Netflix faces defamation swimsuit over ‘Inventing Anna’

Rachel Williams — a sufferer of con artist Anna Sorokin, whose story grew to become the Netflix true-crime sequence “Inventing Anna” — is suing the streamer for defamation and false mild invasion of privateness. She alleges the present’s portrayal of her was nearly solely unfavourable and fictional.

“This action will show that Netflix made a deliberate decision for dramatic purposes to show Williams doing or saying things in the Series which portray her as a greedy, snobbish, disloyal, dishonest, cowardly, manipulative and opportunistic person” who sponged off Sorokin, then ditched her in Morocco and later lied to her personal buddies to hide that she had helped the police arrest Sorokin in 2017, the submitting says.

“In reality, she never did or said those things,” the lawsuit says. “Thus, this action is based firmly on statements of fact which are demonstrably false and the attribution of statements that she never made.”

Williams’ legal professional, Alexander Rufus-Isaacs, filed the lawsuit Monday afternoon in U.S. District Courtroom in Delaware, Netflix’s house base, in response to paperwork obtained by Deadline.

Williams is in search of unspecified damages plus authorized prices, and she or he additionally desires the court docket to “restrain and enjoin” Netflix from persevering with to defame her. She desires the alleged defamatory materials faraway from the sequence, which continues to be out there on the streaming platform.

Netflix didn’t reply instantly Monday afternoon to a request for remark.

Williams doesn’t have an issue with there being a unfavourable character within the sequence, the lawsuit says, but when Netflix was going to painting her that means, it ought to have given her a fictitious identify and adjusted figuring out particulars.

Williams, a author and former picture editor for Self-importance Truthful, wrote a 2018 article for the journal about her “misadventures” with Sorokin, whom she knew as Anna Delvey. Williams offered rights to her story to HBO.

Netflix’s “Inventing Anna,” which premiered in February, relies on a New York journal article about Sorokin, plus Sorokin offered Netflix the rights to her life story. Shonda Rhimes created the sequence, Julia Garner performs Anna and Katie Lowes performs Rachel.

In actual life, Russian-born Sorokin, who’s a German citizen and faked being a German heiress, was convicted in April 2019 on eight felony counts together with grand larceny. She served two years in jail earlier than being remanded into the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2021 pending her deportation to Germany. Sorokin is at the moment in custody in New York state whereas she contests her deportation.

The sequence consists of variations on a lighthearted disclaimer: “This whole story is completely true. Except for all the parts that are totally made up.”

“This confusing message does nothing to protect people such as Williams whose real name and biographical information are used, and who are falsely portrayed as a despicable person,” the lawsuit says.

Williams wound up the recipient of “vitriolic” messages, it says, on social media and elsewhere on-line. The submitting additionally cites quite a few media tales questioning Netflix’s “hatchet job” on Williams in addition to dialogue from quite a few scenes within the sequence.

Days after “Inventing Anna” grew to become out there, Self-importance Truthful interviewed Williams concerning the completed product.

Williams took Netflix to activity within the story, telling her former employer, “I think promoting this whole narrative and celebrating a sociopathic, narcissistic, proven criminal is wrong. Having had a front-row seat to [the Anna circus] for far too long, I’ve studied the way a con works more than anybody needs to. You watch the spectacle, but you’re not paying attention to what’s being marketed.”

On the time she stated was “concerned about some very obvious, refutable factual inaccuracies” in “Inventing Anna” however was extra within the true-crime leisure style as a complete.

“Some people online think this is a fact-checked series. Books are fact-checked,” she instructed VF. “This show is playing with a fine line — peddling it as a true story, but also [in the opening disclaimer] saying, ‘except for all the parts that aren’t.’ I think it’s worth exploring at what point a half-truth is more dangerous than a lie.”