Scottish woman sues Netflix for US$170 million over defamation in “Baby Reindeer” series

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    Insert picture: Fiona Harvey

    7th June 2024 – (Los Angeles) Scottish woman Fiona Harvey has taken legal action against Netflix, seeking a minimum of $170 million in damages for defamation stemming from her depiction as a stalker in the popular mini-series “Baby Reindeer.”

    Harvey has publicly claimed to be the inspiration behind the character Martha, portrayed by actress Jessica Gunning, who bears a physical resemblance to Harvey and shares her profession as a lawyer in London.

    In her complaint filed at the federal court in Los Angeles, Harvey alleges that Netflix and series creator Richard Gadd went beyond artistic license by implying, through the show’s self-proclaimed “true story” label, that she had been convicted of stalking and sentenced to five years in prison. Harvey vehemently denies stalking Gadd, who plays a fictional version of himself named Donny Dunn in the series, and denies any criminal convictions or imprisonment.

    Although Harvey refutes the show’s narrative, she claims that many viewers cannot distinguish between fiction and reality, leading to widespread discussions on Reddit and TikTok referring to her as the “real” Martha.

    The lawsuit contends that the defendants knowingly perpetuated these falsehoods for financial gain, stating, “Defendants told these lies, and never stopped, because it was a better story than the truth, and better stories made money.”

    Netflix has responded to the lawsuit, expressing its intent to vigorously defend the matter and support Richard Gadd’s right to tell his story.

    Harvey’s lawsuit seeks a minimum of $50 million for actual damages, compensatory damages including mental anguish and lost profits, and at least $20 million in punitive damages.

    This legal action follows Netflix’s recent settlement of a defamation lawsuit involving the portrayal of former prosecutor Linda Fairstein in the 2019 series “When They See Us,” highlighting the Central Park Five rape case. As part of the settlement, Netflix agreed to move disclaimers to the start of episodes and pledged a $1 million donation to a nonprofit aiding wrongfully convicted individuals.