‘Baby Reindeer’ inspiration Fiona Harvey threatens to sue Netflix, demands $1.25 million from Piers Morgan

World News

The real-life woman who inspired the hit Netflix show “Baby Reindeer” has said she was inaccurately portrayed in the show, defamed by the streamer and the series’ creator Richard Gadd and exploited by Piers Morgan during an in-person interview last week—and she’s threatening several lawsuits to rectify the situation.
Screenshot 2024-04-26 at 10.31.18 AM

Jessica Gunning as Martha in “Baby Reindeer.”


Key Takeaways
  • Fiona Harvey has publicly confirmed she is the person who inspired the character of “Martha” in “Baby Reindeer,” a woman who is portrayed to have obsessively stalked Gadd by sending him tens of thousands of online messages and letters after they met at a bar in London in 2013.
  • Though Gadd never shared his real stalker’s identity, and even asked online sleuths to call off an internet hunt that began after his show took off, Harvey said she was quickly identified as the “Baby Reindeer” inspiration by fans and has been defamed by its false claims.
  • Attorney Chris Daw KC told Deadline Thursday that he is working with Harvey on a defamation suit against Netflix, which billed the show as a “true story” despite several false details, including that the stalker character was convicted of stalking and sentenced to prison, which Harvey was not, he said.
  • Daw said Netflix did not do enough to obscure Harvey’s true identity in the marking of the show (despite actress Jessica Gunning’s assertion that producers went to “extreme lengths to try and make sure that the identities were kept private”) and thinks Harvey may also have a claim for a case over misuse of her image.
  • In addition to a potential defamation claim against Netflix, Harvey has demanded $1.26 million (£1 million) from Piers Morgan after an interview she did with the British broadcaster racked up more than 2.6 million YouTube views in just five days.
  • Harvey reportedly told the Daily Record, a Scottish tabloid, that she was offered £250 pounds to do the interview but is demanding more now that it has gone viral.
  • In her interview with Morgan, Harvey also said she plans to sue the Daily Mail, a British tabloid, but did not expand on why.
  • Representatives for Gadd and Netflix did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment Thursday.
Chief Critic

Harvey’s interview with Morgan last week was the first time she’d spoken publicly about “Baby Reindeer,” and viewers have slammed the broadcaster for exploiting a woman Gadd has called “mentally unwell.” Stuart Heritage of the Guardian said the interview “reeked of grubby exploitation,” and Harvey said she felt that Morgan used her for views.

She told the Daily Record that Morgan only took a photo with her on set “because he needed it for the publicity,” and said his pretending to care about her story “was all a big act.” Morgan on Wednesday defended himself, telling BBC Sounds’ “The Media Show” that he had “no qualms” about the interview because Harvey is not a convicted criminal.

Crucial Quote

“When it comes to the mental health issue, Richard Gadd has been very searingly honest about his own mental health issues and yet that doesn’t seem to factor into people’s concerns, he was allowed a platform to tell what he says is his story,” Morgan said Wednesday. “If he can be allowed to do that, then I think the person he has put up there as a convicted stalker who has gone to prison for harassing him should be allowed to have her say if, as she says, it isn’t true.”

Key Background

“Baby Reindeer” is a Netflix recreation of a one-man show from Gadd based on his experience of being stalked and sexually assaulted more than a decade ago. Gadd plays the main character, re-named Donny Dunn, who in the show reports his stalker to police and she is arrested, charged, and sentenced to nine months in prison.

The series was an immediate hit on Netflix—it debuted in the No.5 spot on the streamer’s TV chart and spent three weeks at No. 1 before falling to second place last week. As its popularity soared, some fans were so captivated they launched an online hunt for the true identity of Gadd’s stalker and other abusers in the show.

One man, Gadd’s real-life friend Sean Foley, was accused of being a sexual predator portrayed in the show so vehemently he later said he called the police about the “defamatory abusive and threatening posts against me.” Both Gadd and Jessica Gunning, who stars as Martha, asked fans to stop speculating before Harvey revealed herself.


The standards for defamation and use of image are different in the United States and the United Kingdom, where “Baby Reindeer” was filmed. In the United States, the person who has claimed to be defamed is responsible for proving whatever information was spread about them is false.

In the U.K., the burden of proof is on the defendant, who must prove that what they claimed is true. U.K. law also requires that the person bringing the libel claim must be able to prove a defamatory statement has or will cause “serious harm.”

The United States also has well-established laws about the use of a person’s likeness or identity that prevents others from profiting on that image without their consent. No such personality or image rights laws exist in the U.K.

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