Baby Reindeer: Netflix given warning by UK Government after safeguarding concerns

Jessica Cullen
Richard Gadd as Donny in Baby Reindeer

Following safeguarding concerns surrounding Netflix’s Baby Reindeer, the UK Government has shared a warning regarding new standards soon to be issued for streaming content.

After the release of Baby Reindeer (which is currently on its way to becoming Netflix’s most-watched show of all-time), “internet sleuths” attempted to identify both Richard Gadd’s real-life stalker and his abuser. It became such an obsession, that the creator himself had to issue a statement asking viewers not to speculate about the real-life figures.

Most recently, Fiona Harvey — who has been accused of being the “real-life Martha” and the inspiration behind the show — appeared in an interview with Piers Morgan to deny those accusations. Amid all this, the work of curious fans and the exposure of Harvey has been criticized by disapproving viewers and commentators.

Now, under new legislation, streaming services such as Netflix could be held under much stricter regulations, and new laws would enable contributors and figures like Harvey (who says that she’s received death threats online) to make “fairness and privacy complaints” against them. The Video-on-Demand Code would also allow viewers to complain about harmful and inaccurate content.

It all comes from The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), who say that the UK Media Bill would grant the UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom, world-leading powers to police content on Netflix and other streaming platforms.

When asked if Ofcom could pursue concerns over Baby Reindeer under the new legislation, a government representative said (via Deadline): “UK broadcasters are subject to appropriate rules to ensure protections for audiences, contributors and other affected individuals. Our Media Bill will make mainstream video-on-demand services subject to similar high standards.”

Under the new Media Bill (which is not expected to be completed until 2025), streaming services such as Netflix would be given a 12-month grace period before having to be under full compliance.

For more, check out our guide to Richard Gadd’s next project. You can also take a look at the 10 movies and TV shows you should watch after Baby Reindeer.