‘Inventing Anna’ is a ‘dangerous’ distortion, says Rachel Williams

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Rachel Williams, first vanity fair staff member who was swindled out of $62,000 by Anna Sorokin, known as Anna Delvey, she never wanted to talk about her former friend again. She purged her memories of her traumatic friendship in an essay for vanity fair and later a book my friend anna. But when Netflix reportedly paid Sorokin $320,000 for her living rights, which allowed the convicted felon to profit from his crimes after she was forced use part of the sum to pay restitution and fines—Williams was irritated. And when the adequacy of those rights and jessica pressler‘s New York magazine article hit television screens on Friday, in inventing ana, Williams was surprised to see the degree to which the series sympathized with Sorokin (Julia Garner).

“I think promoting this whole narrative and celebrating a sociopathic, narcissistic, proven criminal is wrong,” Williams said. vanity fair in his first interview about the series. “Having had a front row seat to [the Anna circus] For too long, I’ve studied the way a scam works more than anyone needs to. You see the show, but you don’t pay attention to what is marketed”.

As seen by Williams, Netflix and shonda rhymes they were misled into believing that Sorokin was a special and even inspirational person, just like Williams. They did not see her as a felon convicted of eight counts, including second-degree grand theft, theft of services, and attempted first-degree grand theft. (Sorokin was acquitted of attempted first-degree grand theft in connection with a $22 million loan she tried to obtain and stealing $62,000 from Williams. American Express then protected Williams of the hotel charges in Morocco). Sorokin was released from prison in February 2021. After outliving her visa, Sorokin is currently in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where she fights deportation and occasionally offers interview to press.

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Even more dangerous, Williams contends, the series recklessly confuses fact with fiction, opening each episode with a cheeky title card: “This story is completely true, except for all the parts that aren’t.” For Williams, the show could convince viewers that Sorokin is a trailblazing renegade worthy of further fascination and financial payouts despite her crimes. (A Netflix spokesperson declined to confirm the figure to The New York Times, but clarified that “the payments were made to an escrow account supervised by the New York State Office of Victim Services”).

Later, Williams reacts to the series and its unflattering portrayal of her, and shares her own truth.

Vanity Fair: I just reread Jessica Pressler’s original article on Anna to the Cutin which inventing ana is partially based. In the story, you are represented directly. Did you have any feeling that the show would portray you as an opportunistic parasite?

Rachel Williams: It took me by surprise when Netflix announced their description of the character of Rachel. [Editor’s note: Netflix described Rachel as “a natural-born follower whose blind worship of Anna almost destroys her job, her credit, and her life. But while her relationship with Anna is her greatest regret, the woman she becomes because of Anna may be Anna’s greatest creation.”]

To say that a woman is someone else’s creation goes against a feminist narrative. I looked at him and said, really? Where are you going with this? So I had some trepidation, but no one thinks someone is going to be reckless with facts, especially when the character is named after me. To me, it’s not making a statement but twisting the truth in a way that’s dangerous.

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How much of the show have you seen and how was your viewing experience?

I haven’t seen it all yet, I’ve been flipping through it. I started out and I was like, I’m not sure I have the stomach for this. I’ve seen enough to know my objections. Part of the reason I didn’t want to talk [initially] it was because I think people will want to express my statements within the Rachel-vs.-Anna narrative. And I mean, yes, I am concerned about some very obvious and refutable factual inaccuracies.

But I’m more interested in this type of entertainment based on true crimes. Some people online think this is a verified series. The books are verified. This show walks a fine line: It sells it as a true story, but it also [in the opening disclaimer] saying, “except for all the parts that aren’t.” I think it’s worth exploring where a half-truth is more dangerous than a lie. That disclaimer gives the show enough credibility for people to believe [the fictional elements] more easily. I think that’s really dangerous territory. In addition, it affected criminal justice procedures in real time.

Is there a particular story point you want to correct?

I don’t want to get lost in the weeds of what’s right versus what’s not right. But obviously I didn’t get fired in vanity fair for this. I was not an accomplice [in] help my friend defraud my employer. But the minute I sit down to defend myself, especially since there’s now this false narrative about me and about the larger story, then I’m just fueling this ism of choosing sides, when this isn’t something that’s actually two. cast aside

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A person is a criminal. The story benefits her. This is a narrative designed to create empathy for a character who lacks it. The whole thing is very troublesome. If I start saying “fact” or “fiction”, I feel like my voice will be lost and it will also be more of a distraction.