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Baby Reindeer: police investigating after online speculation leads to ‘threatening’ accusations

Sean Foley has confirmed that he has contacted the police

Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
April 26, 2024
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A man accused of being the real-life counterpart of the character ‘Darrian’ in the hit Netflix show Baby Reindeer has confirmed that he reported the accusation to the police. 

Sean Foley, a Tony-nominated actor, writer and director, has been accused by internet sleuths of perhaps being the inspiration for the character in the show, which is based on the show creator Richard Gadd’s personal experiences of being sexually abused and stalked.

WATCH: Netflix’s Baby Reindeer is based on a true story

Richard released a statement on Instagram asking fans to stop speculation and name-checked Sean, writing: “Hi everyone, people I love, have worked with, and admire (including Sean Foley) are unfairly getting caught up in speculation. Please don't speculate on who any of the real-life people could be. That's not the point of our show. Lots of love, Richard.” 

Sean shared a screenshot of the post on his own X/Twitter account, before adding: “Police have been informed and are investigating all defamatory abusive and threatening posts against me.” 

Richard Gadd's Instagram statement© @mrrichardgadd/Instagram
Richard Gadd's Instagram statement

People were quick to offer their support, with one person writing: “Richard himself has said it isn't Sean so why are people still coming for him?” Another person added: “So sorry you’re having to undergo such awful accusations Sean.” 

Reflecting on the show itself, another viewer added: “I’ll be honest, I enjoyed the series; but at this point, it’s put people in really difficult positions with the public, and I’m not sure what the actual intention was in making it. Should have been left unmade tbh.” 

Sean Foley attends the ATG Summer Party in 2021© Dave Benett
Sean Foley attends the ATG Summer Party in 2021

West Midlands Police told HELLO!: “We're investigating after a man reported receiving threatening messages on social media. Enquiries are at an early stage and we are in the process of gathering information from the victim.”

Baby Reindeer stars Richard Gadd and Jessica Gunning
Baby Reindeer stars Richard Gadd and Jessica Gunning

Sean recently stepped down as artistic director from the Birmingham Rep, saying: 'It has been an honour to be the Artistic Director of this magnificent and historic theatre over the past 5 years. 

“I will be stepping down over the Summer, with Withnail and I being the last production I direct as Artistic Director, and the programme will continue through into the Autumn and beyond with the wonderful new musical Becoming Nancy, and – a particular delight – the as yet to be announced main stage debut of Associate Director, Madeleine Kludje.” 

Darrien in Baby Reindeer © -
Darrien in Baby Reindeer

While Richard has been vocal about the real-life counterpart of ‘Martha’, the woman who stalked him in the show, he has kept information about his abuser, known on the show as ‘Darrian’, very private. 

His character Donny described reporting ‘Martha’ for stalking but not his attacker, explaining: “When it came to the point of going to the police, I just couldn’t stand the irony of reporting her but not him. There was always a sense that she was ill, that she couldn’t help it, whereas he was a pernicious, manipulative groomer. To admit to her was to admit to him, and I hadn’t admitted him to anyone yet.” 

Baby Reindeer: Martha's obsession in numbers

Richard Gadd as Donny Dunn and Jessica Gunning as Martha in Baby Reindeer© Ed Miller/Netflix
Richard Gadd as Donny Dunn and Jessica Gunning as Martha in Baby Reindeer

Richard Gadd has been vocal about his stalker, named 'Martha' in the show, and just how many messages, voicemails,  tweets and emails he received from her before contact was cut off. It included: 

  • 41,000 emails 
  • 744 tweets
  • 100 pages of letters
  • 350 hours of voicemails 

He opened up about his dealings with the police to The Guardian, saying: “I was getting told off for harassing the police about being harassed. I’ve been through two police investigations in my life and they’ve both been hilarious, fly-on-the-wall terrible. Honestly, my advice to someone who ever thought of pressing charges would be: it’s a [expletive] nightmare process, and it takes years.”

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