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Inspiration behind Baby Reindeer stalker sues Netflix

Watch the 'Baby Reindeer' trailer

Source: Netflix

A woman claiming to have inspired the hit TV series Baby Reindeer has filed a defamation lawsuit against Netflix.

Fiona Harvey is seeking at least $US170 million ($A255 million).

She has accused the streaming platform of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, gross negligence, and violations of her right of publicity in the lawsuit filed at the Californian federal court.

It comes after she claimed to be the inspiration behind the character of Martha Scott, who stalks Richard Gadd’s character Donny Dunn after he serves her a free cup of tea in the pub where he works.

The show is said to be based on the real-life experiences of comedian and writer Gadd.

Released on April 11, Baby Reindeer has proved extremely popular quickly rose to the top of Netflix’s English TV List by clocking 13.3 million views within a week.

It was labelled “brilliant”, “jarring” and “unforgettable”. But despite it being marketed as a dark comedy, critics warned humour was not at the forefront of the show, likening it more to a horror story.

After the show aired, Gadd asked viewers not to speculate about the real people who inspired the series. He never named his real-life stalker and emphasised he believed she was a victim of mental illness and a system that failed her.

Nonetheless, some fans decided to discover his stalker’s identity. In the process, they were accused of harassing several people.

In the new lawsuit, Harvey accuses Netflix of spreading “brutal lies”, including that she is a “twice-convicted stalker who was sentenced to five years in prison”.

“Defendants told these lies, and never stopped, because it was a better story than the truth, and better stories made money,” it states.

“As a result of defendants’ lies, malfeasance and utterly reckless misconduct, Harvey’s life had been ruined.”

The court documents allege Netflix “did literally nothing” to confirm that the story represented was true, stating that “Harvey has never been convicted of any crime and has never been to prison”.

The lawsuit seeks actual damages and compensatory damages at $US50 million ($A75 million) each; punitive damages at $US20 million ($A30 million); as well as “all profits” from Baby Reindeer at $US50 million ($A75 million).

Netflix, in response to the lawsuit, said it intended to “defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd’s right to tell his story”.

1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732

Lifeline: 131 114

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service: 1800 211 028

-with AAP

Topics: Netflix
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