Richard Osman Reveals Industry Knows Richard Gadd's Abuser

Netflix drama ignites controversy over real-life abuse portrayal.

by Nouman Rasool
Richard Osman Reveals Industry Knows Richard Gadd's Abuser
© Joe Maher/Getty Images

Speaking in a recent episode of the The Rest Is Entertainment podcast, Richard Osman, the celebrity author and ex-host of "Pointless," spells out the dilemma of turning real-life trauma into artistic expressions, as Richard Gadd does in "Baby Reindeer," which recently opened on Netflix to present Gadd's harrowing experiences of stalking and se---- assault.

Osman talked through the podcast, hosted by journalist Marina Hyde, to explain that this person has been widely known in the industry who attacked Gadd, but he has never been charged. "Baby Reindeer," originally a stage show and then a Netflix series, also uses a composite character, Darrien, a male TV writer, who assaults Gadd's character.

The appearance of this character has caused an awful lot of speculation, misidentification and therefore suffering and harassment to an innocent person. In the one above, Osman reveals the whole sophistication of such rebranding, noting the almost look-alike of the actor playing Darrien and the man who was publicly misidentified to be the abuser.

This has seen the man wrongly accused reaching as far as threats that warranted the involvement of police.

Artistic Ethics Debated

A spokesman for the police confirmed that British police are investigating the threatening messages against the man wrongly identified as the real-life equivalent of Darrien.

Through all this, Gadd has been pleading with the public to stop guessing who in real life the show's characters represent. He felt that it was essential for the thematic and emotional truths of the series to resonate more than the identifying of specific people.

Gadd insists, though, that his storytelling is true—"emotionally 100% true"—but that he has manipulated details for both legal and dramatic reasons, and he is determined to protect it, and those most vulnerable by association, under the banner of "those involved".

As the debate surrounding 'Baby Reindeer' continues, and the public expresses concern for the moral implications of treating such a true-life story within the realm of creative production, the purveyors of entertainment are, perhaps unwillingly, confronted by these issues.

The debate merely points out again the tension that will always exist between freedom in art and the duty belonging to it.