Woman who allegedly inspired “Baby Reindeer” files defamation lawsuit against Netflix

Fiona Harvey is seeking at least $170 million in damages over the show's depiction of a stalker character, while Netflix says it intends "to defend this matter vigorously."

A Scottish woman claiming be the inspiration for the stalker character depicted in the hit Netflix drama Baby Reindeer is suing the streaming service for at least $170 million, alleging that the company's "lies, malfeasance and utterly reckless misconduct" have "ruined" her life.

According to a complaint filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and reviewed by Entertainment Weekly, Fiona Harvey is accusing Netflix of defamation, negligence, gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and a violation of her right to publicity, all arising from Baby Reindeer, which she maintains is full of "brutal lies" about her.

She is seeking relief exceeding $50 million in actual damages, $50 million in compensatory damages, all profits from the series (another sum of at least $50 million), $20 million for punitive damages, and attorneys' fees.

A Netflix spokesperson said in a statement provided to EW, "We intend to defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd's right to tell his story."

<p>Netflix</p> Jessica Gunning as Martha on 'Baby Reindeer'


Jessica Gunning as Martha on 'Baby Reindeer'

Related: Baby Reindeer stars Richard Gadd and Jessica Gunning open up about the 'complicated' stalker series

Representatives for Gadd, the creator and star of Baby Reindeer, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, didn't immediately respond to request for comment.

Released April 11, Baby Reindeer stars Gadd as Donny Dunn, a struggling comedian in London who is stalked by a woman named Martha Scott (played by Jessica Gunning), whom he meets while working in a pub. Gadd has repeatedly emphasized that the miniseries is based on his personal experiences with a stalker, and that Donny is a fictionalized version of himself.

In the wake of Baby Reindeer's success, Gadd asked fans to not dig into the show's inspirations. "Please don't speculate on who any of the real life people could be," he wrote on social media. "That's not the point of our show."

Last month, Harvey claimed to be the inspiration for Martha during an interview with Piers Morgan, and she threatened to take legal action in a subsequent statement.

Making good on that threat, Harvey's lawsuit begins by arguing that Baby Reindeer's opening assertion — "This is a true story" — is the "biggest lie in television history," told by Gadd and Netflix "out of greed and lust for fame; a lie designed to attract more viewers, get more attention, to make more money, and to viciously destroy the life of Plaintiff," who has allegedly been defamed "at a magnitude and scale without precedent."

The suit primarily criticizes Baby Reindeer for allegedly fabricating information about Harvey's criminal history. The complaint states that Harvey has no criminal history, has never been a convicted stalker, has never sexually assaulted or attacked anyone, and has never pleaded guilty to a crime, adding that she "has no convictions, cautions, reprimands, or warnings."

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

Elsewhere in the document, Harvey's attorneys allege that neither Netflix nor Gadd ever contacted her or any authorities to confirm the story told in Baby Reindeer.

The complaint calls Gadd's character into question by citing numerous examples of off-color behavior throughout the series, describing him as "a self-admitted crack, meth, and heroin user… with a self-admitted history of masturbating to Harvey… following her home and spying on her through her window… and lying to the police about his contacts with her."

The complaint claims that Harvey was identified as the "the real 'Martha'" after fans connected one of her social media posts to the show's recurring line about "hanging curtains" as a euphemism for sex, and that Harvey "has been tormented" and "continues to suffer emotional distress" from her connection to the series. Some of Harvey's "objective symptomology" enumerated in the suit includes anxiety, nightmares, and shame.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.