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'Baby Reindeer' inspiration sues Netflix for $170 million

By AFP

June 7, 2024 10:02 AM


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A British woman who claims she was the inspiration for the stalker in the smash Netflix hit "Baby Reindeer" sued the streamer Thursday, demanding $170 million in damages.

Fiona Harvey has identified herself as the real-life "Martha," the delusional, violent and abusive woman at the center of Richard Gadd's global phenomenon, which claims in its opening episode to be "a true story."

"The above quote... is the biggest lie in television history," the lawsuit, filed in California, says.

"It is a lie told by Netflix and the show's creator, Richard Gadd, out of greed and lust for fame; a lie designed to attract more viewers, get more attention, to make more money, and to viciously destroy the life of Plaintiff, Fiona Harvey."

In a statement to AFP, a Netflix spokesperson said: "We intend to defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd's right to tell his story."

The seven-episode series premiered on Netflix in April and quickly became a huge hit.

The show, based on Gadd's one-man play, follows a fictionalized version of the author who meets a woman in the pub where he works.

What unspools over the following episodes is a deeply disturbing years-long ordeal for Gadd in which Martha sends thousands of emails, texts and voice messages as she harasses him, his girlfriend and his family.

Martha, who the show claims to have been previously convicted for stalking a lawyer, is also shown to sexually assault Gadd.

The British writer and performer has told journalists that he changed details about Martha in an effort to protect her identity, but armchair detectives quickly tracked her down and began contacting her on social media.

After being outed, Harvey appeared on British television, denying that she had bombarded Gadd with messages, or that she had attacked him or his girlfriend.

"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," the suit says.

"Defendants told these lies, and never stopped, because it was a better story than the truth, and better stories made money.

"And Netflix, a multinational billion dollar entertainment streaming company did literally nothing to confirm the 'true story' that Gadd told."

The suit against Netflix alleges defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence, among other claims, and demands $170 million.


AFP


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