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Netflix Must Face ‘Queen’s Gambit’ Defamation



 A $5 million (approximately Rs. 37.5 crores) case is filed by a Georgian former chess world champion against Netflix. A Los Angeles court has ordered that the case may proceed after claiming that she got defamed in an episode of “The Queen’s Gambit.” The streaming giant is accused of misrepresenting “one of the most significant career achievements” of chess master Nona Gaprindashvili.

Nona Gaprindashvili, an 80-year-old chess grandmaster, sued in September, saying that a statement in the show in which a character declares she has “never confronted males” in her career was “grossly sexist and demeaning.” 

he has taken issue with a line in the drama where a character claims, falsely, that she “never faced men”. Lawyers claimed that the error had “tarnished (her) personal and professional reputation” around the world.

By 1968, the year in which the massively famous limited series “The Queen’s Gambit” is mainly set, Gaprindashvili had battled scores of male rivals. Netflix’s lawyers argued that the series is a work of fiction and protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. This amendment guarantees freedom of speech. The Queen’s Gambit is based on a 1983 novel by Walter Tevis.

Netflix said that “no reasonable viewer would have understood the line to convey a statement of fact”, according to legal documents seen by PA, as it was an “entirely fictional work”. Moreover, it also added that the show’s millions of viewers would require “knowledge of competitive Soviet chess in the 1960s” to understand the alleged defamation.

However, federal judge Virginia Phillips dismissed their petition on Thursday, stating that “the fact that the series was a fictitious work does not protect Netflix from defamation liability. This is applicable even if all the elements of defamation are already present.”

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The Queen’s Gambit,” starring Anya Taylor-Joy, is based on Walter Tevis’s 1983 novel. It depicts the story of a young orphan who grows up to become the world’s best chess player. While Beth Harmon is a fictitious character, the series includes real-life chess players, notably Gaprindashvili.

In 1978, Gaprindashvili was the first woman to be named Grandmaster by the International Chess Federation. 

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