Netflix has been sued by chess pioneer Nona Gaprindashvili over a single line from the popular “Queen’s Gambit” series which she claims has defamed her by wrongly diminishing her impressive career.
While fictional chess champion Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) stars in the invitation to Moscow in the series’ final climax, an announcer refers to Gaprindashvili by name, noting that she is the “champion. of the female world and has never faced men “.
Gaprindashvili, 80, who lives in Tbilisi, Georgia, was the first woman in the world to be named a Grandmaster. In 1968, the year in which the episode takes place, Gaprindashvili had “faced at least 59 male chess players (including 28 simultaneously in a game), including at least ten grandmasters of the time”, including Boris Spassky, declares defamation. lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles Federal District Court. “The last three have also been world champions in their careers… she has beaten some of the best male chess players in the world.”
The lawsuit seeks millions of dollars in damages for what it calls a “devastating lie, undermining and degrading its achievements in front of an audience of millions” – and calls for the line on Gaprindashvili not to in the face of men be suppressed.
When Gaprindashvili contacted Netflix to request a public correction and an apology, he refused to do so, according to the lawsuit. He called Gaprindashvili’s career-curtailing line – in a series primarily about sexism in the chess world – “trivial,” the lawsuit said. The costume describes the response as “shocking deafness,” as well as offensive and sexist.
“They were trying to make this fictional character who was leading the way for other women, when in reality I had already led the way and inspired generations,” Gaprindashvili said in a recent video seen by The New York Times. “That’s the irony … It was an insulting experience.”
Netflix must have been aware of Gaprindashvili’s accomplishments as he hired “two of the world’s greatest chess authorities” as consultants, the lawsuit noted. The book the series was based on also recognized that Gaprindashvili faced male grandmasters.
Netflix told The Times in a statement, “Netflix has the utmost respect for Ms. Gaprindashvili and her illustrious career, but we believe this claim has no basis and will vigorously defend the case.”
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