Netflix sued for defamation by Rachel Williams – The Hollywood Reporter

NetflixHis penchant for documentary dramas is to put the viewer in hot water, this time courtesy of Rachel Williams – fellow artist Anna Sorokin in New York City. The company was sued on Monday for defamation over its filming in Anna’s creation.

Series, based on May 2018 New York The article, The tricks and fall of Sorokin, better known as Anna Delphi. In the show, Sorokin makes her way into the upper class of New York City by lying about her fortune as a German heiress and defrauding banks of millions of money to fund her extravagant lifestyle. It includes a whimsical disclaimer: “This story is absolutely true. Except for the entire component parts.”

Williams – ex Vanity Fair The photo editor who posted an article about her time with Sorokin before New YorkFeature arrived – he argues that almost everything about the character on the show is made up. According to a Netflix retelling, Williams gladly accepts gifts and lavish trips from Sorokin but sells her friend to the authorities as soon as she learns that Sorokin lied about her fortune.

“This action will show that Netflix made a deliberate decision for dramatic purposes to show that Williams does or says things in the series that portray her as greedy, arrogant, traitorous, dishonest, cowardly, manipulative and opportunistic,” the complaint said, in Delaware federal court.

In one scene, Williams is forced to confess by a lawyer during Sorokin’s fraud trial that Sorokin picked up the tab on every one of their outings. The lawsuit alleges the intent of the questioning was to imply that Williams was a freelancer, which it maintains is false because she paid for drinks on occasion and split the bill on some spa treatments and dinners.

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In another scene, Williams in Morocco abandons Sorokin after her credit card was declined for a stay at a luxury resort. Williams says she told Sorokin before the trip that she would have to leave on a specific date to fly to France for work. According to the lawsuit, Williams apparently ended her friendship with Sorokin after her friend started experiencing financial difficulties.

“Williams did not stop her friendship with Sorokin because Sorokin was having problems in Morocco, but rather because she later discovered on her return to New York that Sorokin was a liar and fraud, her statements and promises prompting Williams to take responsibility for those around her $62,000 on behalf of Sorokin was fraudulent, which she repaid her Only $5,000 despite numerous promises to pay her $70,000 to recoup the full debt and any late fees incurred,” the complaint states.

Alexander Rufus Isaacs, representing Williams, says the lawsuit makes a strong case that his client’s character was deliberately misrepresented to tell a better story. Refers to an interview from Shonda Rhimesexecutive producer and creator of the series.

“We wanted to know what we were making,” Reims says in the interview. “We didn’t want to make things up just for her.” “We intentionally wanted to imagine the moments instead of accidentally imagining them,” she says.

in another place meeting with The Hollywood Reporter“There were things that we invented because they needed to invent to make the story really sing and be what it should be,” Rhimes says.

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

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Rufus Isaacs claims that the statements constitute an admission that Netflix knew that the alleged defamatory statements and actions were false but persisted anyway, so the show was a sinister. Rhimes and Shondaland are not named in the complaint.

For defamation cases against prominent public figures to succeed, there must be evidence that the alleged defamatory statements were made with genuine malice. There must be an intent to harm with the prior knowledge that what was said is false, or a reckless disregard for the truth. Several defamation lawsuits, including those brought by Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, and someone who sued over his portrayal in street wolffailed to meet the standard.

Williams, who chose her rights Vanity Fair An article and an unwritten book for HBO, says THR“Netflix intentionally used my real name and real aspects of my life to create a completely false and defamatory description of me. Truth matters and portraying real people requires real responsibility. I am filing this lawsuit to hold Netflix accountable for its willful recklessness.”

According to the complaint, Williams’ character is the only character on the show who has given the full name of a real person, who has the same employer, parent university, and home as the real person, who alleges defamation and a false-light violation of privacy.

“The reason we brought this lawsuit is because Netflix used Rachel’s real name and biographical details, and made her a terrible person, which she isn’t,” says Rufus Isaacs. “The devastating damage to her reputation could have been avoided had Netflix used a fictitious name and different details. Why didn’t they do it for her, when they did it with so many other characters in the series? Perhaps it was because she chose to play for the other team, ie HBO.”

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

This isn’t the first real-life project to hit Netflix in court. Alan DershowitzAnd the Former Soviet Chess Professor And the Cuban organization in exile She sued the streaming device over their images in several shows and movies.

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

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