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A Timeline of the Twists Since 'Baby Reindeer' Was Released, Leading to Fiona Harvey Suing Netflix for $170 Million On June 6, Harvey's representatives filed a lawsuit against Netflix, seeking more than $170 million in damages.

By Eammon Jacobs

Key Takeaways

  • Netflix's true crime drama "Baby Reindeer" has blown up since it was released in April.
  • It sparked controversy when audiences hunted for the woman behind the stalker character.
  • Here is a timeline of events, including Fiona Harvey suing Netflix for $170 million.
Netflix/Piers Morgan Uncensored/YouTube/Jenny Chang-Rodriguez/BI via Business Insider

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Since its release in April, Netflix's true crime drama "Baby Reindeer" has become a pop-culture phenomenon.

The series was created by its lead actor, Richard Gadd, who plays a fictional version of himself called Donny Dunn. It's based on his experiences with being stalked by a woman earlier in his career, when he was trying to make it as a comedian.

Buzz around the show quickly snowballed, as audiences tried to track down Dunn's stalker, Martha Scott, and his abuser, Darrien.

Forensic psychologist, Dr. Ruth Tully, told Business Insider that true-crime shows like "Baby Reindeer" turn audiences into armchair detectives because the genre blurs the lines between entertainment and reality.

The speculation culminated in early May when Piers Morgan interviewed Fiona Harvey, a 58-year-old Scottish woman who said she is "the real Martha Scott."

In June, she sued Netflix, alleging the show ruined her life.

Here's a complete timeline of the "Baby Reindeer" drama.

"Baby Reindeer" was released on April 11, 2024.

Richard Gadd as Donny Dunn in

Richard Gadd as Donny Dunn in "Baby Reindeer." Ed Miller/Netflix via BI

After its debut, the show was met with widespread praise from audiences and critics alike, earning itself a 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

11 days after "Baby Reindeer" was released, Netflix announced that it was submitting the show for consideration at the 2024 Emmys, Deadline reported.

Audiences instantly speculated over who Gadd's real stalker and abuser were.

Jessica Gunning as Martha Scott in

Jessica Gunning as Martha Scott in "Baby Reindeer." Netflix

Because "Baby Reindeer" is based on a true story, it wasn't long before fans started searching for the real people involved with the show.

According to Google Trends, fans were mostly searching for "Baby Reindeer real Martha," as well as Gadd, and a man viewers thought was his real-life abuser.

Because the show uses the real messages and emails that Gadd said the stalker sent him, some people cross-referenced them on social media. Toward the end of April, some TikTok users concluded that they found the woman who stalked Gadd.

@barstoolpiff #greenscreen #babyreindeer #netflix #martha #fiona #trending #news #viral #fyp ♬ Creepy and simple horror background music(1070744) - howlingindicator

Gadd asked fans to stop speculating after writer Sean Foley was harassed online.

Tom Goodman-Hill as Darrien in

Tom Goodman-Hill as Darrien in "Baby Reindeer." Netflix via BI

Fans also tried to piece together who might have sexually assaulted Gadd when he was an aspiring comedian. In the show, the perpetrator is a powerful TV producer called Darrien (Tom Goodman-Hill).

There was intense speculation that the character was based on writer, actor, and producer Sean Foley, who coincidentally stepped down from his role as the artistic director at the Birmingham Repertory Theater on April 18.

Four days later, on the evening of April 22, Gadd made a statement defending Foley and asked fans to stop speculating who the characters are based on.

An unnamed woman claiming to be "the real Martha Scott" told a UK newspaper that Gadd was "bullying an older woman on television for fame and fortune."

Richard Gadd as Donny Dunn and Jessica Gunning as Martha Scott in

Richard Gadd as Donny Dunn and Jessica Gunning as Martha Scott in "Baby Reindeer." Ed Miller/Netflix via BI

On April 27, the Daily Mail published an interview with a woman who claimed to be the person that Gadd based Scott on in "Baby Reindeer." The outlet did not reveal her name.

The woman criticized Gadd, and said: "He's using 'Baby Reindeer' to stalk me now. I'm the victim. He's written a bloody show about me."

She also said that a lot of the show is false, and that she was considering legal action against Gadd and Netflix.

At the end of the show, Scott explains that a baby reindeer toy was the only thing that gave her comfort during her difficult childhood, which is why she nicknamed Dunn "baby reindeer."

Harvey said that was false: "I've never owned a toy baby reindeer, and I wouldn't have had any conversation with Richard Gadd about a childhood toy either."

Gadd said he doesn't see his stalker as a "villain."

Richard Gadd as Donny Dunn in

Richard Gadd as Donny Dunn in "Baby Reindeer." Ed Miller/Netflix via BI

Netflix hosted a "Baby Reindeer" screening and Q&A session on May 7 in Los Angeles with both Gadd and Gunning.

When asked about how he depicted the real people depicted as characters in the show, Gadd said he feels "toxic empathy" toward his stalker.

"I never saw someone who was a villain," Gadd said. "I saw someone who was lost by the system, really. I saw someone who needed help and wasn't getting it. At the end of the day, she's just someone who's in a lot of pain."

The next day Piers Morgan announced that he interviewed Fiona Harvey.

Piers Morgan on Sunday, September 3, 2023. Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images via BI

On May 8, Piers Morgan announced that he had interviewed Fiona Harvey, the woman on whom the stalker is allegedly based.

Harvey identified herself as the woman depicted. Gadd hasn't confirmed that. (It also isn't clear whether Harvey was the unnamed woman who spoke to the Daily Mail.)

Harvey said that Morgan "used" her during the interview.

Before the episode of "Piers Morgan Uncensored" aired on May 9, Harvey spoke to Scotland's Daily Record newspaper about the interview.

She claimed that Morgan only paid her £250 (around $320) for her appearance and that he "used" her, trying to make her look bad.

"I have my own thoughts on it that I'd like to keep to myself but I wouldn't say I was happy. It was very rapid to try to trip me up," Harvey said. "He did it fast-paced to catch me off guard."

Morgan's representatives did not immediately respond to Business Insider's requests for comment.

During the interview, Harvey denied that she stalked Gadd, and called him "psychotic."

In the 54-minute long interview, Harvey denied that she stalked Gadd, and claimed that she didn't send him 41,000 emails, a claim Gadd made in a 2019 interview with The Independent.

"I don't think I sent him anything. There may have been a couple of emails, jokey banter, but that is it," Harvey told Morgan.

She also alleged that Gadd propositioned her for sex, but she declined.

When Morgan asked if she'd watched "Baby Reindeer," Harvey said: "No, I think I'd be sick. It's taken over enough of my life. I find it quite obscene. I find it horrifying, misogynistic," she explained. "He's making money out of my misery. He's making money out of untrue facts. He's the ultimate misogynist."

Gadd has not responded to Harvey's claims. His representatives did not immediately respond to BI's request for comment.

In a column, Morgan said that he thinks Harvey "lied quite a lot" to him.

Morgan gave his opinion on his interview with Harvey in a column for The Sun newspaper on May 9.

"I'd say Fiona Harvey lied to me quite a lot in the interview and if her threatened legal action against Netflix and Gadd goes ahead, I suspect it will quickly emerge she did send all the emails, messages, and letters to him," Morgan wrote. "But that doesn't mean she can't be a victim here too."

He went on: "There were moments in the interview where my suspicious alarm bells rang loud, especially when she suddenly said, 'Even if the email thing was true, the rest is not.'"

Gadd said he wouldn't comment on the real people involved again.

The Hollywood Reporter published an interview with Gadd on May 13 that took place before Harvey's "Piers Morgan Uncensored" appearance. The actor shared his thoughts on audiences trying to find the people that the "Baby Reindeer" characters are based on.

"I don't agree with the sleuth thing. I've put out a statement publicly saying I want the show to be received as a piece of art, and I want the show to people to enjoy as a piece of art," he said.

"If I wanted the real life people to be found, I would've made it a documentary," Gadd continued. "I've spoken publicly about how I don't want people to do it and if I start playing a game of whack-a-mole, then I'm almost adding to it. I don't think I'll ever comment on it ever again."

Harvey said she wants more than $1 million for the interview with Morgan.

On May 14, Harvey told the Daily Record that she was unhappy with how much she was paid for appearing on "Piers Morgan Uncensored."

"They offered me £250 and I asked if that was what they paid everyone and, if so, I wanted to see documentation to that effect," she said. "That documentation has not been forthcoming. I have not signed a contract for the interview and I will be seeking far more than a piddling £250."

Harvey added that she wants a lot more: "I'd settle for a million." (A million pounds is about $1.25 million).

She also criticized Morgan for the way she claimed he treated her on the set.

"He didn't even say goodbye and only got the photograph taken with me because he needed it for the publicity," Harvey claimed.

BI was unable to reach Harvey for comment.

Morgan joked that Harvey wants an agent.

Morgan appeared on ITV's morning chatshow, "Lorraine," on May 14 to talk about what it was like speaking to Harvey when he reacted to her request for £1 million.

He told host Lorraine Kelly: "No. She's not going to get £1 million. What she wants is an agent. We gave her the same amount we give 95% of all our guests. We don't discuss terms, but we paid for her to have a nice haircut, a car, and everything else."

"I think we've performed our duty of care, we stayed in touch with her since," Morgan added.

Fiona Harvey criticized a UK nightclub for trying to "exploit" her

A Facebook post by Kasbah Nightclub advertising an appearance by Fiona Harvey.

A Facebook post by Kasbah Nightclub advertising an appearance by Fiona Harvey. Facebook/Kasbah Nightclub via BI

On May 13, Kasbah nightclub in Coventry, England, wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post that Harvey would appear at the venue on Saturday, May 18, to pose for selfies with "Baby Reindeer" fans.

On May 15, the club claimed on Facebook the event had been canceled over safety fears. "Unfortunately, the promoter of this Saturday's meet & greet with Fiona Harvey has deemed the event unsafe and canceled the appearance due to the negative publicity," the post read.

Two days later, on May 17, Harvey told the Daily Record that she never agreed to appear at the nightclub.

"Of course it's not true. If I am supposed to be a mad stalker, why do they want me in the nightclub? No nightclub has approached me, she said. "I didn't even know there were any nightclubs in Coventry."

She added: "I can barely go out for coffee let alone clubbing. It's another example of people trying to exploit me. Though I'd probably make more money signing autographs than I would from appearing on Piers Morgan."

Kasbah nightclub did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BI.

A UK newspaper reported that Harvey harassed a leading UK politician, sending him 276 emails in eight months

UK Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer. Eddie Keogh/Getty Images via BI

British newspaper The Sun reported on May 19 that Harvey harassed the MP Keir Starmer in 2020.

Keir Starmer leads the UK's opposition Labour Party, and is likely to become prime minister later this year when the UK holds a general election.

The outlet claimed it had seen 276 emails Harvey sent Starmer over eight months.

One screenshot purporting to show an email sent on April 9, 2020, sees the writer insulting Starmer, calling him a "stupid little boy."

Per The Sun, the messages were spillovers from a dispute Harvey was having with local government in north London, in a similar area to Starmer's constituency.

The email included many spelling and grammatical errors, which were also present in the messages shown in the Netflix series.

"[F]rom now on il l complain about the slightest little thing," one email said.

"Your life won't be worth living you do fuck all about anything and all I get is abuse every two minutes of the day from your non party I'm sick to the back teeth of it."

The emails were also signed off with the now infamous "Sent from my iPhone," which is another detail from "Baby Reindeer."

The Labour Party and Starmer's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BI.

Harvey is represented by a law firm

On May 24 the Roth Law Firm based in New York released a statement stating that it is representing Harvey.

Nava Mau said the cast hasn't watched the Fiona Harvey interview

Nava Mau, the actor who plays Dunn's girlfriend Teri in the series, said on June 4 that the cast haven't watched Harvey's interview with Morgan.

Mau told Entertainment Tonight on the Gotham Awards red carpet: "Yeah, we decided not to watch it, so we didn't."

It seems like the "Baby Reindeer" crew is avoiding discussing Harvey, which is understandable since she has threatened legal action against Gadd and Netflix.

The Roth Law Firm did not immediately respond to BI's request for comment.

Harvey sued Netflix, seeking $170 million in damages

On June 6, Harvey's representatives filed a lawsuit against Netflix, seeking more than $170 million in damages.

They allege that Netflix defamed her in "Baby Reindeer," doing a poor job of disguising her identity.

They said the show ruined her life and left her afraid even to go outside.

"As a result of Defendants' lies, malfeasance and utterly reckless misconduct, Harvey's life had been ruined. Simply, Netflix and Gadd destroyed her reputation, her character and her life," the suit reads.

Another part said: "As a direct result of 'Baby Reindeer,' Harvey has become extremely secluded and isolated, in fear of the public, going days without leaving her home."

A Netflix spokesperson told Business Insider: "We intend to defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd's right to tell his story."

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