Baby Reindeer's ‘real-life Martha’ speaks out about damage of ‘firestorm’ of controversy

Baby Reindeer's alleged 'real-life' inspiration for the character Martha has spoken out about the untold damage caused to her by the ‘firestorm’ of controversy surrounding the Netflix series. Fiona Harvey, who has identified herself as the woman who inspired Martha, says that there has been a massive impact on her health, reputation, and job prospects.

Ms Harvey said in a statement given to the PA news agency her “ability to make sensible decisions about my welfare and best interests” had also been impacted. In the drama, said to be inspired by the real-life experiences of comedian and writer, Richard Gadd, his character Donny Dunn is stalked by a woman named Martha Scott after he serves her a free cup of tea in the pub where he works.

At the beginning of the first episode, text appears on the screen which says: “This is a true story.”

Ms Harvey has said Martha was “clearly intended to be based on me” and later added in her statement: “I have no doubt that the character of Martha in Baby Reindeer was intended to be a portrayal of me.”

She continued: “The problem for Richard Gadd and now for Netflix is that Baby Reindeer is not a true story at all. I am not a convicted stalker”.

In the TV series, Martha receives a nine-month prison sentence and a five-year restraining order.

Ms Harvey said: “I have never been charged with any crime, let alone been convicted, still less pleaded guilty and, of course, I have never been to prison for anything. This is how Gadd and Netflix chose to portray me in a TV show.”

Ms Harvey alleges that they have done this for “their own financial gain”. She has also alleged that she was never approached for a comment or for permission to present a character, which she claims was made in her image.

Neither Netflix nor Gadd have confirmed the real identity of Martha.

“Nobody ever approached me for any comment on the accuracy of Baby Reindeer, or the very serious and damaging allegation that I am a convicted criminal, with a serious criminal record, who has spent time in prison,” she said.

“Nobody ever asked for my permission to present me in this way or to use my image at all.”

Ms Harvey said that with the assistance of a lawyer, she was putting together a legal team “in the UK and in the US” and she will not be making any further media comments until further notice.

She added: “Once I have a legal team in place, I expect that they will make a further statement, setting out the next steps that I will be taking to deal with everything that has happened, as a direct result of the dishonest and false picture of me, painted in Baby Reindeer and in the media generally. In the meantime, for the good of my health, please respect my privacy and please stop the endless calls and messages, asking for interviews, comments, and so many other things.

“I have made clear that I am not physically able to cope with relentless harassment from journalists and, if this continues, I will make a report to the police.”

Earlier on in her statement, Ms Harvey referenced a Netflix executive who gave evidence to a Parliamentary select committee earlier in the month. Netflix’s director of public policy, Benjamin King, told MPs Baby Reindeer was “the true story of the horrific abuse that the writer and protagonist, Richard Gadd, suffered at the hands of a convicted stalker”.

Ms Harvey claims that Gadd, along with the producers of the show and Netflix have profited from marketing Baby Reindeer as a “true story”.

“No doubt Richard Gadd, Clerkenwell Films (who produced the programme) and Netflix have made millions of pounds from this programme, in large part by making so many claims that Baby Reindeer is a true story,” she said.

It comes following a report in The Sun newspaper that Ms Harvey allegedly stalked Sir Keir Starmer and sent the Labour leader 276 messages in less than eight months. Netflix, Clerkenwell Films and Gadd have been approached for comment.