Baby Reindeer: Netflix breaks silence on 'real Martha' lawsuit as woman sues platform for $170 million

Fiona Harvey is suing Netflix for $170 million over defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, gross negligence, and violations of her right of publicity.

Netflix have broken their silence over being named in a lawsuit by the “real Martha” over her alleged portrayal in Richard Gadd hit Baby Reindeer.

Fiona Harvey, a Scottish law graduate revealed on Thursday (June 6), that she was suing the streaming platform over the alleged portrayal of the character of Martha, who is played by Jessica Gunning.

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Harvey was quickly dubbed the “real-life” Martha after the series went viral, this is despite Gadd taking to Instagram to ask viewers not to “speculate”. In April, during a controversial interview with Piers Morgan, she stated she would sue both Netflix and the series creator over the “defamatory” depiction of herself, adding that she had been “forced” into telling her side of the story after receiving death threats from “internet sleuths”.

When asked by Morgan if she will “categorically be taking legal action”, she replied: “Absolutely, against both him (Gadd) and Netflix.” She explained she had instructed lawyers in part, but “we want to explore all the options out there, there are a number of people to sue”.

Baby Reindeer was written by and stars comedian Richard Gadd, in the Netflix series he plays a fictionalised version of himself who gets stalked by a woman called Martha Scott played by Gunning. Netflix has been challenged on its safeguarding protocols after Harvey’s identity was quickly revealed following the popularity of the series.

Harvey is seeking at least $170 million (£133 million) for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, gross negligence, and violations of her right of publicity, after claiming to be the inspiration behind the character of Martha, who stalks Gadd’s character Donny Dunn.

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Responding to the lawsuit filed in California, Netflix said: “We intend to defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd’s right to tell his story.”

Gadd has since thanked the streaming platform for telling his story, saying on Friday (June 7) that he was “forever grateful” to those who took on his semi-autobiographical series, as he collected the prize for best breakthrough limited series at the inaugural Gotham TV Awards.

Sarah McCann is a Trends Writer for NationalWorld who specialises in stories around TV, Film and Health. If you liked this article you can follow Sarah on X (Twitter) here. You can also sign up to her free weekly column in the NationalWorld newsletter bringing you the latest tv and film news every Thursday.

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