“The Queen’s Gambit”: Judge continues with chess player’s lawsuit against Netflix
Nona Gaprindashvili accuses the platform of defamation for false information about her story
The 1970s chess champion seeks $5 million in damages
Netflix is being sued by Georgian Nona Gaprindashvili, one of the greatest chess players in the world in the 1970s, for claiming that the series “The Queen’s Gambit” presents false information about its history in a speech by the protagonist.
According to Variety, US judge Virginia A. Phillips decided to proceed with the lawsuit filed by the former chess champion in 2021. In a decision made this Thursday, 27, she disagrees with the streaming platform’s claim, which had stated that the issue would be resolved quickly as it was a work of fiction.
For Phillips, the chess player presented valid arguments to support the accusation of defamation and works of fiction are not immune from the risk of slander if they address real-life people.
Based on the 1983 book of the same name, “The Queen’s Gambit” portrays the successful trajectory of fictional chess player and orphan Beth Harmon, played by Anya Taylor-Joy. At the height of the Cold War, she even beat the main Russian chess players of the 1960s.
The scene that generated Nona Gaprindashvili’s accusation takes place towards the end of production, when a chess commentator mentions chess player when talking about Harmon. “The only thing unusual about her, really, is her gender. And even that’s not unique in Russia. There’s Nona Gaprindashvili, but she’s the women’s world champion and she’s never faced men,” declare the character.
But Gaprindashvili’s legal representatives point out that the statement that Gaprindashvili “has never faced men” is false, as well as calling the incident “highly disgusting, sexist and contemptuous”. According to the chess player, in the year 1968, when the episode takes place, she had already competed with at least 59 men chess players, which includes 10 Grand Masters, in addition to rectifying her nationality for having been presented as Russian in the series.
“Netflix blatantly lied about Gaprindashvili’s achievements for the cheap and cynical purpose of ‘elevating the drama’ by making it look like their fictional hero was able to do what no other woman, including Gaprindashvili, had done.”
“Adding insult to injury, Netflix even described Gaprindashvili as Russian, even though she is aware that she is Georgian, and that Georgians suffered under Russian domination when part of the Soviet Union, and have been attacked and invaded by Russia ever since.” the defense.
Gaprindashvili expects to receive a minimum of $5 million and damages for the lawsuit and is also suing to have the line removed from the series. “Netflix has the utmost respect for Ms Gaprindashvili and her illustrious career, but we believe this complaint is without merit and we will vigorously defend this position,” the streaming platform told The Hollywood Reporter.
Listen to Pod Watch, a podcast of movies and series from Yahoo: