The first female chess grandmaster Nona Gaprindashvili has sued an Over-The-Top (OTT) platform. She alleges that she was defamed in the hit show Queen’s Gambit and the OTT platform faces a $5 Million, which is roughly Rs 37.5 crores, lawsuit after the judge refused to dismiss Gaprindashvili’s legal suit.
The 80-year-old Georgian chess master sued Netflix for the show in September for the character in the show. She alleges that a character in the show incorrectly mentions that “she never faced men” and that incorrect representation of her in the show is “grossly sexist and belittling.” For Gaprindashvili had played against 59 competitors, who were men by 1968. This is the year when the show is set.
She is the first woman to be awarded the International Chess Federation title of Grandmaster in 1978. The lawsuit also noted, “During career, she encountered severe prejudice because she was a woman and often the only woman competing amongst men.”
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The lawsuit by her alleges, “devastating falsehood, undermining and degrading her accomplishments before an audience of many millions.” Previously, Netflix had asked the suit to be dismissed on the grounds that the show was a piece of fiction and the creators had used artistic license. This was protected under the first amendment.
They also argued that two chess experts were used to verify the references to Gaprindashvili in the show. They said that they meant to recognise her and not disparage her. But on Thursday night, the US District Judge Virginia A Philips in California found the chess master’s argument valid and stated that fiction does not mean one can defame real people. The court ruling stated, “Netflix does not cite, and the Court is not aware, of any cases precluding defamation claims for the portrayal of real persons in otherwise fictional works.”
The Queen’s Gambit is based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis. The show delves into one particular fictional character Beth Harmon, which is played by Anya Taylor-Joy. The story is about a young orphan who becomes the world’s greatest chess player.