Netflix Speaks Out On Wild ‘Baby Reindeer’ Social Media Speculation: “We Took Every Reasonable Precaution In Disguising Real-Life Identities”

Netflix has argued that it took care to disguise the identities of the real-life Baby Reindeer characters after the show’s extraordinary success sparked an internet guessing game.

In some of Netflix’s first comments about the viral circus surrounding Baby Reindeer, policy chief Benjamin King told a UK Parliament hearing that the streamer was satisfied with duty of care standards on the show.

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King told lawmakers that Netflix and producer Clerkenwell Films took “every reasonable precaution in disguising the real-life identities of the people involved in that story.”

John Nicolson, a Scottish National Party MP who sits on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, pointed out that this had not prevented the character of Martha from being identified online.

Baby Reindeer was billed as a “true story” and provides a searingly raw account of comedian Richard Gadd’s experience with an alleged stalker.

Gadd plays the lead character Donny, while Jessica Gunning stars as Martha, who has been named as Fiona Harvey, a Scottish lawyer who feels angered by her treatment.

The series has also led to others being falsely accused. Sean Foley, an Olivier Award winner informed police after being wrongly identified as Darrien, who is portrayed as sexually assaulting Donny.

King said Netflix had to balance protecting identities with upholding the “veracity and authenticity” of Gadd’s seven-part series.

“We didn’t want to anonymize that or make it generic to the point where it was no longer his story because that would undermine the intent behind the show,” the senior public policy director said.

King added: “Ultimately, it’s obviously very difficult to control what viewers do, particularly in a world where everything is amplified by social media.

“I personally wouldn’t be comfortable with a world in which we decided it was better that Richard was silenced and not allowed to tell the story.”

Nicolson asked if Netflix had provided any support to Harvey, who is planning to “set the record straight” in a Piers Morgan interview on Thursday.

King responded: “I cannot get into the specifics of what happened around the making of the show because it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment. I don’t want to give further fuel to some of the theories which are circling on the internet.”

Gadd and Gunning have called on Baby Reindeer fans not to play the guessing game, with the latter saying that the speculation was “quite sad” and “not the point of the show at all.”

In other evidence to the Parliament committee, King said Netflix worked closely with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, a support charity for stalking victims. He said the series had raised awareness for male victims.

Baby Reindeer launched on Netflix with little fanfare but has exploded on the streamer, amassing nearly 54M views since debuting on April 11. It has been Netflix’s top English-language series for three consecutive weeks.

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