Netflix Sued Almost $200 Million Over Baby Reindeer Controversy

By Christopher Isaac | Updated

The dark comedy miniseries Baby Reindeer has proven to be a hit for Netflix this year. It stars real life comedian Richard Gadd presenting a dramatized version of an autobiographical comedy bit he has claiming he was stalked, which Baby Reindeer turns into a dramatized retelling.

But Netflix is now being sued over Baby Reindeer. A woman claiming she is the person the stalker character is based on has come forward and has filed a lawsuit for defamation.

Fiona Harvey Suing Netflix

Fiona Harvey is the woman behind the lawsuit. She claims that the stalker character in the show, Martha, is obviously based on her as she once knew Richard Gadd.

However, Harvey says the show’s depiction of Martha is completely untrue to how the real events played out between the two.

Netflix did market Baby Reindeer as based on true events, so the lawsuit could have merit if Harvey’s claims of innocence are true.

$170 Million Lawsuit

The lawsuit is for over $170 million. In the show, Martha obsessively stalks Richard Gadd’s character, sending him over 41,000 emails, showing up unwanted at his work, and even sexually assaulting him.

Harvey denies any of this happening in reality. She says Netflix’s willingness to produce Baby Reindeer and market it as a true story was negligence to conduct basic research about the situation, justifying her lawsuit for defamation.

Never Stopped The Lies?

Harvey says that in making the show, Netflix “told these lies, and never stopped, because it was a better story than the truth, and better stories made money.”

Interestingly, it is only Netflix as the producer of Baby Reindeer that is named in the lawsuit. Despite writing and starring in the miniseries, Richard Gadd is not mentioned at this time.

Never Been Convicted

Baby Reindeer

In addition to the behavior mentioned above, Martha’s character in the show is also said to have spent time in prison after being convicted of stalking.

Harvey says that this is categorically false in terms of her actual life. New York attorney Richard Roth says they have “incontrovertible documentary evidence” that Harvey has never been convicted.

If Netflix did indeed base Baby Reindeer off the interactions between Harvey and Gadd, the lawsuit could build steam against the streaming platform.

Netflix Not Confirming Or Denying

Baby Reindeer

While Gadd had implored fans not to try and deduce who the character of Martha was based on, Harvey feels enough was included in the show to make it obvious it was her.

Harvey claims fans believe so as well and have been sending her death threats. Theatre director Sean Foley says he was also targeted by fans believing he was the inspiration for one of the characters, which Gadd openly confirmed was not true.

As of yet, neither Gadd nor Netflix has confirmed or denied if Baby Reindeer was inspired by Harvey, though it is hard to imagine either would strengthen the lawsuit by confirming such a thing.

Baby Reindeer Not The First Time

Baby Reindeer

This is not the first time Netflix has been sued for defamation over a miniseries. The Queen’s Gambit also got the platform in trouble courtesy of Georgian chess grandmaster Nona Gaprindashvili who sued Netflix for defamation after the show incorrectly stated that she never competed against men in chess tournaments.

Netflix eventually settled that lawsuit. If Netflix’s case with Baby Reindeer does build traction, it will be interesting to see how the streamer handles that lawsuit.

Source: BBC