Should “Inventing Anna” Even Have Been Invented?



“Inventing Anna” is a new series on Netflix that encapsulates the true story of Anna Sorokin, a woman who posed as a German heiress and assimilated with an elite group of socialites in New York City swindling those around her by stealing their time, friendship and large sums of money. 

Besides generating buzz based on its shock quality, many have begun to criticize Netflix for its publication of this show, pointing out the ethics behind the decision. Sorokin’s crimes fed off of others’ trust in her and their relationship, ultimately hurting and embarrassing those she fooled. The controversy around the series latches onto this idea, the glorification of her crimes and specifically the lack of empathy towards those she hurt, glorifying her by giving her the ultimate fame she wanted as well as $80 million dollars for her story. Rachel Williams, a vanity fair writer, was Anna’s friend and was scammed out of $62,000 on a vacation together.  

“I think promoting this whole narrative and celebrating a sociopathic, narcissistic and proven criminal is wrong,” William’s stated in an interview with Vanity Fair, shocked by Netflix’s depiction of Anna as a victim. 

However, Senior,Dana Izzat Agha, feels differently. 

“As much as I don’t agree with the things she’s done, I can’t help but think about the men who have gotten away with things just as bad…I feel like it would be hypocritical to criticize the money she made from the show,” Agha elaborated, noting that others’ charges were just swept under the rug and that the show is definitely exaggerated.  

Not only has Netflix received criticism for allowing her to benefit from her crimes, but also for the lack of clarity and level of truth presented in the series. 

“This story is completely true except for the parts that are totally made up” is the statement plastered in the intro of every episode that truly adds no clarification.  Senior, Chaney Duskin, specifically noted that the introduction clouded her view and that the series is, 

“Probably not accurate because of the “except for the parts that aren’t a true thing” and speculation was a big part of what I took from it,” Duskin stated.

The ambiguity of the text and the story itself may be meant to protect the real characters and how they are displayed, but it could easily become a storm of misinformation and rumors. Sorokin claims certain events never happened including staying on a friend’s yacht without an invitation and spending $400,000 with a friend’s credit card. 

Her cons tricked some of New York’s wealthiest and most elite, and the way they are depicted in the series leave room for wandering minds, and never clearly states if the truth was bent or not. 

One aspect of the show that was specifically focused on was her desire for fame, and in the last couple of episodes that cover the trial, more examples of this come out. This being, her outfits and behavior in court. The eighth and ninth episodes cover her meltdowns over the clothes the court provided for her to wear and her disapproval of them. Eventually, her lawyer and those around her gave in and would provide celebrity-styled outfits for her to wear, displayed on the real Instagram account @annadelveycourtlooks. 

The account walks viewers through Anna’s outfits through each court date, and acts as a live look from the gallery, reporting live with rundowns of each dress or sweater.  This part was particularly entertaining as it was cool to be able to go to Instagram and see that the account is still up. However, the show develops Anna into a sort of antihero with characters in the show, and now some of the public cheering her on. 

When the trial came along, the journalist, Vivian, is depicted as distraught as guilty charges are read but the opposite when not guilty charges are read. The money Sorokin stole was regardless a financial burden to all those involved as well as an emotional and social loss, the loss of their friend, Anna. In the show, others in the public also become fans and share their hopes of her being found not guilty, this obviously did not happen as she was in jail, but it does speak to the reality we could face. Because Anna, both in real life and on the show, was able to fool those around her and develop a fanbase, who’s to say she won’t be encouraged to do it again?

Regardless of the ethics and decision behind the publication, the truth still stands: Anna Sorokin is guilty. Guilty of tricking those around her and spending money that was never hers at the expense of others. Yet, it is impossible to fully state that she is guilty on every charge when those around her saw what they wanted to see, someone to buy their drinks, vacations and friendship.