Not for the first time, netflix faces legal action for adding fictional traits to a real person in one of his dramas. In this case of defamation and invasion of privacy by false lighting, the drama in question is Invent Annaand the real person is ex-vanity lounge photo editor Rachel Williams, starred in Emmy Award nominations and Shonda Rhimes-mini-series 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,” it read. in a complaint (read it here) filed Monday in federal court in Delaware.
“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 emerges from the face of the series without recourse to any other source, ”adds the document from the Beverly Hills firm Rufus-Isaacs Acland & Grantham LLP and Farnan LLP of Wilmington.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial as well as an injunction that the alleged defamatory material involving Williams be edited out of Invent Annawhich premiered on Netflix on February 11. Julia Garnier As bogus heiress and convicted con artist 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 had previously sold the rights to her own share 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,” says today’s 59-page 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 damages for his earnings and/or potential earnings.”
Surprisingly, Rhimes and his Shondaland banner are not charged in the lawsuit. The sole defendant in the case, Netflix, did not respond to request for comment on Monday. Conversely, Williams’ attorney 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 the lawsuit was filed in 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 Sorkin, then imprisoned and now deported, 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.