‘Inventing Anna’ Subject Rachel Williams Sues Netflix For Defamation

‘Inventing Anna’ Subject Rachel Williams Sues Netflix For Defamation

One villain of the Netflix limited series “Inventing Anna” is striking back with a defamation lawsuit aimed at the streaming giant. 

Ex-Vanity Fair photo editor Rachel Williams is unhappy with how producer Shonda Rhimes portrayed her in the documentary, which explored the lies of real-life con artist Anna “Delvey” Sorokin. Williams is portrayed as a money-seeking social climber in the show. Now, the real-life person says the portrayal has caused significant fallout in her life since the series aired.

“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,” a complaint filed Monday in Delaware federal court says, per Deadline.

“The Defamatory Statements are defamatory because they tend to expose her to public contempt, ridicule, aversion or disgrace, or to induce an evil opinion of her, and they are defamatory per se because their import is apparent from the face of the Series without resort to any other source,” it continued. 

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial. Williams is also demanding to have the alleged defamatory scenes edited out of “Inventing Anna” going forward. The limited series was originally released on Netflix in February, the publication noted. 

“The magnitude of the harm to Williams caused by the Netflix’s defamation has been extraordinary by any plausible measure,” the suit states. 

“The Series has been viewed by millions of people around the world, and as a result of Netflix’s false portrayal of her as a despicable person, she has been subjected to a torrent of online abuse which have caused her personal humiliation, distress, and anguish, as well as damages to her earnings and/or potential earnings.”

Williams, 34, wrote about her experience with Sorokin, 31, in a 2018 article for her former employer Vanity Fair. The fake German heiress who became a national obsession when “Inventing Anna” debuted allegedly conned Williams into using her corporate credit card for $62,000 during a trip to Morocco.

She later wrote the book “My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress,” which was published in 2019. Williams made a deal for her story with HBO, which was supposed to be produced by Lena Dunham, but the rights have since expired.

Williams made around $340,000 before taxes for the rights to her story, Deadline reported. 

“The reason why we have had to file this lawsuit is because Netflix used Rachel’s real name and biographical details, and made her out to be a horrible person, which she is not,” attorney Alexander Rufus-Isaacs said in a statement to Deadline.

“The devastating damage to her reputation could have been avoided if only Netflix had used a fictitious name and different details. Why didn’t they do this for her, when they did for so many other characters in the Series? Perhaps the reason was that she had chosen to play for the other team, i.e., HBO.”