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‘Baby Reindeer’ Creator Doesn’t Want Fans Searching for the Real-Life Characters: ‘Not the Point’

Richard Gadd 2 Baby Reindeer
Richard Gadd Ed Miller/Netflix

Baby Reindeer‘s Richard Gadd is happy viewers are invested in the new show based on his life — but he doesn’t want fans tracking down the people who inspired the characters.

“People I love, have worked with, and admire (including Sean Foley) are unfairly getting caught up in speculation,” Gadd, 34, wrote via his Instagram Story on Monday, April 22, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Please don’t speculate on who any of the real life people could be. That’s not the point of our show.”

Foley, who was specifically mentioned in the social media post, also weighed in on the invasion of privacy, writing via X, “Police have been informed and are investigating all defamatory abusive and threatening posts against me.”

Baby Reindeer, which premiered on Netflix earlier this month, is an adaptation of Gadd’s autobiographical one-man show of the same name. The limited series is based on Gadd’s experience of being stalked and sexually assaulted.

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In addition to being the show’s creator, writer and executive producer, Gadd plays a fictionalized version of himself. Baby Reindeer follows struggling comedian Donny (Gadd) as his life turns upside down after meeting Martha (Jessica Gunning). The chance encounter sets off a chain reaction with Martha stalking Donny for months.

Richard Gadd and Jessica Gunning Baby Reindeer
Richard Gadd and Jessica Gunning Ed Miller/Netflix

“It’s all emotionally 100 percent true if that makes sense,” Gadd told Variety before the show’s debut. “It’s all borrowed from instances that happened to me and real people that I met. But of course, you can’t do the exact truth, for both legal and artistic reasons.”

Gadd explained that he took precautions to prevent viewers from being able to identify the real-life people behind the characters.

Jessica Gunning Baby Reindeer
Jessica Gunning Ed Miller/Netflix

“I mean, there’s certain protections, you can’t just copy somebody else’s life and name and put it onto television,” he noted. “And obviously, we were very aware that some characters in it are vulnerable people, so you don’t want to make their lives more difficult. So you have to change things to protect yourself and protect other people.”

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After Baby Reindeer blew up, online sleuths attempted to track down the true identities of Martha and of Donny’s girlfriend Teri (Nava Mau), who was inspired by Gadd’s actual ex. The fictional character Darrien (Tom Goodman-Hill) — an older TV writer who groomed and assaulted Donny — also became a topic of conversation on social media.

Richard Gadd Baby Reindeer
Richard Gadd Ed Miller/Netflix

Earlier this month, Gadd opened up about how creating Baby Reindeer served as a “catharsis” for him.

“I wanted to show the nuances of the human condition, really,” he said in an interview on This Morning. “I wanted to show that people are a mixture of good and bad and I think stalker stories usually tend to be one person is good, one person is bad. And I wanted to kind of get away from that.”

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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