‘Baby Reindeer’ inspiration Fiona Harvey reveals whether or not she’s suing Richard Gadd, could she win?

‘Baby Reindeer’ inspiration Fiona Harvey reveals whether or not she’s suing Richard Gadd, could she win?

Piers Morgan displayed his usual class and tact yesterday by putting an obviously unwell woman before the world and grilling her about her miserable life. Practically everyone who watches Netflix’s Baby Reindeer will have felt some sympathy for Martha, the terrifying stalker at the heart of the story.

So, with her real-life inspiration Fiona Harvey confirming her identity, we were ready to hear her take on what happened. After claiming to have never actually watched the Netflix show, Harvey denied ever being a stalker. She claims to have only met Richard Gadd in person a few times, only ever emailed him around ten times, and claimed to not be obsessed with him at all.

If Harvey’s side of the story is true, there’s an obvious legal case against Gadd and Netflix for defamation. So, is she going to court?

Is she suing?

Image via Piers Morgan Uncensored/YouTube

Harvey explicitly confirmed in the interview that she plans to sue Gadd and Netflix:

“I will be taking legal action against Richard Gadd and Netflix. We have instructed lawyers in part, but we want to explore all of the options out there. There are a number of people to sue.”

Harvey specifically referenced a scene in the show in which Martha receives a nine-month prison sentence for her stalking as untrue:

“That is completely untrue, very, very defamatory to me, very career damaging. I wanted to rebut that completely on this show – I am not a stalker, I have not been to jail, I’ve not got injunctions – it is complete nonsense.”

Could she win?

Photo via Netflix/YouTube/Piers Morgan Uncensored

So, does she have a case? Well, if Harvey is being truthful and Gadd’s thinly fictionalized Martha inaccurately portrays her as an obsessed stalker, and if she can prove Baby Reindeer has damaged her career and reputation then yes, she does have a defamation argument.

But if Gadd and Netflix are able to produce evidence that Baby Reindeer‘s Martha is a substantially accurate depiction of Harvey, say for example, by producing some of the 41,000 emails and hundreds of voicemails she’s said to have sent, it would blast holes in her case. Given that the original Baby Reindeer theater show played “Martha’s” emails and voicemails, we suspect Gadd has a full record of their communications.

Moreover, it’s difficult for Harvey to argue that on one hand that Martha is too obviously based on her while on the other criticizing Gadd for inventing new elements to distinguish his character from her. After all, having Martha go to prison puts a dividing line between the fictional character and Harvey.

Another more practical stumbling block would be that, whatever the merits of Harvey’s case against Gadd and Netflix, she seems like a nightmare client for any lawyer to work with. Instructing lawyers “in part” leaves a lot of wiggle room and we don’t know if anyone is actually representing her at this point.

It seems that Baby Reindeer drama isn’t over yet. Maybe one day it’ll make an interesting second season.

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