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Baby Reindeer: ‘Real Martha’ Sues Netflix For ‘Baby Reindeer’—Here’s What Le...

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Published Time: 07.06.2024 - 18:14:10 Modified Time: 07.06.2024 - 18:14:10

She also allegedly stalked Gadd outside of his home, workplace, and on stage in comedy clubs — even going as far as harassing his loved ones, including his parents and a trans woman he started dating. Baby Reindeer, fiona harvey



Jessica Gunning as Martha in Baby Reindeer on Netflix.


Fiona Harvey, the Scottish woman who says the character Martha in Netflix’s series Baby Reindeer is based on her, has filed a lawsuit against Netflix seeking at least $170 million in damages.

Netflix and Richard Gadd assured the public they changed key facts Martha for the show, but their best efforts to conceal her identity have seemingly backfired. So, what happened between Harvey, Richard Gadd and Netflix, and how did it reach this crucial point?

The show is based on a Gadd’s real-life experience with a stalker in his 20s. The actor claimed that the woman sent him 41,071 emails, 350 hours’ worth of voicemails, 744 tweets, 46 Facebook messages, 106 pages of letters, and a variety of weird gifts, including a reindeer toy, sleeping pills, a woolly hat, and boxer shorts.

She also allegedly stalked Gadd outside of his home, workplace, and on stage in comedy clubs — even going as far as harassing his loved ones, including his parents and a trans woman he started dating.


“At first everyone at the pub thought it was funny that I had an admirer,” Gadd revealed to UK’s The Times. “Then she started to invade my life, following me, turning up at my gigs, waiting outside my house, sending thousands of voicemails and emails.”

To protect the real Martha’s identity, Gadd told GQ in April that he and Netflix went “to such lengths to disguise her that I doubt she would recognize herself in the show.” Netflix Policy Chief Benjamin King even told a UK Parliament last month that the streamer and producer Clerkenwell Films had taken “every reasonable precaution in disguising the real-life identities of the involved in that story.”

However, all of their best efforts to hide Martha’s identity unraveled when internet sleuths began hunting for clues. Quickly, social media users discovered Harvey’s Twitter account, which showed that she sent multiple tweets to Gadd in 2014, one of which was allegedly featured in the show.

While this was happening, Gadd and Jessica Gunning (who portrays Martha on Baby Reindeer), urged the public to stop trying to uncover Martha’s identity. "Please don't speculate on who any of the real life could be. That's not the point of our show," Gadd said in a now-expired Instagram story.

Gunning also told BBC Scotland's The Edit that the speculation around Martha was "quite sad" and "not the point of the show at all." She continued, "If you like the show and you are a fan of it, you should stick with the story of Martha and Donny being what connects you, not trying to do any detective work and find out any real identities."

The actress added that Netflix went to "great lengths" to conceal the identities of those involved. "Richard has done an amazing job of not making the story so black and white, so there’s no goody or baddy or villain or victim, really,” she said. "They are just complicated like humans are."


Jessica Gunning as Martha In Baby Reindeer on Netflix.


But the speculation surrounding Harvey’s connection with Martha didn’t stop. In fact, it grew stronger after a woman claiming to be Gadd's stalker anonymously told the Daily Mail that she was considering legal action against him.

She insisted that now, Gadd was the one who was obsessed with her. “He’s using Baby Reindeer to stalk me now,” she said. “I’m the victim. He’s written a bloody show me.”

The woman told the tabloid that Gadd's script amounted to "bullying an older woman on television for fame and fortune" and that she had received online "death threats and abuse from Richard Gadd supporters."

Harvey then went on Piers Morgan Uncensored in May and shared that she was considering taking legal action against Gadd and Netflix. She also denied sending Gadd 41,000 emails and told Morgan that Baby Reindeer is “a work of hyperbole.”


Richard Gadd and Jessica Gunning in Baby Reindeer on Netflix.


On June 6, Harvey filed a lawsuit suing the streaming site, alleging defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and violations of her right of publicity. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

“The lies that Defendants told Harvey to over 50 million worldwide include that Harvey is a twice-convicted stalker who was sentenced to five years in prison, and that Harvey sexually assaulted Gadd,” the complaint reads. “Defendants told these lies, and never stopped, because it was a better story than the truth, and better stories made money.”

The lawsuit continues, “As a result of Defendants’ lies, malfeasance and utterly reckless misconduct, Harvey’s life had been ruined. Simply, Netflix and Gadd destroyed her reputation, her character and her life.”

While the first episode of Baby Reindeer opens with “this is a true story,” Harvey’s suit alleges that line “is the biggest lie in television history.”

“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 — an innocent woman defamed by Netflix and Richard Gadd at a magnitude and scale without precedent,” the complaint continues.


Harvey earned a Degree of Bachelor of Laws from the University of Aberdeen in 1990, a diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Strathclyde in 1993 and was granted an Entrance Certificate to the Law Society of Scotland in 1997. In 2005, Harvey earned her Graduate Diploma in Law (CPE) from the University of Westminster, according to the lawsuit.

Harvey is now seeking more than $170 million from Netflix, including at least $50 million for actual damages, at least $50 million in compensatory damages for “mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of ,” at least $50 million “for all profits from ‘Baby Reindeer,’” and at least $20 million in punitive damages, per Variety.

Baby Reindeer is streaming on Netflix. Watch the official trailer below.

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