Baby Reindeer sparks police probe after Netflix viewers falsely accuse man

The Netflix series has prompted some armchair detectives to try and find the real people it's inspired by

Baby Reindeer (Netflix)
Baby Reindeer is inspired by creator Richard Gadd's (pictured) own experience of abuse and stalking, which has prompted some viewers to try and find out who the real people are. (Netflix)

A police investigation has been launched after a man named Sean Foley was falsely accused of sexually attacking Richard Gadd, the creator of Baby Reindeer.

The Netflix show is based on Gadd's real-life experiences, and follows his character Donny as he offers a woman named Martha (Jessica Gunning) a drink, who then begins to stalk him. But the show also takes inspiration from other aspects of his life.

Read more: Richard Gadd says writing Baby Reindeer was 'lifesaver' after stalking ordeal

In one episode of the series Gadd's Donny is depicted being groomed and sexually abused by writer Darrien, played by actor Tom Goodman-Hill. Armchair detectives watching the show have taken it upon themselves to identify the real people behind the series, including the person who abused Gadd and this has led them to wrongly accuse Foley.

Baby Reindeer (Netflix)
Sean Foley has stated that he has reported online abuse he has received to police after being falsely accused of being sexually abusing Richard Gadd. (Netflix)

The writer has shared that a police probe has been launched as a result of the accusations that have been aimed at him by some people online. Sharing a statement on X, Foley wrote: "Police have been informed and are investigating all defamatory abusive and threatening posts against me."

In a statement to ITV News, West Midlands Police said: "We're investigating after a man reported receiving threatening messages on social media. Enquiries are at an early stage and we are in the process of gathering information from the victim."

Since Baby Reindeer's release, some viewers have attempted to find the real people that inspired the series. It has gotten to a point where Gadd himself has stepped in, urging viewers not to do this.

In a statement shared on Instagram, Gadd implored: "People I love, have worked with, and admire (including Sean Foley) are unfairly getting caught up in speculation. Please don’t speculate on who any of the real life people could be. That’s not the point of our show."

Watch the trailer for Baby Reindeer:

Gunning has also addressed the mounting speculation over Martha's real identity, telling Glamour: "I didn't know that was happening. I would urge people not to be doing that.

"I think if that is happening, I think it's a real, real shame, because it shows that they haven't watched the show properly. That's not the point of it in any way. Netflix and Richard went to extreme lengths to try and make sure that the identities were kept private for a reason."

The actor added that viewers who feel the need to speculate on the real identity of the characters onscreen should "try and watch the show again, and really see what the point of it was".

Gadd may have used his experiences as inspiration for the series but the comedian has changed names and specifics of his real-life story in order to protect the identities of those the show was inspired by.

Baby Reindeer is out on Netflix now.