Fiona Harvey sues Netflix for $50m in damages over Baby Reindeer

Fiona Harvey is suing Netflix for millions of pounds in damages over its alleged depiction of her in the hit show Baby Reindeer.

The 58-year-old Scottish law graduate has reportedly filed a lawsuit accusing Netflix of defamation, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violations of right of publicity, among other allegations, according to documents seen by The Independent.

Ms Harvey is seeking around $50m (£39m) from the streaming giant.

Fiona Harvey and Jessica Gunning on ‘Baby Reindeer’ (Talk/Netflix)
Fiona Harvey and Jessica Gunning on ‘Baby Reindeer’ (Talk/Netflix)

The seven-part series, written by and starring comedian Richard Gadd, was billed by Netflix as a true story, in which his character is relentlessly harassed and stalked by a woman named Martha Scott, who he meets while working in a pub in Camden.

The surprise hit is now on track to become one of Netflix’s most popular series of all time, in a turn of events which quickly saw fans attempt to track down the “real-life Martha” online by searching for social media posts quoted verbatim within the show.

Ms Harvey – who warned in May that she planned to take legal action against Netflix – reportedly alleges in the newly-filed lawsuit that she has been harassed by people across the world because of the series and failures by Netflix to sufficiently protect her identity.

The 58-year-old accuses the streaming giant of ruining her reputation with their depiction of Martha, arguing in the legal documents that she never stalked or sexually assaulted Gadd, and was not handed a criminal conviction for stalking.

Ms Harvey’s lawyers are demanding a jury trial at the US District Court Central District Of California in a bid to seek “actual damages” of $50m, plus legal fees costs and statutory interest.

 (Ed Miller/Netflix)
(Ed Miller/Netflix)

The Independent has approached Netflix for comment.

The show’s creator Richard Gadd has defended the show as being the “emotional truth” and has denounced internet sleuths who went in search for Ms Harvey.

“I want the show to be received as a piece of art and I want people to enjoy the show as a piece of art. I’m called Donny Dunn. It exists in a sort of fictional realm, even though it is based on truth it exists in a fictional realm,” he previously told The Hollywood Reporter.

“If I wanted the real life people to be found, I would’ve made it a documentary,” the actor added. “I’ve spoken publicly about how I don’t want people to do it and if I start playing a game of whack-a-mole, then I’m almost adding to it. I don’t think I’ll ever comment on it ever again.”