Feminine Grandmaster’s Defamation Swimsuit In opposition to Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit Can Proceed


The favored Netflix collection “The Queen’s Gambit” depicts the lifetime of a trailblazing chess prodigy named Beth Harmon. Whereas the character and story are fiction, the struggles and prejudice the feminine protagonist within the collection confronted would have been very actual. On this planet of chess within the Nineteen Fifties and 60s, it was extensively assumed that to be among the many greatest chess gamers on the earth, you needed to be a person. Ladies competed individually.

Nona Gaprindashvili, a Georgian girl who grew up within the USSR, disagreed. All through the Nineteen Sixties she competed towards lots of the greatest male (and feminine) gamers on the earth. She was the primary girl to carry an Worldwide Chess Grandmaster rank amongst males.

One Line Results in Lawsuit

The fictional Beth Harmon follows an analogous path within the collection, though her expertise within the chess world is loosely based mostly on Bobby Fischer, not Nona Gaprindashvili. Within the collection finale, Harmon performs towards a few of the greatest Russian gamers in an invitational event and does terribly properly. In reflecting on one in all her wins, an announcer for the match says that:

“Elizabeth Harmon’s under no circumstances an essential participant by their requirements. The one uncommon factor about her, actually, is her intercourse. And even that is not distinctive in Russia. There’s Nona Gaprindashvili, however she’s the feminine world champion and has by no means confronted males. My guess is [Harmon’s opponent] Laev was anticipating a simple win, and under no circumstances the 27-move thrashing Beth Harmon simply gave him.”

Nona Gaprindashvili took problem as regards to her, as she had confronted many males by 1968, the 12 months depicted within the present, together with towards Boris Spassky, the well-known Russian World Chess Champion. She filed a lawsuit in the USA District Courtroom for the Central District of California, claiming false mild invasion of privateness or defamation per se within the different. She is in search of $5 million in damages.

Does It Matter That It Is a Work of Fiction?

Netflix subsequently filed a movement to dismiss, claiming that Gaprindashvili doesn’t fulfill the weather of those claims beneath California regulation, arguing (amongst different issues) that:

  • An affordable viewer wouldn’t imagine that the road was meant to convey an goal truth because the present is fiction
  • The road incorporates no defamatory implication

On January 27, U.S. District Decide Virginia Phillips denied the movement to dismiss. In transferring the case ahead, Decide Phillips wrote that “[d]espite the presence of fiction surrounding the Line . . . the Sequence does reference actual folks and occasions and most significantly, the Line identifies an actual individual, Plaintiff, by identify, references her actual profession, after which reveals an actor sitting within the viewers who resembles Plaintiff.” Regardless of the same old disclaimer the present used alerting the viewers that it was a piece of fiction, the district court docket held that the historic setting and particulars was sufficient context, when used with an actual identify and an actual individual, to make an affordable viewer suppose the present was conveying a truth.

Learn the district court docket order and 1000’s extra with a free trial of Westlaw Edge.

Regardless of Netflix’s argument that the road was meant to be complementary to Gaprindashvili and easily present context for why Harmon’s fictional journey to grandmaster was so spectacular, Decide Phillips additionally held {that a} viewer might interpret the road as disparaging. Decide Phillips famous that the present frames the protagonist Harmon as doing one thing that Gaprindashvili couldn’t – specifically, break into the male-dominated world of chess. Since Gaprindashvili remains to be well-known for her function as a pioneer within the chess world, it is sufficient to hurt her fame.

What’s Subsequent?

It isn’t but clear if Netflix will enchantment to the ninth Circuit or proceed to argue the deserves of the case in decrease court docket. Both approach, the case is way from over, absent a settlement between the events. If Gaprindashvili is in the end profitable, both by getting a settlement or profitable in a jury trial, film and tv producers will should be cautious about together with historic particulars even in fictional works.

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You Don’t Have To Remedy This on Your Personal – Get a Lawyer’s Assist

Assembly with a lawyer may also help you perceive your choices and how you can greatest defend your rights. Go to our lawyer listing to discover a lawyer close to you who may also help.


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