Inventing Anna

 A Woman From Knoxville Has Sued Netflix For Inventing Anna

Not for the first time, Netflix is being sued because one of its dramas added made-up traits to a natural person. In this case of defamation and false light invasion of privacy, the drama in question is Inventing Anna, and the natural person is ex-Vanity Fair photo editor Rachel Williams, who was played by Katie Lowes in the Emmy-nominated and Shonda Rhimes-produced miniseries.

A complaint filed Monday in Delaware federal court says, “This action will show that Netflix made a deliberate decision for dramatic purposes to show Williams doing or saying things in the Series that shows her as a greedy, snobbish, disloyal, dishonest, cowardly, manipulative, and opportunistic person.”

The document from Rufus-Isaacs Acland & Grantham LLP in Beverly Hills and Farnan LLP in Wilmington says, “The Defamatory Statements are defamatory because they tend to expose her to public contempt, ridicule, aversion, or disgrace, or to make people think badly of her. They are also defamatory per se because their meaning is clear from the face of the Series without using any other source.”

The lawsuit wants unspecified damages, a jury trial, and an order to take out the allegedly defamatory parts of Inventing Anna, which came out on Netflix on February 11. Along with Julia Garner, who plays fake heiress and convicted con artist Anna “Delvey” Sorokin, Lowes’ character, Williams, is the only crucial real-life person with the correct name in Rhimes’ hit show. The fact that words are being mentioned bothers the plaintiff, who has already sold HBO the rights to her part in the high society scam.

The 59-page complaint filed today says, “By any reasonable measure, Netflix’s defamation of Williams has caused him a huge amount of harm.” “The Series has been seen by millions of people around the world, and Netflix’s false portrayal of her as a horrible person has led to a flood of online abuse that has caused her shame, distress, and anguish, as well as damage to her earnings and/or potential earnings.”

Surprisingly, Rhimes and her company, Shondaland, are not being sued. The only defendant in the case, Netflix, did not answer Monday when asked for a comment. On the other hand, Williams’ lawyer had more to say about the topic.

“We had to file this lawsuit because Netflix used Rachel’s real name and biographical details to make her seem like a bad person, which she is not,” said the lawyer who filed the suit, Alexander Rufus-Isaacs, in a statement to Deadline. “Netflix could have saved her reputation from much damage if they had used a fake name and different details.

Why didn’t they do this for her when they did it for so many other characters in the Series? Maybe it was because she decided to play for the other team, i.e., HBO. Inspired by Jessica Pressler’s 2018 article “How an Aspiring “It” Girl Tricked New York’s Party People—and its Banks,” Shondaland and Netflix’s nine-episode Inventing Anna paid $320,000 to Sorkin herself, who was in jail at the time and has since been deported, to get the rights to her story.

Williams saw nothing from the streamer or Rhimes after she wrote about her experiences with the con artist. But Williams got around $340,000 before taxes from a deal with Warner Bros. Discovery, which now owns HBO, for the 2019 book My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress and other works.

After the success of Inventing Anna around the world, it looks like the premium cabler is left with nothing. Williams’ lawsuit could be a way to get back at the premium cabler over time.

Keep following journalistpr.com for more updates.

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