Chess Grandmaster sues Netflix for defamation – JURIST – News

Nona Gaprindashvili, the first woman in history to be awarded the title of Grandmaster, on Thursday filed a libel suit against Netflix for false statements in the hugely popular “The Queen’s Gambit” series. Gaprindashvili seeks $ 5 million in damages from US District Court for the Central District of California (Western Division), alleges the streaming powerhouse’s inaccurate portrayal was “grossly sexist and demeaning” and undermined achievements from the pioneer of female chess. .

As fictional Beth Harmon sits down to star in the series’ final episode, which depicts the heroine trying to navigate the male-dominated and often political world of chess during the Cold War, the announcer addresses to the tens of millions of people who watch on Netflix around the world. “The only thing unusual about her, really, is her gender.. There’s Nona Gaprindashvili, but she’s the female world champion and she’s never faced a man.

Yet Gaprindashvili has faced (and beaten) men throughout his career. The five-time women’s world champion won her Grandmaster title playing against men in a 1972 international tournament, which she won several times over her decades-long career. Much of the cases of sexism depicted in the series, such as young Harmon who was told to play elsewhere when attempting to compete in tournaments, were based on actual experiences Gaprindashvili had in trying to become a woman in a traditionally male dominated game. .

Netflix adapted the relevant line from a book, which excludes any mention of her not playing men and instead referred to Gaprindashvili as having faced the true grandmasters of the story “many times before”. Gaprindashvili says that she was “insulted” and that “my whole life was crossed out, as if it was not important”.

According to the details of the complaint in the lawsuit:

Netflix brazenly and deliberately lied about Gaprindashvili’s accomplishments in the cheap and cynical aim of “heightening the drama” by making it appear that its fictional hero had succeeded in doing what no other woman, including Gaprindashvili, did. ‘did. So, in a story that was meant to inspire women by showing a young woman competing with men at the highest levels of global chess, Netflix humbled the one real woman who had faced and defeated men on the world stage at the same time. .

Netflix responded that it “has the utmost respect for Ms Gaprindashvili and her illustrious career, but we believe that claim has no basis and will vigorously defend the case.” The costume garnered a lot of attention in the chess community, which benefited greatly from the hit series. Chess has become one of the most popular categories on the live video game streaming site “Twitch” and many applauded The Queen’s Gambit for bringing attention to the game and for encouraging young girls to play. In chess.

Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, one of the world’s most successful and successful chess players, has expressed doubts about the merits of the claim: will win this lawsuit. For Nakamura, the show’s contribution to chess outweighs a “simple mistake” which he says does not discredit Gaprindashvili’s reputation to the point of justifying damages. Nakamura took a cynical view of the allegation that Gaprindashvili was insulted: “I should really start to consider [a lawsuit]. . . In just one day of my life, I was thrown far worse than a line on a TV show.

For Gaprindashvili, the prosecution is to fight against wrongdoing. “It is already part of my heritage that female chess players are accepted and become great masters. It’s also a big part of it. It’s a fight that I started, and it’s a fight that I continue.

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