A Chess Champion Resolves Her ‘Queen’s Gambit’ Lawsuit Against Netflix
Lawyers for the pioneering chess champion Nona Gaprindashvili filed papers in federal court on Tuesday suggesting that they had settledher defamation lawsuit against Netflix over what they had described as a “devastating falsehood” about her in its fictional hit series “The Queen’s Gambit.”
The agreement comes almost a year after Ms. Gaprindashvili, the first woman to be named a grandmaster, sued Netflix over a line in the final episode of the series that mentioned her by name and said, incorrectly, that she had “never faced men.” In fact, Ms. Gaprindashvili had played against many male champions over the course of her career, including before the episode in question took place.
“An insulting experience” was how Ms. Gaprindashvili described her portrayal in the show in an interview last year with The New York Times.
“I am pleased that the matter has been resolved,” said Alexander Rufus-Isaacs, a lawyer for Ms. Gaprindashvili. He provided no additional comment, and declined to say how the case had been resolved or whether any money had changed hands.
In court documents filed in June, lawyers for Ms. Gaprindashvili and Netflix had said “parties are working with the Ninth Circuit mediator to explore settlement.”
Netflix did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment. In court papers, it had argued that Netflix had been exercising “its constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue” and that the line in question was “part of a fictional television series that addresses a number of significant matters of public interest, including the challenges women faced competing in the male-dominated world of elite chess during the 1960s.”
“The First Amendment protects the creator’s artistic license to include the line in the fictional series,” lawyers for Netflix wrote in their motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
On Tuesday, lawyers for Netflix also filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss its appeal in the case.
“The Queen’s Gambit,” based on the 1983 novel by Walter Tevis, became what Netflix described as its biggest limited scripted series ever. The series, which starred Anya Taylor-Joy, won two Golden Globes and has garnered 11 Emmy Awards; there are also plans for it to be adapted into a stage musical.
Alain Delaquérière contributed research.