Richard Gadd as Donny Dunn in Baby Reindeer
(Netflix)

Richard Gadd Responds to Internet’s Outing of Real-Life Martha From ‘Baby Reindeer’

Richard Gadd addresses the internet sleuthing and the real-life Martha from Baby Reindeer for the last time.

Richard Gadd has issued his final response to the internet outing the identity of the real-life Martha depicted in Baby Reindeer.

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Gadd created and starred in Baby Reindeer, a fictional retelling of his experience as a survivor of stalking and abuse. The series was picked up by Netflix and became an instant hit as the themes of trauma and abuse resonated deeply with audiences. It follows the story of Donny Dunn (Gadd), an aspiring comedian who meets Martha Scott (Jessica Dunning) when she enters the bar where he works. The woman is clearly having a bad day as she cries at the bar and reveals she has no money to buy anything. Donny offers her a free cup of tea, unaware that the small act will result in Martha stalking him during a years-long ordeal that forces Donny to come to terms with repressed trauma.

While the response to Baby Reindeer was overwhelmingly positive and supportive, some netizens got the wrong idea from the show. They began sleuthing to try to identify the real-life Martha and Darrien (Tom Goodman-Hill), the television executive who sexually abuses and assaults Donny. It wasn’t long before multiple names were circulating on the internet, with users insisting they were the inspiration for Martha or Darrien. Even after one wrongfully accused man, Sean Foley, threatened legal action and after Gadd personally requested an end to the speculation, the sleuthing continued. Finally, the internet outed the real-life Martha, who came forward to confirm her identity due to the harassment she received. It wasn’t long before clout-chasing Piers Morgan conducted an unethical interview with the woman, and further exploitation remains a possibility.

Richard Gadd addresses the Baby Reindeer internet sleuthing

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gadd responded to the internet identifying the real-life Martha. He issued the response after the woman came forward to confirm her identity and began receiving interview requests, but before the Piers Morgan interview premiered. Based on his statement, Gadd isn’t likely to publicly address the Morgan interview. When questioned about how closely he was following the story, Gadd stated that he could not “confirm or deny anything relating to the real-life people who the characters are based on in the show.”

However, he did acknowledge the extent of the internet sleuthing, revealing that he knew that for every single character, “all the way down to the pub manager,” the internet had compiled a list of at least five to six people who allegedly inspired the role. Gadd recalled one instance where he was sent a video of a woman claiming to be the real-life Teri, even though he’d never met her. Unfortunately, he feels there’s little he can do to stop the internet’s actions at this point. He admitted, “The internet just does this thing, and I just have to let it do its thing. And that’s that.”

Gadd also confirmed that he disagreed with the “sleuth thing,” pointing to his initial statement asking for the speculation to stop. Gadd simply wanted viewers to enjoy the show as “a piece of art.” Even though the story is true, he captured it in a “fictional realm” so that viewers could appreciate it in the world he specifically created for it. “If I wanted the real-life people to be found, I would’ve made it a documentary,” Gadd said. Finally, Gadd concluded that he would no longer issue statements or address the real-life identities of the characters again for fear of contributing to the whole sleuthing debacle. “I’ve spoken publicly about how I don’t want people to do it,” he explained, “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.”

Despite the Morgan interview and rumors that the real-life Martha will host a meet-and-greet next, we should not expect a response from Gadd. He never wanted this woman to be outed, which is why he fictionalized Baby Reindeer. Now, even if the woman levies accusations against him that he might wish to respond to, he has been forced to step away from the issue to avoid it escalating even further.


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