‘Baby Reindeer’s’ Alleged ‘Real Martha’ Sues Netflix, Demanding at Least $170 Million in Damages

The Scottish woman who claims to be the inspiration for Richard Gadd’s hit Netflix “Baby Reindeer” has sued the streamer, seeking monetary damages of at least $170 million.

Fiona Harvey has publicly said the character of Martha in “Baby Reindeer,” played by Jessica Gunning (pictured above), is based on her. She is suing Netflix, alleging defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and violations of her right of publicity.

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The suit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Copy of Harvey’s complaint is at this link.

Harvey’s lawsuit alleges Netflix told “brutal lies” about her in the “Baby Reindeer” series.

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

Reps for Netflix and Gadd did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Gadd is not named as a defendant in Harvey’s lawsuit.

The first episode of “Baby Reindeer” says at the beginning, “This is a true story.” Harvey’s lawsuit claims that “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.”

“Baby Reindeer,” which is based on Gadd’s one-man Edinburgh Festival play, launched on Netflix worldwide on April 11 and quickly became a monster hit on the streamer. In the show, Gadd plays a fictionalized version of himself named Donny Dunn. The seven-episode limited series follows Dunn as he attempts to graduate from barman to comedian, on the way attracting a rabid female stalker called Martha who sends him thousands of emails and harasses his family and girlfriend.

Although Gadd said in interviews he had changed identifying details about the real-life Martha, internet sleuths quickly honed in on Harvey’s social-media accounts, which had interacted frequently with Gadd during the period the show is set and even shared specific phrases used in the show, such as an innuendo-laden quip about “hanging [Martha’s] curtains.” Like the fictional Martha, Harvey is brunette, plus-size and Scottish with a legal background and a history of stalking.

“Popular internet forums such as Redditt and TikTok had thousands of users identifying and discussing Harvey as the real ‘Martha,'” according to Harvey’s lawsuit. ”The identification of Harvey as ‘Martha’ was easy and took a matter of days as Harvey’s identity was completely undisguised.”

Shortly after the show came out Harvey made an appearance on Piers Morgan’s YouTube show, where she said she was considering taking legal action against both Gadd and Netflix. She denied sending Gadd 41,000 emails, telling told Morgan the series is “a work of hyperbole.”

Harvey’s lawsuit alleges that “Netflix, a multinational billion-dollar entertainment streaming company, did literally nothing to confirm the ‘true story’ that Gadd told.”

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