Netflix settles defamation lawsuit over Queen’s Gambit

A judge previously dismissed Netflix’s attempt to dismiss the case, noting that the streamer acted in “reckless disregard” for historical accuracy.

Netflix has officially settled a defamation lawsuit brought by Georgian chess champion Nona Gaprindashvili for allegedly “sexist” portrayal in The Queen’s Gambit.

The viral series starred Anya Taylor-Joy as an orphaned chess prodigy. The Emmy-winning show is based on a 1983 novel of the same name and concludes with Taylor-Joy’s character Beth Harmon defeating male Russian gamers in the 1960s. Gaprindashvili claimed that the series slandered her own career, citing that the “only unusual thing” about the main character Beth was her gender.

“And even that is not unique to Russia. There’s Nona Gaprindashvili, but she’s a world champion and she’s never faced men,” the suit read, via The Hollywood Reporter. The lawsuit goes on to say that the idea that Gaprindashvili “never faced men” in competition was “manifestly false, as well as grossly sexist and derogatory.”

By 1968, when the episode in question is set, she had competed against 59 male chess players, at least 10 of whom were grandmasters.

“Netflix shamelessly and deliberately lied about Gaprindashvili’s accomplishments in order to embellish the drama by making it appear that its fictional heroine had managed to do what no other woman, including Gaprindashvili, had been able to,” the statement said Complaint. “Therefore, in a story designed to inspire women, by featuring a young woman competing with men at the highest levels of world chess, Netflix humiliated the only true trailblazer to actually battle and defeat men on the world stage in the same era.” would have .”

The deal between Netflix and Gaprindashvili includes a secret settlement. A judge previously refused to dismiss the case in January 2022 after Netflix argued viewers know that “works of fiction have no obligation to the truth,” like The Queen’s Gambit.

US District Judge Virginia Phillips disputed Netflix’s filing for termination, claiming the streamer acted with “reckless disregard” for historical accuracy. “The Queen’s Gambit” also referred to Gaprindashvili by name and included real people and events.

Attorney Alexander Rufus-Isaacs, representing Gaprindashvili, said: “I am pleased that the matter has been resolved.”

Netflix has faced numerous lawsuits recently, and has settled a lawsuit brought by comedian and Oscar-winner Mo’Nique alleging race and gender discrimination in a wage dispute. The streamer was also recently sued for defamation by Rachel Williams, who is portrayed in true-crime series Inventing Anna. Additionally, in May 2022, Netflix was sued by shareholders for “misleading” investors and failing to disclose its massive fourth-quarter subscriber loss.

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Lindsay Lowe

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