Real Martha’ Criticizes Piers Morgan Over Interview

Controversy erupts from Netflix's "Baby Reindeer" series fallout.

by Nouman Rasool
Real Martha’ Criticizes Piers Morgan Over Interview
© Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

A surge in public interest and controversy was recently drawn to Netflix's "Baby Reindeer," which centered on the real-life person behind the story of the character 'Martha.' Online sleuths found the woman behind the horror story of obsession and stalking that unfolded on the screen to be Fiona Harvey.

This new find quickly gained a lot of traction and, in fact, led to the long-expected interview with Piers Morgan, but in no one's wildest dreams was it to come about this way. At 58, Harvey complained about the techniques Morgan had used for interviewing her, which was broadcast on his Uncensored YouTube channel.

She alleged that the veteran broadcaster had deliberately utilized "rapid questioning techniques" to "rattle" her with special reference to a sequence that dealt with 41,000 of her email correspondence sent to Richard Gadd, the show's originator and main performer.

Harvey said that the interview was "a set-up, without any doubt" and she had been "framed" to produce highly controversial television. Though Morgan would go on to describe their interview as a "sparring match," Harvey still felt underpaid, having been paid only £250 for her troubles, during which she made her first ever on-camera appearance as well as being privy to professional hair and make-up services.

She explained how the interview turned hostile when Morgan asked her quite bluntly if she loved Gadd to which she casually responded, laughing it off.

Ethics in Storytelling

The storm around Harvey and how he was represented, then depicted, brings back the focus to a much bigger question of how these streaming platforms and content creators deal with real-life events.

Under all this attention, Netflix officials—he's supposed to be the policy chief, Benjamin King—defended their practices. The latter stressed that their real people had to remain anonymous in shows, but it was incredibly hard to control, given their ever-connected audience in the age of social media.

But, King said, censoring Gadd—his human rights included his right to tell the story that had brought him to this place. As "Baby Reindeer" rolls across the world, the debates over privacy, ethics, and implications for these dramatized real-life stories are surely set to heat up.

Meanwhile, Harvey's interview also airs more publicly, promising to shed more light on her side of the story, which she is keen to "set straight," according to Morgan's promotional tweet.