Is Netflix’s ‘Baby Reindeer’ a Hit Series or a Defamation Disaster?

Netflix has finally responded to another lawsuit claiming that the company has defamed another person allegedly portrayed in a biographical series.

Million-Dollar Lawsuit

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Billion-dollar streaming service Netflix has vowed to fight a multi-million dollar lawsuit levied against the company by a woman who has claimed she was defamed by the network’s hit series ‘Baby Reindeer.’

Filed on Thursday

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Scottish national Fiona Harvey filed a complaint in the District Court for the Central District of California last Thursday, claiming that a central character in the show was based on her.

Startling Claims

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According to Harvey, the character was a gross misrepresentation and had caused her significant mental anguish.

Baby Reindeer

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The series ‘Baby Reindeer’ was created by Scottish writer/comedian Richard Gadd, and is based on his alleged real-life experiences of being stalked by a woman named ‘Martha.’

A Stalker Story

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During the show, Martha violently attacks Gadd and his romantic partner in two separate incidents, sexually assaults him, and sends him tens of thousands of emails with elements of harassment.

A Complex Character

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She is later revealed to be a serial stalker who was twice convicted on similar charges and previously imprisoned for her behavior.

Huge Success for Gadd and Netflix

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‘Baby Reindeer’ went on to become a huge critical and commercial hit for Netflix, holding the top spot of ‘most-watched’ shows on Netflix for months, and the ‘true story’ has garnered significant public commentary and scrutiny.

Harvey Steps Up

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Now, Harvey has entered the public spotlight. She has claimed that the character of Martha, who shares a physical resemblance to Harvey and also works as a lawyer, is not only based on her but has been used to slander and defame her public image.

“An Innocent Woman Defamed”

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The class-action lawsuit described Harvey as “an innocent woman defamed … at a magnitude and scale without precedent” and accused Gadd and Netflix of telling “the biggest lie in television history.”

Did It Really Happen?

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It claims that while the show portrays Harvey through the character Martha, none of her actions or the backstory depicted ever happened in real life.

Seeking Damages

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Harvey is now seeking damages and a trial process that would amount to a $170 million cost for Netflix, on the grounds that it had resulted in “defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, gross negligence” and “violations of [her] right to privacy”.

The Defendants “Lies”

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“The lies that Defendants told about Harvey to over 50 million people worldwide include that [the claimant] is a twice-convicted stalker who was sentenced to five years in prison, and that [she] sexually assaulted Gadd,” the complaint added.

The Lies Never Stopped

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

Piers Morgan Interview

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While Harvey has been publicly condemning Netflix since her highly publicized interview with Piers Morgan last month, the company did not respond to her claims until the suit was filed.

Netflix Responds

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On Friday a Netflix spokesperson issued an official statement on the matter, saying that the company “intends to defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd’s right to tell his story.”

A Plea from the Creator

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Despite the rampant discussions surrounding Baby Reindeer and its on-screen claim of being “based on a true story,” writer and star Gadd has strongly urged viewers not to speculate on who the “real life” people are.

“Unfairly Caught Up in Speculation”

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“People I love, have worked with, and admire… are unfairly getting caught up in speculation,” Gadd wrote in a post on Instagram in April, following the show’s explosion in popularity.

“Please Don’t Speculate”

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“Please don’t speculate on who any of the real-life people could be,” he added. “That’s not the point of our show.”

Can Viewers Tell the Difference?

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Despite these pleas, Harvey has claimed that they do little to prevent viewers from speculating and even pursuing people they believe inspired the characters, as they cannot tell the difference between series elements that are based in reality and those that have been fictionalized.

Not the First Time

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This lawsuit is not the first time Netflix has been taken to court over allegations of defamation and misrepresentation.

Lawsuit Settlement

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Just last week on Tuesday the company settled a lawsuit brought against them by former New York prosecutor Linda Fairstein, who was portrayed in the 2019 Netflix series “When They See Us.”

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The postIs Netflix’s ‘Baby Reindeer’ a Hit Series or a Defamation Disaster? first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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