Judge sides with Georgian chess master's defamation lawsuit against Netflix's 'The Queen's Gambit'

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Jan 28, 2022, 09:21 AM(IST)

Poster of 'The Queen's Gambit'. Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

Netflix has sought to dismiss the suit as they argue that the whole show is a work of fiction and that the First Amendment gives show creators broad artistic licence.

Netflix’s popular show ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ has rubbed a Georgian chess master the wrong way as she alleges that she was defamed in an episode of the chess show. Now, a judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by her. 

The chess master, Nona Gaprindashvili, rose to fame as a chess player in the Soviet Union in the 1960s. She sued Netflix in September citing a problem with a line in an episode that states that her character “never faced men”. 

Nona argued that the line was “grossly sexist and belittling,” noting that she had in fact faced 59 male competitors by 1968, the year in which the series was set.

Netflix has sought to dismiss the suit as they argue that the whole show is a work of fiction and that the First Amendment gives show creators broad artistic licence.

However, in a ruling, the judge disagreed and found that the Georgian chess master had made a plausible argument that she was defamed. The judge also held that works of fiction are not immune from defamation suits if they disparage real people.

'The Office' stars John Krasinski, Steve Carell to reunite for film

'Murder Mystery' 2: Star-studded cast joins Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler film

The judge said, “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 fact that the Series was a fictional work does not insulate Netflix from liability for defamation if all the elements of defamation are otherwise present.”

‘The Queen’s Gambit’ is based on a 1983 novel by Walter Tevis, and follows a fictional American character, Beth Harmon, who becomes an international chess champion in the 1960s. In the final episode, set in Moscow, Beth Harmon defeats a male competitor. A chess announcer explains that her opponent underestimated her: “Elizabeth Harmon’s not at all an important player by their standards. The only unusual thing about her, really, is her sex. And even that’s not unique in Russia. There’s Nona Gaprindashvili, but she’s the female world champion and has never faced men.”

From V to Bambam: K-pop stars and how they became famous

Paparazzi and its obsession with star kids: The most in-news Bollywood kids

Read in App