Piers Morgan hits back at exploitation claims after criticism over Baby Reindeer interview

Piers Morgan has hit back at critics who suggested he “exploited” Fiona Harvey, who claims to be the inspiration for comedian Richard Gadd’s stalker in his hit Netflix series, Baby Reindeer.

The seven-part drama follows struggling comic Donny Dunn, played by Gadd, as he is relentlessly harassed and stalked by Martha Scott, played by Jessica Gunning, for four and a half years.

Last week, Morgan interviewed Scottish lawyer Harvey on his YouTube series, Piers Morgan Uncensored. Viewers were quick to question the ethics of the interview since Gadd has said his real stalker was “mentally unwell.”

Appearing on BBC Sounds’ The Media Show on Wednesday, Morgan fiercely refuted the exploitation claims, adding he had “no qualms” about conducting the interview.

“If she was a convicted stalker who had gone to prison and put his life through hell, clearly we had to think long and hard about the public interest justification in giving her the platform,” Morgan told BBC News Culture and Media Editor Katie Razzall.

“But I felt there was enough of a question mark surrounding that part of the story to justify her at least giving her side of the story. She is emphatic that there was no court case, no conviction, she never pled guilty and there was no prison sentence.”

Piers Morgan promised to satiate fans’ desires by airing an interview with Fiona Harvey (Piers Morgan/X)
Piers Morgan promised to satiate fans’ desires by airing an interview with Fiona Harvey (Piers Morgan/X)

Asked if he and his team had performed checks into Harvey’s criminal history before the interview, Morgan responded: “There were obviously other reports of her having stalked other people but again, nothing that led to any apparent conviction. I think that is a crucial distinction I would draw here, which is there’s a big difference legally between someone who may have been obsessive towards some people, may have even harassed them, but if it hasn’t crossed the bar of a crime, then to call them in a series where they have been immediately identified a convicted criminal, that is a serious failure by Netflix.”

In the Netflix series, Martha is sentenced to nine months in jail for harassing Gadd’s Donny; however, in her interview with Morgan, Harvey vehemently denied having ever been sent to prison.

Razzall then asked Morgan if the show had looked into Harvey’s mental health prior to the interview, to which Morgan replied: “We had long conversations about it but actually I have no qualms at all about offering her the platform because I certainly didn’t get the feeling when she came in that I was dealing with someone who was a vulnerable person.

“If anything, she was pretty combative with me. When it comes to the mental health issue, Richard Gadd has been very searingly honest about his own mental health issues and yet that doesn’t seem to factor into people’s concerns, he was allowed a platform to tell what he says is his story... If he can be allowed to do that, then I think the person he has put up there as a convicted stalker who has gone to prison for harassing him should be allowed to have her say if, as she says, it isn’t true.”

Richard Gadd as Donny and Jessica Gunning as Martha in Baby Reindeer (Ed Miller/Netflix)
Richard Gadd as Donny and Jessica Gunning as Martha in Baby Reindeer (Ed Miller/Netflix)

Since the interview, Harvey has said she felt “used” by Morgan, who she said placed “a heavy emphasis” on the thousands of emails she allegedly sent Gadd.

The 58-year-old has also demanded 1million pounds from the Uncensored host after she claimed she was only paid £250 for the appearance.

This week, Gadd reiterated his plea for internet sleuths to stop trying to uncover the identities of the people who inspired his hit show.

“I’ve put out a statement publicly saying I want the show to be received as a piece of art and I want people to enjoy the show as a piece of art. I’m called Donny Dunn. It exists in a sort of fictional realm, even though it is based on truth it exists in a fictional realm,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

“I’ve spoken publicly about how I don’t want people to do it and if I start playing a game of whack-a-mole, then I’m almost adding to it. I don’t think I’ll ever comment on it ever again.”