Netflix sued by Inventing Anna real-life inspiration

·2-min read

Netflix is being sued over the series Inventing Anna by one of the people portrayed in the drama.

The show tells the real-life story of how Anna Sorokin pretended to be a German heiress named Anna Delvey, and conned members of New York's high society out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Former Vanity Fair photo editor Rachel Williams was one of the people who met Sorokin, and called the police on her, leading to a court case in which she accused Sorokin of conning $62,000 from her. Sorokin was found guilty on counts of grand larceny, attempted grand larceny and theft of services, but was found not guilty of stealing from Williams.

Now Williams, who is played by Kate Lowes in Inventing Anna, has launched legal action against the streaming giant, suing for defamation and false light invasion of privacy.

Related: Inventing Anna: The true story of Anna Delvey, New York's elite socialite scammer

A document filed in the United States Court for the District of Delaware reads: "This action will show that Netflix made a deliberate decision for dramatic purposes to show Williams doing or saying things in the series which portray her as a greedy, snobbish, disloyal, dishonest, cowardly, manipulative and opportunistic person.

"The Defamatory Statements are defamatory because they tend to expose her to public contempt, ridicule, aversion or disgrace, or to induce an evil opinion of her, and they are defamatory per se because their import is apparent from the face of the series without resort to any other source."

A further statement from her attorney, Alexander Rufus-Isaacs, issued to Deadline reads: "The devastating damage to her reputation could have been avoided if only Netflix had used a fictitious name and different details. Why didn't they do this for her, when they did for so many other characters in the series? Perhaps the reason was that she had chosen to play for the other team, ie, HBO."

Since Sorokin's court case, Williams published a Vanity Fair article and a book, My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress, about her experience, and signed a deal with HBO to create a project about it.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Related: Inventing Anna's ending explained – and what the real people did next

Inventing Anna's production company Shondaland, its founder Shonda Rhimes, or any of the writers were not named in the filing. Netflix has not responded to requests for comment or released a public statement of its own at the time of writing.

All nine episodes of Inventing Anna are available to stream on Netflix now.

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