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‘Baby Reindeer’ Star Richard Gadd Under Scrutiny for Dating Actress Who Auditioned for Series

Baby Reindeer Richard Gadd Questioned Over Conduct with Auditioning Actress
Richard Gadd as Donny in “Baby Reindeer” Ed Miller/Netflix

As Baby Reindeer continues to dominate the streaming world, lead actor and show creator Richard Gadd is facing scrutiny over his conduct with an actress who auditioned for the show.

Reece Lyons, who auditioned for the role of Gadd’s transgender ex-girlfriend Teri, explained her alleged experience with Gadd and the “power dynamic” that emerged between the two in a lengthy thread shared via X.

Lyons described meeting Gadd at a bar, where he bought her a drink and simultaneously asked her out and to audition for Baby Reindeer. Lyons, who is trans, then went home and read the stage version of the show.

“I was amazed by the bravery and candidness with which he spoke about the varying degrees of trauma he had been through in his life, yet I also couldn’t help but notice how in all of the situations he was the common denominator,” she wrote. “But what I found particularly troubling, were the ways in which he spoke about how he mistreated his trans ex-girlfriend, hiding her in secrecy, and the ways in which internalized transphobia and shame could coexist with desire.”

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Nevertheless, Lyons agreed to go on a date with him. When she suggested Gadd tends to “fetishize trans women,” Gadd became defensive and dismissive. Lyons ended things shortly after that, saying it wasn’t wise to conflate a personal and professional relationship.

Two weeks later, Gadd texted Lyons to ask her out again. Lyons says she felt pressure to accept out of concern that she wouldn’t get the part if she turned him down.

“It astounded me how somebody who spoke so openly and poignantly within the context of his career about how a power dynamic with an older and more established writer quickly led to an abuse of power, and the devastating effects this had on him…Could then, in turn, become the very same person who recreated a strikingly similar power dynamic with me years later, where I found myself, ten years his junior, now auditioning for his show,” she reflected.

Nava Mau eventually landed the role of Teri, and Gadd told Lyons the decision was ultimately not his.

“‘But what about us?’ I asked him. ‘It’s not going to work. You’re too confrontational for me.’ And that was it,” she wrote.

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Lyons stressed that she was not accusing Gadd of abuse, but also that abuse should not be the standard women feel they need to meet in order to speak out about mistreatment.

“After being on the receiving end of his refusal to accept any responsibility for what had happened and subsequent attempts to gaslight me, I almost began to gaslight myself in the process,” she said.

Baby Reindeer producer Clerkenwell Films has investigated Gadd and cleared him of any wrongdoing. Lyons and Gadd’s personal relationship ended before the formal casting process for the show began, and Gadd did not have final approval on the casting.

The Netflix series is based on Gadd’s one-man show of the same name and is an autobiographical account of his real-life experience with a stalker and as a victim of sexual abuse. Amassing 22 million views, Baby Reindeer is Netflix’s most-watched English-language TV show.

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