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MP writes to Netflix regarding Baby Reindeer evidence

MP writes to Netflix regarding Baby Reindeer evidence
  • Written by Katie Razzal
  • Culture and Media Editor

Image source, Ed Miller/Netflix

Comment on the photo, Jessica Gunning played stalker Martha in the hit show Baby Reindeer

Scottish National Party MP John Nicholson has asked Netflix to prove what it told a parliamentary committee about the woman who allegedly inspired the character of Martha from hit series Baby Reindeer.

Testifying before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee last week, Netflix chief executive Benjamin King said the show was “clearly a true story of the horrific abuse suffered by writer and protagonist Richard Judd at the hands of a convicted stalker”.

But Nicholson believes the evidence provided by Netflix may have been inaccurate.

To deliberately mislead the Committee is to contempt of Parliament.

The Scottish National Party MP told the BBC: “The evidence Netflix has provided to the select committee is clearly disputed.”

He added, “The charge – the conviction – is very important. Journalists were unable to find any evidence to support Netflix's claim.”

Image source, John Nicholson/X

Comment on the photo, John Nicholson's letter to Netflix

Fiona Harvey identified herself as the woman portrayed as Martha the Stalker in the series. Neither Netflix nor Richard Gadd have confirmed this.

Harvey said she had not been found guilty of stalking and denied stalking Richard Judd.

“This is a true story,” the show says in its opening episode.

Baby Reindeer's popularity immediately led internet sleuths to hunt down the “real personalities” behind the fictional characters.

After Ms Harvey was named, she appeared in a lengthy interview on Piers Morgan's Uncensored program and described the “absolutely horrific” situation she found herself in as a result of the programme.

Image source, Piers Morgan Uncensored

Comment on the photo, Fiona Harvey, who identified herself as the woman who allegedly inspired the character of Martha, told Piers Morgan that she did not pursue Richard Judd

So far, no evidence has been presented that she has a conviction. A writ was reportedly filed against her more than 20 years ago in a Scottish court by a lawyer who accused her of harassment. At Piers Morgan, Harvey claimed he never progressed further. She denied harassment.

Aside from the evidence presented to the committee, Netflix has made no comment since the controversy erupted.

Piers Morgan also has questions to answer about his decision to interview Fiona Harvey. She reportedly said she feels “used.”

On BBC Radio 4's The Media Show, Piers Morgan told me they “would have to think long and hard about the public interest justifications for giving her the platform”, if she were a convicted stalker who went to prison.

But he felt it was justified because “I felt like there were enough question marks surrounding that part of the story.”

He says framing Martha in Baby Reindeer as a stalker who goes to prison is a “massive failure by Netflix” as “no one has ever found any evidence that she had any criminal record, let alone anything to do with Richard Gadd.”

Comment on the photo, Baby Reindeer creator Richard Gadd has asked viewers to stop speculating about the identity of the real stalker.

Chris Panatvala, former head of standards at Ofcom, told the Media Show there is a “duty of care” when you set up a program that deals with people who are potentially vulnerable, “whether that’s Richard Judd or Fiona Harvey”.

“Was she portrayed in an unfair way…did she go to prison or not?”

He pointed out that the streamer is currently not subject to Ofcom regulation.

“In traditional broadcasting, there's a pretty good set of rules about fairness, and what you can do and what you can't do.”

Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies said the BBC's editorial compliance processes would have been “more stringent”. Writing for The Times“Compliance and editorial policy drive us crazy here but I sleep at night,” he said.

In his testimony to lawmakers, King said, in making the show, that Netflix took “every reasonable precaution to conceal the true identities of the people involved in that story.”

Ms Harvey doubted that when she spoke to Morgan in an interview that has been viewed more than 11 million times.

She has since said she has received £250 from the scheme and now wants £1m.

Comment on the photo, Piers Morgan has rejected claims that he took advantage of Fiona Harvey when she appeared on his YouTube show

He added that the show also paid her “to get a very nice, expensive haircut and we got a very nice car to take her to and from her house. So I think we treated her very reasonably and fairly.”

He also responded to claims that his interview was more about getting results than anything else.

“On the question of whether I should feel remorse if it worked, I find that to be a very damaging accusation.”

Netflix has been contacted for comment.

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