsely portrayed her as a criminal. "This statement (that it is a true story) is the biggest lie ever told in television history," Harvey stated in her lawsuit, filed in California, Netflix’s home state. She argues that the depiction has severely harmed her reputation and life.

Despite Netflix and Gadd's efforts to obscure the real identity of the woman depicted, internet activists quickly identified Harvey by comparing social media posts from the series to original posts that were still publicly available. This led to a wave of online scrutiny directed at Harvey.

Harvey's lawsuit argues that Netflix and Gadd's actions were driven by greed and a desire for fame, prioritizing viewership and profits over truth. She claims that the series’ creators intentionally fabricated elements of her life story to create a more dramatic narrative, which has had severe personal repercussions for her.

Netflix maintains that the series is a true story and that measures were taken to protect the identity of the individuals involved. Richard Gadd also stands by the accuracy of the events depicted in the show. However, Harvey’s legal team insists that the portrayal is not only inaccurate but also defamatory, leading to significant distress and damage to her personal and professional life.

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