Netflix sued for defamation for making up real-life Anna character – Deadline

This isn’t the first time Netflix has faced legal action today for adding fictional traits to a real person for one of its dramas. In this case of defamation and invasion of privacy by false light, the drama in question is Invent Annaand the real person is ex-vanity lounge photo editor Rachel Williams, starred in the Emmy and Shonda Rhimes nominated miniseries produced by Katie Lowes.

“This action will show that Netflix made a deliberate decision for dramatic purposes to show Williams doing or saying things on the show that portray her as greedy, snobbish, disloyal, dishonest, cowardly, manipulative, and opportunistic,” a request claims. unspecified damages. complaint filed Monday in federal court in Delaware (read here). “Defamatory statements are defamatory because they tend to expose her to public contempt, ridicule, aversion or disgrace, or to induce a bad opinion of her, and they are defamatory per se because their importance is evident from the face of the series without recourse to any other source,” adds the jury trial seeking documents from the law firm Rufus-Isaacs Acland & Grantham LLP of Beverly Hills and Farnan LLP of Wilmington.

The lawsuit also seeks an injunction to have all alleged defamatory materials involving Williams edited from the Feb. 11 launch. Invent Anna. Alongside Julia Garner as bogus heiress and convicted swindler Anna “Delvey” Sorokin, Lowes’ Williams is the only significant real-life, accurately named individual in the Rhimes-created hit. This naming of names is a real sore point for the plaintiff, who previously sold the rights to her own part in the high society scam to HBO.

“The extent of the harm caused to Williams by Netflix’s defamation has been extraordinary by any plausible measure,” states today’s complaint. “The series has been viewed by millions of people around the world, and following Netflix’s misrepresentation of her as a despicable person, she has been subjected to a torrent of online abuse that has caused her humiliation, personal distress and anguish, as well as damage to his income and/or potential income,” the 59-page document continues.

Surprisingly, Rhimes and his Shondaland banner are not charged in the lawsuit. Sole defendant in the case, Netflix did not respond to a request for comment on the case on Monday. On the other hand, Williams’ attorney certainly had more to add to the case.

“The reason we had to take this legal action is that Netflix used Rachel’s real name and biographical details, and portrayed her as a horrible person, which she is not,” said attorney Alexander Rufus-Isaacs in a statement to Deadline after dropping the lawsuit to court. “The devastating damage to its reputation could have been avoided if only Netflix had used a fictitious name and different details. Why didn’t they do this for her, when they did for so many other characters on the show? Maybe the reason was that she chose to play for the other team, i.e. HBO.

Inspired by Jessica Pressler New York magazine article “How an Aspiring ‘It’ Girl Tricked New York’s Party People – and its Banks” from 2018, all nine episodes of Shondland and Netflix Invent Anna paid $320,000 to then-imprisoned and now deported Sorkin herself to secure the rights to her life story.

After writing about her experiences with the scammer, Williams saw nothing of the streamer and Rhimes. However, in a deal signed with HBO, now owned by Warner Bros Discovery, for her, the 2019 book My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress and other work, Williams pocketed around $340,000 before taxes.

With the high-end cabler now looking like he’s left with leftovers after the worldwide success of Invent Annathis Williams lawsuit could be a retribution case on the installment plan.