Netflix may have to pay £132mill Baby Reindeer lawsuit after line in first episode, says lawyer

The ‘real Martha’ has filed the huge defamation claim

Last week it was reported the “real life Martha” who inspired Baby Reindeer is suing Netflix in a lawsuit for £132million. Now, lawyers have said Netflix may lose the battle and have to pay up, because of a line in the first episode of the show.

The lawsuit, filed in a California court, seeks over $170million (£132million) in damages for Fiona Harvey. She has accused Netflix of spreading “brutal lies”, including that she is a “twice convicted stalker who was sentenced to five years in prison”.

The lawsuit states: “Defendants told these lies, and never stopped, because it was a better story than the truth, and better stories made money. As a result of defendants’ lies, malfeasance and utterly reckless misconduct, Harvey’s life had been ruined.”

Why Netflix may have to pay real Martha in Baby Reindeer lawsuit

via Netflix

Fiona has previously spoken out about how she believes some of the parts of the show were made up, and weren’t actually true to fact within the story. In her interview with Piers Morgan, Fiona detailed some of the events in the show that she has claimed aren’t actually true.

Speaking to Business Insider, two entertainment lawyers have said Fiona may have a pretty solid case, based on this and one line in the first episode of the Netflix show.

A simple, five-word line appears onscreen during the first episode of the seven-part series: “This is a true story.” However, Fiona has claimed parts are not true. The lawyers have said Netflix should have instead said the drama was “based on” a true story, or “inspired by” real events.

Why Netflix may have to pay real Martha in Baby Reindeer lawsuit

via Netflix

Netflix does include a disclaimer at the end of the Baby Reindeer credits that reads: “This program is based on real events, however certain characters, names, incidents, locations, and dialogue have been fictionalised for dramatic purposes.” However, lawyers have said that this being in the credits, where a viewer may not obviously spot it, might not be enough of a defence.

According to the legal documents, Fiona has accused Netflix of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, gross negligence, and violations of her right of publicity. She has claimed Netflix made it easy for viewers of the series to find her.

A lawyer told Business Insider if Fiona Harvey can demonstrate she was readily identifiable in the show and Netflix made up claims about her, “this is the worst type of defamation.”

Fiona Harvey is seeking $50million in actual damages from Netflix, in addition to at least $50million in compensatory damages due to “mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of business”. She is also seeking at least $50million “for all profits from Baby Reindeer” and at least $20million in punitive damages.

A Netflix spokesperson said: “We intend to defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd’s right to tell his story.”

Baby Reindeer is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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