Netflix’s Queen’s Gambit sued by former Soviet chess champion over remark – The Hollywood Reporter

Nona Gaprindashvili, one of the best chess players in the world in the 1970s, advanced her pieces against Netflix during The Queen’s Bet. The Georgian grandmaster filed a defamation lawsuit against the streamer on Thursday.

The hit series, based on a 1983 novel, centers on the rise of fictional chess player Beth Harmon. In the series, Harmon is raised in an orphanage and ends up beating Russia’s top players in 1960s Moscow at the height of the Cold War.

But a problem, according to Gaprindashvili.

In the last episode, she is referenced by a chess commentator who says of Harmon, “The only unusual thing about her, really, is her gender. And even this is not unique to Russia. There’s Nona Gaprindashvili, but she’s the women’s world champion and she’s never faced a man.

Claiming that this comment puts Gaprindashvili in a false light, the suit claims that “the allegation that Gaprindashvili ‘never faced men’ “is patently false, in addition to being grossly sexist and derogatory.”

Gaprindashvili says that in 1968, when the episode takes place, she had faced at least 59 male chess players, including 10 grandmasters. “Netflix brazenly and deliberately lied about Gaprindashvili’s accomplishments in a cheap and cynical attempt to ‘aggravate the drama’ by making it seem like her fictional hero had achieved what no other woman, including Gaprindashvili, has. had done,” the complaint alleges.

The former chess champion also takes umbrage at something else.

“Picking additional insult on top of insult, Netflix described Gaprindashvili as Russian, despite knowing she was Georgian, and that Georgians had suffered under Russian rule when they were part of the Soviet Union, and had been intimidated and invaded by Russia afterwards,” the lawsuit states. .

Whether a single passing comment in the series is truly actionable and damages Gaprindashvili’s reputation will be determined by the court. Here is the full complaint. She is represented by Rodney Smolla, dean of the Delaware Law School at Widener University.

Checkmate here would be compensation for his alleged injury. Gaprindashvili seeks at least $5 million in actual damages and more in punitive damages. She also wants a court order that removes the statement that she has never played against men.

A Netflix spokesperson replied, “Netflix has nothing but the utmost respect for Ms. Gaprindashvili and her illustrious career, but we believe this claim is without merit and will vigorously defend the case.”

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