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Baby Reindeer stars beg fans not to be stalkers

Fiona Harvey is suing Netflix over what she says is its portrayal of her in the hit show <i>Baby Reindeer</i>.

Fiona Harvey is suing Netflix over what she says is its portrayal of her in the hit show Baby Reindeer. Photo: Netflix

The hottest show on Netflix has unveiled the real trauma of a male comedian’s experience of being stalked – and in an ironic twist, forced him to beg fans not to do the same to others.

Comedian Richard Gadd created and starred in Baby Reindeer, a seven-part series based on his 2016 solo stage show Monkey See, Monkey Do, which in turn was based on his experience of being stalked by a woman for years.

Released on April 11, Baby Reindeer has proved extremely popular with couch and professional critics alike.

A week later, the series has risen to the top of Netflix’s English TV List by clocking 13.3 million views. It has been labelled ‘brilliant’, ‘jarring’ and ‘unforgettable’.

Despite being marketed as a dark comedy, critics warn humour is not at the forefront of the show, likening it more to a horror story.

Gadd stars as Donny Dunn, a down-on-his-luck comedian who becomes the focus of an obsession by a lonely woman named Martha (Jessica Gunning) after he shows her a moment of kindness.

Source: YouTube/Netflix

Baby Reindeer follows Donny as he struggles with Martha’s obsession, navigates the lingering effects of past trauma, and tries to get authorities to take his problem seriously.

In real life, over nearly five years, a woman sent Gadd 41,071 emails, 350 hours’ worth of voicemails, 744 tweets, 46 Facebook messages, 106 pages of letters, and strange gifts such as a reindeer toy.

She also stalked Gadd outside his home, his workplace, at comedy clubs, and harassed his loved ones.

Gadd told Variety that Baby Reindeer was “emotionally 100 per cent true”, but elements had been changed from real-life for “legal and artistic reasons”.

Stop the manhunt

The series could be a cautionary tale about stalking, but some viewers have missed the message.

While Gadd never named his stalker and emphasised he believes ‘Martha’ was a victim of mental illness and a system that failed her, some fans of the show decided to discover his stalker’s identity.

Photo:X/@MediumSizeMeech

In the process, they have been accused of harassing several people, prompting Gadd to address the issue on Instagram.

Gadd revealed people in his personal and professional life had been unfairly “caught up in speculation”.

He asked fans not to speculate on who the real basis for the characters could be, as that was not the point of the series.

Fellow Baby Reindeer star Gunning said she was unaware of the issue until she was questioned about it by Glamour, but told the magazine she would urge people not to search for the identity of Gadd’s stalker.

“I think if that is happening, I think it’s a real, real shame, because it shows that they haven’t watched the show properly,” she said.

“That’s not the point of it in any way. Netflix and Richard [Gadd] went to extreme lengths to try and make sure that the identities were kept private for a reason.

“I think they should try and watch the show again, and really see what the point of it was … I deliberately didn’t want to do an impersonation of somebody, I wanted to do an interpretation of this character.”

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact:

  • 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732
  • Lifeline: 131 114
  • National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service: 1800 211 028
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