Netflix’s miniseries The Queen’s Gambit, based on the 1983 novel of the same name, created a storm upon its release in 2020. From taking home eleven Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards, the show also saw its female lead winning the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie.
However, the series written and directed by Scott Frank has got the streaming giant facing a lawsuit of $5 million. Chess grandmaster Nona Gaprindashvili, 80, filed a suit in September claiming she was defamed in an episode of the coming-of-age period drama with an incorrect statement that was ‘grossly sexist and belittling’. Read on to know more.
As per a report by The Hollywood Reporter, in September Nona Gaprindashvili sued Netflix for $5 million in response to a fictional chess commentator’s line in The Queen’s Gambit series finale. This line in question had the commentator refer to her by name and says she’s “the female world champion and has never faced men.” She contends the statement is false and sexist.
Netflix contended that it cannot be sued on the ground that The Queen’s Gambit is a work of fiction and therefore is covered by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which protects free speech. However, on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips found that the streaming giant acted with a “reckless disregard” for the truth, thus rejecting arguments that it cannot be sued for defamation of real people in works of fiction. It read, “On the contrary, the fact that the Series was a fictional work does not insulate Netflix from liability for defamation if all the elements of defamation are otherwise present.”
Nona Gaprindashvili was the first woman to be awarded the International Chess Federation title of Grandmaster, in 1978. She was the women’s world chess champion from 1962-78 and successfully competed in several men’s tournaments throughout her career – winning at least two such titles.
Talking about The Queen’s Gambit, the miniseries starred Anya Taylor-Joy in the lead and tells the story of a young orphan who becomes the world’s greatest chess player. While central character Beth Harmon is fictional, the series features several real-life chess characters including Nona Gaprindashvili. Netflix released the series on October 23, 2020, and after four weeks it had become the platform’s most-watched scripted miniseries.
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