‘Baby Reindeer’ Plaintiff Sues Streaming Giant for Defamation

The woman from Scotland who claims to be the real-life inspiration behind the character of Martha in Richard Gadd’s Netflix series “Baby Reindeer” has filed a lawsuit against the streaming platform. Fiona Harvey is seeking damages of at least $170 million, accusing Netflix of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and violation of her right of publicity.

Harvey alleges that Netflix spread false information about her to millions of viewers, including portraying her as a convicted stalker and a sexual assaulter. She claims that these lies have ruined her life and reputation, all for the sake of creating a more sensational story for the show.

In response to the lawsuit, a representative from Netflix stated that they will vigorously defend the matter and support Richard Gadd’s right to share his story. Gadd, the creator of “Baby Reindeer,” is not named as a defendant in Harvey’s legal action.

The series, based on Gadd’s one-man play, follows a character named Donny Dunn as he navigates his journey from a bartender to a comedian while dealing with a relentless female stalker named Martha. Despite Gadd’s claims of altering details about the real-life Martha, internet users quickly identified Fiona Harvey as the inspiration behind the character, pointing to similarities in appearance and behavior.

Harvey’s lawsuit demands more than $170 million in damages from Netflix, including compensation for actual damages, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of business, profits from the show, and punitive damages. The legal action highlights the responsibility of entertainment companies to verify the accuracy of the stories they portray.

This lawsuit comes shortly after Netflix settled a defamation case with Linda Fairstein, a former prosecutor, over her portrayal in the series “When They See Us.” The agreement included a donation to the Innocence Project and the addition of a disclaimer to the show, acknowledging fictionalized elements for dramatization purposes.