June 16, 2024

Netflix’s Baby Reindeer premiered April 11, 2024.

Netflix’s Baby Reindeer premiered April 11, 2024.
Image: Lucy Nicholson (Reuters)

Netflix has responded to a $170 million defamation lawsuit involving the streaming service’s popular television series “Baby Reindeer,” and it is fighting back.

Fiona Harvey filed a lawsuit Thursday in the District Court for the Central District of California claiming that Netflix and the show’s creator comedian Richard Gadd defamed her “out of greed and lust for fame.” The complaint only names Netflix and Netflix Worldwide Entertainment as defendants.

“Baby Reindeer” is a show written by and starring Gadd, recounting what he and Netflix claim is true story. In the series, a struggling comedian is stalked by a woman who sends him hundreds of hours of voice mails and over 40,000 emails.

After the show’s premiere, online sleuths were able to track Harvey as the person who inspired the show’s stalker.

Netflix’s claim that the series is recounting a true story “is the biggest lie in television history,” the lawsuit states.

It goes on to say that, “The lies that Defendants told about Harvey to over 50 million people worldwide include that Harvey is a twice convicted stalker who was sentenced to five years in prison, and that Harvey sexually assaulted Gadd. Defendants told these lies, and never stopped, because it was a better story than the truth, and better stories made money.”

The complaint claims Harvey has suffered mental anguish “caused by the unauthorized use of her identity and likeness without her permission.”

Harvey is now seeking a jury trial and $170 million in damages including “loss of enjoyment of life and loss of business.”

Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement reported by other outlets, the media company said it plans to fight back against the lawsuit.

“We intend to defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd’s right to tell his story,” Netflix said in a statement.

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