Has She Gone to Jail, Been Convicted?

Internet sleuths tracked her down after watching Baby Reindeer and now Fiona Harvey’s criminal record—or seemingly lack thereof—has been the topic of conversation. The “real Martha” said she was forced to defend herself after receiving death threats and now she’s suing Netflix for defamation.

Comedian and actor Richard Gadd conceptualized Baby Reindeer after a woman sent him 41,071 emails, 350 hours’ worth of voicemails, 744 tweets, 46 Facebook messages, 106 pages of letters, and a variety of weird gifts, including a reindeer toy, sleeping pills, a woolly hat and boxer shorts over the course of four years. It began as a one-man show at the Edinburgh Fringe and it got picked up by Netflix began and Gadd as a fictionalized version of himself named Donny Dunn. The show explores his traumas and how the situation affected his career and personal life.

Baby Reindeer Real People: What We Know About The Actual Martha, Darrien & Terri

While Gadd never named the people his characters are based on, it didn’t take long for the online community to identify Harvey as the “Real Martha”, despite Gadd telling GQ that “we’ve gone to such great lengths to disguise her to the point that I don’t think she would recognize herself. What’s been borrowed is an emotional truth, not a fact-by-fact profile of someone.” In response to all the speculation, Gadd himself tweeted: “Please don’t speculate on who any of the real life people could be. That’s not the point of our show.”

Fiona Harvey‘s criminal record, whether she even has one, was hotly debated by viewers online after she was interviewed on Uncensored With Piers Morgan and will no doubt come into question in court. Here’s the latest on this drama.

Does Fiona Harvey have a criminal record?

Contrary to what’s depicted on the show, Harvey claims she doesn’t have a criminal record and that’s why she’s suing Netflix for its defamatory representation of her (more on that below). In Baby Reindeer, Martha (supposedly based on Harvey) is shown to be arrested, pleading guilty, and spending nine months in prison. Donny (the fictionalized Gadd) is granted a five-year restraining order and he allegedly never sees her again.

Speaking with controversial TV host Piers Morgan, Harvey refuted much of what was depicted in Baby Reindeer. “They have billed it as a true story, and so has he, and it’s not,” she said. “He is lying and they are lying.” When it came to her being arrested, charged, or convicted of any crime, she said, “That is completely untrue, very, very defamatory to me, very career damaging.”

Who’s Baby Reindeer’s Martha in Real Life? The Creator Revealed A Shocking Update On His Stalker

This is more difficult to fact-check in the UK than it is in the US. In the UK, criminal records are publicly available and the criminal records office has records of every arrest, charge, caution, and conviction. However, the Human Rights Act states that criminal records are not publicly viewable unless released by the courts. The Freedom of Information Act allows individuals to request information about the criminal justice system from public authorities, including prisons and police forces, but the information may be exempt.

On June 7, 2024, news broke of her lawsuit against the world’s biggest streaming service—she’s seeking $170 million in damages. “The lies that Defendants told about Harvey to over 50 million people worldwide include that Harvey is a twice-convicted stalker who was sentenced to five years in prison and that Harvey sexually assaulted Gadd,” her complaint says. “Defendants told these lies, and never stopped, because it was a better story than the truth, and better stories made money.”

The lawsuit continues, “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.”

An interview Harvey did with Piers Morgan in mid-May 2024 received a strong reaction from the public, with many in the comments section doubting the legitimacy of her story. Others were disturbed by “Piers Morgan conducting one of the most unethical interviews ever.”

“By promising viewers a true story, and by doing such a shoddy job of masking Harvey’s identity, Baby Reindeer might have invited us to speculate on what really happened,” argued The Guardian‘s Stewart Heritage. “But this has made us complicit. We’re following Fiona Harvey’s story just as closely as we followed the series itself. Baby Reindeer is shaping up to be a lesson in what happens if everyone—writers, producers, the media, viewers—follow their worst instincts at every turn.”

The Guardian reported several days later that an MP has asked Netflix to provide evidence that the woman who inspired the character Martha Scott in Baby Reindeer is a “convicted stalker” as the show would have us believe.

In a letter shared on X, the Ochil and South Perthshire MP wrote: “I asked you about the Netflix series Baby Reindeer and, specifically, the duty of care due to the woman now identified as Martha from the series. You told me the following: ‘[Baby Reindeer] is obviously the true story of the horrific abuse that the writer […] suffered, at the hands of a convicted stalker. … Journalists have thus far been unable to find a record of the conviction to which you referred.”

For more on Baby Reindeer, check out Richard Gadd’s book
and play that inspired the Netflix series. The script, which won an Olivier Award in 2020, “is described as a chilling story about obsession, delusion and the terrifying ramifications of a fleeting mistake.” Gadd writes in Baby Reindeer, “I looked at her, wanting her to laugh. Wanting her to share in the joke. But she didn’t. She just stared. I knew then, in that moment – that she had taken it literally…”

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