Georgian Grandmaster Chess Nona Gaprindashvili is suing Netflix for five million dollars.
Netflix is learning that careless dialogue in its fictional series can have serious implications. His request to get a recent defamation suit rejected has been rejected, which means he will have to face in court the plaintiff – Georgian shah legend Nona Gaprindashvili.
In September, Gaprindashvili filed a lawsuit against the streaming giant, accusing the company of defamation and “invasion of privacy.” As the world’s first female chess master, Gaprindashvili was mentioned in the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit.
In a scene during a chess match, a radio commentator says in passing, “The only thing unusual about her, really, is her sex. And this is not unique in Russia either. There is Nona Gaprindashvili, but she is the women’s world champion and she has never faced men “.
Netflix has to pay $ 5 million
According to the trial, not only is the accusation that Gaprindashvili did not face men at the time “obviously false”, but it is also “extremely sexist and contemptuous”. It is stated that until 1968, the year in which this episode took place, she competed against at least 59 male chess players (28 of them simultaneously in a single game), including at least ten Grandmasters of the time. ”.
The series that made a sensation on Netflix is based on a 1983 novel by Walter Tevis, which also mentions Gaprindashvili. However, the part on which Netflix seems to have based this particular excerpt from the script says, “The only thing unusual about her was her gender. And this is not unique in Russia either. There is Nona Gaprindashvili, not at the level of this tournament, but a player who has met all the great Russian masters, many times before ”. The Netflix version is clearly different from the book.
The streaming provider said in the file that “The series is a fictional work that a reasonable viewer would not interpret as a transmitter of real facts.” He also stated that “a reasonable spectator would not draw the negative implication that the plaintiff claims.”
However, U.S. District Judge Virginia Philips dismissed the motion, saying that “the fact that the series was a fictional work does not isolate Netflix from liability for defamation if all elements of defamation are otherwise present.”
The judgment further states that “at least the line rejects the achievements essential to the applicant’s reputation”.
Gaprindashvili is demanding compensation of at least five million dollars, as well as for Netflix to remove the excerpt from the series in which it states that it has never faced men in matches.