Netflix accused of defamation by alleged ‘Martha’ in Baby Reindeer lawsuit

Updated

A woman claiming to have inspired Richard Gadd’s hit TV series Baby Reindeer is seeking at least 170 million dollars (£133 million) in a lawsuit filed against Netflix.

Fiona Harvey has accused the streaming platform of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, gross negligence, and violations of her right of publicity in the lawsuit filed at the Californian federal court.

It comes after she claimed to be the inspiration behind the character of Martha Scott, who stalks Gadd’s character Donny Dunn after he serves her a free cup of tea in the pub where he works.

Baby Reindeer
Fiona Harvey appearing in an interview on the Piers Morgan Uncensored’s YouTube channel (Piers Morgan Uncensored/TalkTV)

The show is said to be based on the real-life experiences of comedian and writer Gadd. After the show aired, he asked viewers not to speculate over the real people who inspired the series.

In the new lawsuit, Harvey has accused Netflix of spreading “brutal lies”, including that she is a “twice convicted stalker who was sentenced to five years in prison”.

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

“As a result of defendants’ lies, malfeasance and utterly reckless misconduct, Harvey’s life had been ruined.”

The court documents allege Netflix “did literally nothing” to confirm that the story represented was true, stating that “Harvey has never been convicted of any crime and has never been to prison”.

A statement from Netflix said: “We intend to defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd’s right to tell his story.”

The lawsuit seeks actual damages and compensatory damages at 50 million dollars (£39 million) each; punitive damages at 20 million dollars (£16 million); as well as “all profits” from Baby Reindeer at 50 million dollars (£39 million).

A representative for Gadd has been contacted for comment.

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