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Netflix Fights $170 Million Lawsuit Over “Baby Reindeer” as Emmy Push Intensifies

Netflix finds itself embroiled in a legal battle as it fights a $170 million lawsuit over its hit series “Baby Reindeer,” while simultaneously making a desperate push to secure an Emmy win. The streaming giant has flown show creator and star Richard Gadd, along with co-star Jessica Gunning, from the UK to the US for a promotional tour aimed at boosting their chances. However, the real-life drama behind the scenes threatens to overshadow their efforts.

Last week, Gadd and Gunning made their US morning TV debut on the “Today” show, skillfully avoiding any mention of the ongoing legal issues. They also participated in a SAG-AFTRA panel on the same day. However, Fiona Harvey, the woman who claims Gadd based his on-screen stalker character on her, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court later that day. The suit accuses Netflix of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, gross negligence, and violations of Harvey’s right of publicity.

In response, Netflix broke its silence and stated its intention to vigorously defend the matter, standing by Gadd’s right to tell his story. Despite the legal battle, “Baby Reindeer” is already considered a frontrunner for the limited series category at the upcoming Emmys in September. Both Gunning and Gadd are expected to receive acting nominations when the official announcements are made on June 17. Nomination voting begins this Thursday.

The show has already garnered recognition, receiving five nominations at the 2024 Television Critics Association awards, alongside Netflix’s “Ripley” and the FX series “Shōgun.” It also won the breakthrough limited series award at the recent Gotham TV Awards. Gadd and Gunning appeared as guests on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon last Thursday, where the legal issues were not addressed.

Netflix has also utilized its influential social media accounts, with millions of followers on Instagram and X, to promote Gunning’s audition tape for the show. Gadd, who transformed his successful Edinburgh Festival show into the hit Netflix black comedy, saw “Baby Reindeer” reach the top spot on the streamer’s charts worldwide after its April premiere. Gunning portrays Martha, the woman who turns Gadd’s life into a nightmare.

While Gadd has taken great pains to disguise the real-life inspiration for Martha, viewers quickly identified similarities between the character and Fiona Harvey. The lawsuit claims that Martha’s accent, manner of speaking, and cadence are indistinguishable from Harvey’s. Harvey, in an interview with Piers Morgan, denied sending Gadd 41,000 emails and 100 letters, suggesting he fabricated them himself. She admitted to sending him “less than 10 emails” and requested that he leave her alone.

Harvey’s lawsuit, filed by the Roth Law Firm, alleges that the statement “this is a true story” at the beginning of each episode of “Baby Reindeer” is a lie propagated by Netflix and Gadd out of greed and a desire for fame. The 34-page complaint further accuses Netflix and Gadd of spreading false information, including claims that Harvey is a twice-convicted stalker sentenced to five years in prison and that she sexually assaulted Gadd. Harvey asserts that her life has been ruined as a result of these lies.

Despite the legal turmoil, marketing expert Mark Borokowski believes the lawsuit will not impact the Emmy chances for “Baby Reindeer.” He suggests that Netflix could continue to promote the show, potentially winning numerous awards and then negotiating a settlement with the complainant. Borokowski describes this strategy as bold and confident.

Author: CrimeDoor

CrimeDoor

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  • I'm curious to know more about the details of the $170 million lawsuit against Netflix regarding their series "Baby Reindeer." Could you please provide more information about the nature of the lawsuit and what it entails? Additionally, I'm interested in learning about Netflix's desperate push to secure an Emmy win. Can you elaborate on the strategies they are employing to increase their chances of winning?

  • Do you think the pursuit of awards like the Emmy justifies potentially controversial content and legal battles for streaming platforms like Netflix? Why or why not?

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