Former Vanity Fair photo editor sues Netflix over hit series ‘Inventing Anna’

·2-min read
Julia Garner plays Anna Delvey in the Netflix series  (AARON EPSTEIN/NETFLIX)
Julia Garner plays Anna Delvey in the Netflix series (AARON EPSTEIN/NETFLIX)

Rachel DeLoache Williams, former friend of fake heiress Anna Delvey, aka Anna Sorokin, is sueing Netflix over its portrayal of her in the hit docuseries ‘Inventing Anna’.

The former Vanity Fair photo editor said the streaming service protrayed her “as a vile and contemptible person” which lead to a torrent of online abuse.

Ms Williams said because her real name and personal details were used in the series, members of the public could contact her.

The New Yorker, who has written a book about her friendship with Anna Sorokin, was portrayed by actress Katie Lowes in the nine-part series.

The series, which aired in February 2022, topped Netflix’s English-language TV ratings for three weeks and is nominated for three Emmy Awards.

Legal papers filed on Monday said Ms Williams has received “thousands of such abusive messages”, and that the “catastrophic damage to Williams’ reputation was completely avoidable”, the BBC reported.

Actor Julia Garner poses with Katie Knowles, who plays Ms Williams (NICOLE RIVELLI/NETFLIX)
Actor Julia Garner poses with Katie Knowles, who plays Ms Williams (NICOLE RIVELLI/NETFLIX)

The lawsuit said: “She does not challenge Netflix’s right to have an unpleasant character in the Series, but if it chose to base the character on herself, and to portray the character negatively, it should have given the character a fictious [sic] name and changed the character’s identifying details so that no one would believe that the character was a portrayal ‘of and concerning’ the real Rachel Williams.

“Netflix gave fictional names to many of the real life protagonists in the Sorokin saga who appear in the Series, but it did not afford Williams the same protection.

“Instead, it used her real name and personal details (such as her employer, neighborhood and alma mater) in the Series and cast an actress who resembled her in many ways.”

Ms Williams is seeking a jury trial. She is hoping to receive punitive damages as well as Netflix’s removal of the allegedly defamatory statements from the series.

‘Inventing Anna’ is based on Sorokin, who known as Anna Delvey, convinced socialites in New York that she was a wealthy European heiress.

In doing so she conned friends, banks and businesses out of thouands of dollars and was convicted on multiple fraud charges in 2019.