Chess Champion Sues Netflix Following ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Insult
The first-ever female chess grandmaster, Nona Gaprindashvili, 80, is suing Netflix for defamation.
Gaprindashvili filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles' Federal District Court against the streaming giant Thursday (Sept. 16) for an incorrect portrayal of her on The Queen's Gambit. In her lawsuit, she called a fleeting reference made about her in the series "grossly sexist and belittling."
"The only unusual thing about her, really, is her sex, and even that’s not unique in Russia," a chess competition announcer says of fictional main character Beth Harmon in the final episode of the show, before referencing Gaprindashvili.
"There’s Nona Gaprindashvili, but she’s the female world champion and has never faced men," the announcer continues.
According to Fox, Gaprindashvili would have competed against at least 59 men in the timeline of the show. In fact, she reportedly faced 28 men simultaneously in one game, including 10 grandmasters.
The lawsuit states that Netflix's portrayal of Gaprindashvili was a "devastating falsehood, undermining and degrading her accomplishments before an audience of many millions."
Gaprindashvili apparently confronted Netflix after the series debuted. The suit states that she "demanded a public statement acknowledging the falsity of the statement, an apology, and a retraction." Netflix allegedly dismissed her.
"Thus, in a story that was supposed to inspire women by showing a young woman competing with men at the highest levels of world chess, Netflix humiliated the one real woman trailblazer who had actually faced and defeated men on the world stage in the same era," the legal document continues.
Gaprindashvili is asking for $5 million in defamation damages and $75,000 for lost business opportunities.
Upon streaming in October 2020, The Queen's Gambit became a critical success. The show took home two Golden Globe awards and earned 18 Emmy nominations. There are rumors that the series is being adapted into a musical for theater.