A federal district judge in the United States has ruled as admissible a lawsuit filed against Netflix by Nona Gaprindashvili, a former chess champion in the 1960s who is mentioned in the series The Queen’s Gambit.
The plaintiff says Netflix made an “extremely sexist and demeaning” reference to her in the series finale, in which contender Beth Harmon defeated Soviet Union and world champion Vasily Borgov.
After her victory, a radio announcer says in Russian the following sentence: “Elizabeth Harmon is not at all a major player by your standards. The only unusual thing about her, really, is her sex. And even that is not unique to Russia. There is Nona Gaprindashvili, but she is the women’s world champion and has never faced men.
But Gaprindashvili, who competed and was champion in the 1960s (was women’s champion in 1964, 1973, 1981, 1983 and 1985), in which the series takes place The Queen’s Gambit, he did face male chess players. In fact, dozens of them, in simultaneous games like the ones shown in the series.
In its defense, Netflix said that the series and the novel on which it is inspired (Walter Tevis, 1983) is a fiction and that the reference to Gaprindashvili sought to give him recognition.
However, Judge Virginia A. Phillips considered that, because the main theme of The Queen’s Gambit is to break the gender gap, the reference disparages Gaprindashvili’s achievements.
“An average viewer could easily interpret the line, as Plaintiff contends, as ‘disparaging Plaintiff’s achievements’ and ‘carrying the stigma that women wear a badge of inferiority’ than the fictional American woman Harmon, but not Plaintiff. , could overcome”, said the judge. “At a minimum, the line disdains achievements critical to the plaintiff’s reputation.”
After the resolution of Judge Phillips, the lawsuit will continue in court.