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The Netflix Series “Baby Reindeer” and the Line Between Being Investigative and Invasive

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hofstra chapter.

A black screen with tiny white font reading “this is a true story” is one of the first things “Baby Reindeer” viewers see. However, the end credits of episode 7 are not the spectacle viewers were left with. Fans of the show have internet-sleuthed and found out the character’s real identities and this “story” further unravels in real life. 

About baby reindeer

Baby Reindeer” is a dark-comedy drama-thriller that has captivated the internet since its April 11, 2024 release. The mini-series explores intense topics including sexual assault, stalking, trauma and self-identity. It’s based on the experience of the writer and star of the show Richard Gadd, who plays Donny Dunn. 

In the show, Dunn is harrassed by his stalker Martha who sent him 41,071 emails, 744 tweets, 350 hours of voice-mails,106 letters, and 46 Facebook messages over three years.

investigative or Invasive?

Some fans took it upon themselves to act as FBI agents and uncover the main character’s identities. These characters are Darrien, the Hollywood screenwriter who sexually abused Dunn, Martha, Dunn’s stalker and Teri, Dunn’s transgender ex-girlfriend.  

The speculation of the characters’ identities diminishes the show’s meaning. Instead of discussing serious topics that “Baby Reindeer” brings to mainstream media, viewers are focused on who’s who. 

“Please don’t speculate on who any of the real life people could be. That’s not the point of our show.”

-Richard Gadd, the creator of “Baby Reindeer”

The speculation came to a point where it was no longer a joking matter and Gadd had to issue a statement. On his Instagram, Gadd broke his silence and asked fans to stop speculating.

Gadd said, “People I love, have worked with, and admire (including Sean Foley) are unfairly getting caught up in speculation. Please don’t speculate on who any of the real-life people could be. That’s not the point of our show.” 

The Hollywood Director and Writer Sean Foley was wrongfully accused of being Gadd’s real-life abuser who is portrayed as Darrien in the show. This is a serious allegation that not only harms the reputation of Foley, but also unnecessarily raises past traumas for Gadd. 

One of the most harmful aspects of invasive fan speculation is the public discovering and giving a platform to Gadd’s stalker, Martha. 

The real martha

On May 10, 2022, Fiona Harvey appeared on Piers Morgan Uncensored, a mainstream television show that streams on Fox Nation, YouTube and Roku TV. This show is described as, “The global arena for fearless debate, bold opinions and major interviews.”

In this interview, Harvey claims her behaviors depicted in the show concerning her stalking, harassment and assault of Gadd are untrue. She states that she has only emailed Gadd a few times and has never had access to his phone number. Harvey denies ever harassing Gadd’s parents, attacking Gadd’s girlfriends or showing up unexpectedly to his comedy shows. She repeatedly states she intends to sue Gadd, Netflix and The Daily Mail for defamation. 

Harvey has allegedly never watched the show, but she’s convinced it is entirely fictional. She calls out Gadd and asks him to leave her alone insinuating that she is the victim of his harassment.

ethics and privacy

Harvey is a potential threat to Gadd given their history, and she is also an individual who struggles with mental illness. Morgan giving her such a vast platform to express her feelings on Gadd and “Baby Reindeer” could put herself and others involved in danger. Many fans of the show believed this interview was unethical on Morgan’s part due to Harvey’s unstable mental state.

Although Gadd chose to share this vulnerable and raw story with the world, his privacy as well as the privacy of every “character” involved should still be respected. After all, their names were changed for a reason.


Brooke is a Senior English Major at Hofstra University. She loves writing poetry, attending concerts and browsing bookstores for new romance reads.