Netflix has been hit with a $5 million lawsuit over a line from ut limited series, “The Queen’s Gambit.”
The lawsuit was filed by Soviet chess legend Nona Gaprindashvili.
Gaprindashvili claims that in the “End Game” finale, a commentator remarks, “The only unusual thing about her, really, is her sex, and even that’s not unique in Russia.” He then adds, “There’s Nona Gaprindashvili, but she’s the female world champion and has never faced men.”
Gaprindashvili is suing for defamation. She says the comments are false.
“Gaprindashvili is a pioneer of women’s chess and a much-loved icon in her native country of Georgia. Throughout her extraordinary career, she won many championships, beat some of the best male chess players in the world, and was the first woman in history to achieve the status of international chess grandmaster among men,” the defamation suit filed in federal court by California lawyers for Gaprindashvili reads.
“The Queen’s Gambit” is based on the novel of the same name written by Walter Tevi. The book, released in 1983, became a New York Times bestseller following the premiere of the series — 37 years after its release.
The series follows Beth Harmon (played by Anya Taylor-Joy), a young orphan from the 1950s who discovers her extraordinary talent for chess after a match with the orphanage’s custodian. Taylor-Joy also battles addiction.
“The allegation that Gaprindashvili’ has never faced men’ is manifestly false, as well as being grossly sexist and belittling,” Gaprindashvili’s filing continues per Deadline. “By 1968, the year in which this episode is set, she had competed against at least 59 male chess players (28 of them simultaneously in one game), including at least ten Grandmasters of that time, including Dragolyub Velimirovich, Svetozar Gligoric, Paul Keres, Bojan Kurajica, Boris Spassky, Viswanathan Anand and Mikhail Tal. The last three were also world champions during their careers.”
The suit accuses Netflix of “brazenly and deliberately” lying about Gaprindashvili’s achievements to “heighten” the show’s drama, thus, humiliating the chess icon.
“This arrogant refusal to take responsibility for its actions was shockingly tone-deaf, given the sexism and offensiveness of its lie.”
Netflix released a brief statement in response: “Netflix has only the utmost respect for Ms. Gaprindashvili and her illustrious career, but we believe this claim has no merit and will vigorously defend the case,” said a spokesperson.