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Anna Sorokin’s Former Friend Sues Netflix Over Her Depiction In ‘Inventing Anna’
Former Vanity Fair photo editor Rachel DeLoache Williams argues Netflix painted her in a negative light in their dramatic series on the life of convicted scammer Anna Sorokin after she optioned her own essay on her experiences to HBO.
Rachel DeLoache Williams, who was portrayed by Katie Lowes in this year’s limited series about the rise and fall of Sorokin (a.k.a. Anna Delvey), says she was portrayed in an unduly negative light, according to court records reviewed by Oxygen.com.
Williams’ lawyer, Alexander Rufus-Isaacs, sent a copy of Monday’s 57-page lawsuit to Oxygen.com, saying: “We filed the case because Netflix not only included false facts in ‘Inventing Anna’ to make Rachel appear like a horrible person, but also because they used her real name and biographical details for the characters,” said Rufus-Issacs.
According to the lawsuit, other real-life persons’ details were fictionalized to protect their true identities.
“We don’t challenge Netflix’s right to include a lying, sponging, cowardly snob in their series, but they should have given the character a fictitious name and made sure that no one thought it was Rachel,” Rufus-Isaacs continued. “Instead, her reputation has been devastated because viewers believed that they were watching how the real Rachel behaved. The abuse she received has been truly awful.”
Williams, a former Vanity Fair photo editor, penned an article about her friendship with Sorokin before New York Magazine published Jessica Pressler’s exposé, “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People,” from which the Netflix series was adapted.
Monday’s lawsuit accuses the streaming giant of painting Williams negatively, possibly because she “had chosen to play for the other team,” a nod to William’s now-expired option agreement with HBO.
The lawsuit outlines how Williams optioned her Vanity Fair article, as well as a then-unpublished book, to HBO while Pressler sold her story to Netflix, in what some entertainment outlets referred to as “dueling" projects (similar to what we saw with two Fyre Festival documentaries released on different streaming platforms in the same week in 2019).
It is the latest in the ongoing drama between Sorokin and Williams.
Earlier this year, Williams wrote an Airmail article in response to “Inventing Anna” titled “Re-Inventing Anna,” which attempts to differentiate the events depicted in the show from the truth. She accused Sorokin of being a “fraudster” who left her $60,000 in debt stemming from a 2017 trip to Morocco before Williams helped police organize a police sting to take Sorokin down.
Sorokin, who posed as a German heiress while living in New York City from 2013 to 2017 and was convicted of defrauding the city's elites in 2019, followed with a series of Instagram posts, accusing Williams of “stubbornly” refusing to move on from her “contrived trauma, ever brazen and unchecked.” She also slammed the show itself.
In the recent filing, Rufus-Isaacs claims the series prompted many hate-filled comments against Williams online, and provided sourcing for articles that support his claims, including the Independent’s “Inventing Anna, Has A Brutal Vendetta Against Rachel DeLoache Williams - Is Netflix Bitter She Sold Her Story To HBO?”
Rufus-Isaacs also cited the HuffPost, which wrote the series “inexplicably vilifies Rachel.”
Katie Lowes, the actress who portrayed Williams in “Inventing Anna” reportedly acknowledged that the depiction of Williams on-screen may have been less than accurate, according to Vulture.
Lowes described the character as “young, naïve, and [having] a privileged life,” but said, “I don’t think this is necessarily true of Rachel Williams in real life. I think this is true of the character Shonda wrote and what Shonda needed the character to be for the show.”
Sorokin remains in ICE custody awaiting deportation back to Germany, though she appealed to stay in the United States.
According to her website, Williams was laid off from Vanity Fair in 2019, citing “industry-wide cutbacks” but continues to work as a freelance photographer, producer, and creative consultant.
Netflix did not respond to Oxygen.com for comment.