Why is Netflix being sued for ‘The Queen’s Gambit?
Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit may have just been checkmated by the grandmaster herself. Nona Gaprindashvili, one of the top chess players in the world in the 1970s, filed a defamation lawsuit yesterday against Netflix for the film The Queen’s Gambit due to certain comments and inaccuracies made about her in the show.
The Netflix film The Queen’s Gambit is based on the 1983 novel of the same name, focusing on the rise of the fictional chess player Beth Harmon who plays her way to the top, ultimately beating the top chess players in Russia during the Cold War. While the story as a whole is fictitious, it’s Gaprindashvili’s one mention in the show’s finale that makes up the core of the lawsuit.
Naturally, many on Twitter had a few thoughts to discuss on the lawsuit against Netflix and The Queen’s Gambit. We played our way through the threads to find more information and some of the reactions to the lawsuit. Grab your chess pieces as we dive into the latest news on this lawsuit.
In the final episode of The Queen’s Gambit, Gaprindashvili is mentioned in passing by a chess commentator, who says in regards to Harmon that “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.”
This one comment is what caused the real-life Gaprindashvili to file this lawsuit, as not only does it paint her in a false light in order to heighten the drama (she actually played against fifty-nine men, ten of which were grandmasters by 1968) but the show also identified her as Russian when Gaprindashvili is actually Georgian, who have suffered under Russian rule for years.
Both factor into Gaprindashvili’s lawsuit against the platform. No court hearing has commenced yet, but Gaprindashvili already knows what she wants from Netflix in compensation for the comment.
Gaprindashvili is currently represented by Rodney Smolla, Dean of Delaware Law School of Widener University, and has already drafted Gaprindashvili’s terms for compensation against the platform.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gaprindashvili is looking to gain $5 million in actual damages plus more in punitive damages due to the misinformation from the series. She also wants a court order that removes the statement that she never played against men.
Netflix has responded to the allegations, a representative stating to The Hollywood Reporter how “Netflix has only the utmost respect for Ms. Gaprindashvili and her illustrious career, but we believe this claim has no merit and will vigorously defend the case.” At this point, it seems like the case is anybody’s game.
She was an amazing player and she DID face men (and beat them handily); but this lawsuit seems a bit off the wall. Perhaps they’ll settle, but she won’t see that $5M. I’m not sure how you could reasonably say it’s defamation; but they should have caught it. #chess #queensgambit https://t.co/ZSOiuWhmFx
— Andrew Auell (@Auelltheabove) September 17, 2021
Twitter is watching the game
Naturally, many on Twitter have debated on the lawsuit from Gaprindashvili. Some are sympathetic to her complaints and hope for her to win the case. Others state that, due to the show being fictionalized, it may be that the comment was made in order to highlight the sexism of the time. Either way, reactions vary, including:
Good for her. I hope she can make them pay, socially and financially.
— Arcturus SaDiablo, Noble Nuisance (@ASadiablo) September 17, 2021
Aka one side of the argument in a nutshell.
Netflix wasn't slighting her. The character in the show was. As is befitting of the times it was set in, the character was being sexist saying she hasn't played men. The line highlighted the attitude at the time. Making it up so he could belittle her, in the show, not for real.
— James White (@JimWPhoto) September 17, 2021
And there’s the other side of the argument coming in.
Can't say I blame her. It's a complete invalidation of her life, and expressed so casually. I'd be angry too.
— Helin A Handbasket (@Helinhandbasket) September 17, 2021
Anyone would be, we’d think, in that situation.
It'd be interesting to see how far this lawsuit goes.
— María Peña (@mariauxpen) September 17, 2021
You and us both, dude.
If you can’t be kind, be accurate.
— VanessaFiji 😷🇪🇺 #BanPalmOil #StillWithCorbyn (@VanessaFiji) September 17, 2021
Right to the point. We can respect that.
What are your thoughts on the Netflix and The Queen’s Gambit lawsuit? Drop them below in the comments before we get checkmated!