Netflix Sued For Defamation by Rachel Williams – The Hollywood Reporter

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Netflix’s penchant for docudramas sends the streamer in hot water, this time courtesy of Rachel Williams – an associate of New York con artist Anna Sorokin. She sued the company Monday for libel over her portrayal in… invent Anna.

The series, based on a May 2018 New York article, depicts the scam and downfall of Sorokin, better known as Anna Delvey. In the show, Sorokin scams her way to the upper echelons of New York City by lying about her fortune as a German heiress and defrauding millions of banks to fund her extravagant lifestyle. It includes a whimsical disclaimer: “This story is completely true. Except for the parts that are completely made up.”

Williams — a former Vanity Fair photo editor who previously published an article about her time at Sorokin New York‘s feature has arrived – states that almost everything about character in the show is made up. According to Netflix’s retelling of events, Williams happily accepts lavish gifts and travel from Sorokin, but sells her boyfriend to the authorities once she learns Sorokin lied about her fortune.

This move will show that Netflix has made a deliberate decision for dramatic purposes to allow Williams to see or say things in the series that portray her as a greedy, snobbish, disloyal, dishonest, cowardly, manipulative and opportunistic person. filed a complaint. in Delaware federal court.

In one scene, Williams is forced to admit by a lawyer during Sorokin’s fraud case that Sorokin picked up the bill during all of their outings. The lawsuit alleges that the intent of the cross-examination is to imply Williams is a freeloader, which she alleges is false because she occasionally paid for drinks and split the bill for some spa treatments and dinners.

In another scene, Sorokin is abandoned by Williams in Morocco after her credit card for a stay at a luxury resort is declined. Williams says she told Sorokin before the trip that she would have to leave on a certain date to travel to France for work. It is implied that Williams ended her friendship with Sorokin after her boyfriend started having financial problems, according to the lawsuit.

Williams didn’t stop being friends with Sorokin because Sorokin was having trouble in Morocco, but rather because she subsequently found out on her return to New York that Sorokin was a liar and a con man whose statements and promises had led Williams to pay approximately $62,000 on behalf of Williams. Sorokin was false, repaying her only $5,000 despite numerous promises to repay her $70,000 to repay the entire debt and any fees incurred,” the indictment said.

Williams’ representative Alexander Rufus-Isaacs says the lawsuit strongly proves that his client’s character was deliberately misrepresented to tell a better story. He points to an interview from Shonda Rhimes, the series’ executive producer and creator.

“We wanted to know what we made up,” Rhimes says in the interview. “We didn’t just want to make things up.” She adds, “We wanted to fictionalize moments on purpose rather than accidentally fictionalize them.”

In another interview with The Hollywood ReporterRhimes says, “There were things we invented because it had to be invented to really make the story sing and be what it should be.”

Katie Lowes, who played Williams in the series, also said during an interview that: “[The Rachel character is] a people pleaser. She is young, naive and had a privileged life. I don’t think this is necessarily true for Rachel Williams in real life; I think this applies to the character that Shonda wrote and what Shonda needed for the character for the show.”

Rufus-Isaacs claims the statements are an admission that Netflix knew the allegedly defamatory statements and actions were false, but went ahead anyway, so the show had a villain. Rhimes and Shondaland are not named in the indictment.

For defamation cases against high profile public figures to succeed, there must be proof that the alleged defamatory statements were made with genuine malice. There must be an intent to harm with insider knowledge that what has been said is not true, or a reckless disregard for the truth. Several libel cases, including those of Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and a person who filed a lawsuit for his portrayal in The wolf of the streethave not met the standard.

Williams, who chose the rights to her Vanity Fair article and unwritten book to HBO, tells THR“Netflix has purposely used my real name and real aspects of my life to create a totally false and defamatory characterization of me. The truth matters and portraying real people requires real responsibility. I am filing this lawsuit to to hold Netflix accountable for its willful recklessness.”

Williams’ character is the only one on the show to be given the full name of a real person, and who has the same employer, alma mater, and home neighborhood as the real person, according to the indictment, alleging libel and false light invasion of privacy.

“The reason we have had to file this lawsuit is because Netflix has used Rachel’s real name and biographical information and portrayed her as a horrible person, which she is not,” said Rufus-Isaacs. “The devastating damage to its reputation could have been avoided if Netflix had used a fictitious name and other details. Why didn’t they do this for her when they did for so many other characters in the series? Perhaps the reason she chose to play for the other team was HBO.”

In 2017, Sorokin, who was paid $320,000 for the rights to her story by Netflix, was arrested in a sting operation with Williams’ help. She was released from prison on parole after serving two years, after which she was taken into custody by the US Immigration and Customs Administration for deportation to Germany.

This isn’t the first real-life project that Netflix is ​​taking to court. Alan Dershowitz, a former Soviet chess grandmaster and a Cuban organization in exile, have sued the streamer over their portrayals in several shows and movies.

Netflix and Shondaland did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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