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Netflix Breakout Hit ‘Baby Reindeer’ Has One Big Problem: Fans Are Obsessing Over The Real-Life Story’


A dramatized retelling of a comedian’s experience with a voracious stalker has taken over the Netflix most-watched TV chart and captured the insatiable curiosity of true-crime fans, leading to false accusations that pinned some of the show’s more disturbing behaviors on real-life people who have denied their involvement.

Key Facts

“Baby Reindeer” is an on-screen recreation of a one-man show from Scottish comedian Richard Gadd, who also stars in the Netflix series and tells his story of being stalked and sexually assaulted more than a decade ago.

The dark comedy/psychological thriller premiered in the No. 5 spot on Netflix’s most-watched chart the week of April 8 and soared to the No. 1 spot last week with 13.3 million views over 52.8 million hours.

The unexpected hit has a 97% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, and has been for its “emotional honesty and profound insight” while “shocking, hilarious, painful and devastating.”

Some fans have been so captivated they’ve launched an online hunt for the true identity of Gadd’s stalker and other abusers in the show—including wild social media speculation that has led to baseless accusations against several people.

Some fans falsely accused Sean Foley, a writer and director who shares a real-life friendship with Gadd, of being a sexual predator portrayed in the show, and he’d called the police about “defamatory abusive and threatening posts against me.”

Fans have also that Gadd’s harasser, named Martha in the show, could be one of several convicted U.K. stalkers, and some fans speculated about a woman who took to social media on Thursday to deny her involvement—neither Gadd nor any law enforcement agencies have named the real life stalker.

Chief Critic

Netflix and Gadd have come under for the real-life speculation that followed the show’s release, despite actress Jessica Gunning’s that producers went to “extreme lengths to try and make sure that the identities were kept private for a reason.” Both and , who stars as Martha, have asked those trying to uncover the character’s true identities to back down. “Please don’t speculate on who any of the real-life people could be. That’s not the point of our show,” Gadd said in an . Netflix did not respond to Forbes’ request for comment Friday.

Key Background

“Baby Reindeer” is just the latest example of a real-life story that has captured Netflix audiences this year. In the week of April 15, when “Baby Reindeer” was at the top of the chart, “” was the second most-watched show with 5 million views. The docuseries follows an Arkansas sheriff who implements social change by giving inmates the autonomy to establish community within a local prison. “Our Living World,” a nature docuseries narrated by Cate Blanchet, was the fourth most-watched show of the week with 3.2 million views. More than a dozen shows documenting real-life stories have made it onto the Netflix most-watched list so far this year, including a series on one of India’s most captivating , an investigation into the of a journalist reporting on a government conspiracy and the true story on one of England’s most prolific .


Also on Netflix’s most-watched TV list in the week of April 15 was “,” which was the third-most watched show of the week. The series, based on a Chinese novel of the same name, has been on the top 10 list for five straight weeks. The fifth most-watched show was the second season of drama “Heartbreak High” with 2.9 million views, followed by “” in sixth place (2.9 million), the children’s show “Bad Dinosaurs” in seventh (2.3 million) and comedian Jimmy Carr’s standup special, “Natural Born Killer,” in eighth with 2.3 million views. The sixth season of “The Circle” (2 million) and animated show “CoComelon Lane” (1.5 million) wrapped up the list in the ninth and tenth spots, respectively.