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TV Consultant Claims Baby Reindeer’s ‘Real-Life Martha’ Deserves Apology

The woman who allegedly inspired Netflix’s hit series Baby Reindeer deserves an apology from the streaming giant, according to a consultant to Ofcom.

Fiona Harvey, 58, was swiftly identified by internet sleuths after the show, which centers on an aspiring comedian’s experience with a stalker, was promoted as being based on a true story.

Ms. Harvey is now suing Netflix for $170 million (£132 million) over the series, which was written by comedian Richard Gadd, 35.

Duane Dedman, a consultant to Ofcom, told the Royal Television Society (RTS) last week, “On Baby Reindeer, the short answer is I have no idea how Netflix can justify saying this is a true story and then at the end of the end credits say something like, some scenes were fictionalized and the characters conflated.”

“That’s obviously seen as contradictory and we shall see if the court case in America ever goes to trial or whether they settle out of court,” he added.

Ms. Harvey has expressed her concerns publicly, stating that several details in the show misrepresented her, such as the claim that she had been to prison, which she says is false. The show also seemed to suggest a sexual assault incident involving Mr. Gadd, which she denies.

The character of Martha in the series appeared to have several similarities with Ms. Harvey, including being Scottish, a lawyer by profession, and notably older than Mr. Gadd’s character. Originally from Fyvie in Aberdeenshire, Ms. Harvey frequented The Hawley Arms in Camden, a London pub where Mr. Gadd worked for a period of time.

Despite admitting to having met the comedian from Fife on several occasions, Ms. Harvey contended the show’s portrayal of her, including the claim that she had sent him 41,000 emails.

In an interview on Piers Morgan Uncensored, she shared her belief that Mr. Gadd transformed her character into a stalker because he was aware of similar accusations made against her in the past.

Addressing the controversy, Dedman commented, “Personally, arguably, yes [Netflix owes Ms. Harvey an apology] but I guess this will play out in the courts. And I guess Netflix are deliberately being tight-lipped about this because perhaps they have a robust case to rebut her claims.”

He continued, “Now, all I know about Netflix is there are a team of lawyers there, there is a compliance team there, so someone, more than once will have cast their eyes over the script and the final program. I literally can’t second guess as to why they came to that decision, so I don’t want to go there, but I guess this will play out.”

Ms. Harvey alleges the show’s failure to adequately protect her identity resulted in defamation, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violations of the right of publicity. Filed in a California court last month, the case remains ongoing.

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

The Independent has reached out to Netflix for further comment.

Source: Independent, Royal Television Society