Furore over Netflix’s hit ‘Baby Reindeer’ – Clive Coleman comments on the streamer’s safeguarding responsibilities in The Independent

The recent Netflix drama Baby Reindeer has ignited a fiery debate about the duty of care writers and television and film producers owe to the people featured in their productions, and subsequent defamation claims that may be brought in such instances.

In the case of Baby Reindeer, there is an argument that Netflix and the show’s writer did not go to sufficient lengths to obscure the identity of the person on whom the antagonist was based – an alleged stalker – and could therefore be open to a significant claim for defamation.

Commenting in The Independent, Maltin PR Senior Partner Clive Coleman highlighted that writers are normally required to provide warranties that nothing they write is defamatory.

Clive, who has experience as a writer for television, stage and film with credits include The Duke starring Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent, continued: “That means that they will carry out thorough due diligence to ensure any real, living characters are depicted in a way that is non-defamatory. Broadcasters will also have editorial guidelines and a duty of care to real people depicted, especially if they are vulnerable individuals.

“Scripts will also be lawyered to guard against legal action. However, in some nuanced cases a calculated decision might be taken that a particular person will not want their life raked over in court and will not take action for defamation over the way in which they are depicted.”

Read Clive’s comments in The Independent, here.