Netflix has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a Georgian chess grasp who alleged that she was defamed in an episode of “The Queen’s Gambit.”
Nona Gaprindashvili argued that her accomplishments had been disparaged when a chess announcer within the Netflix sequence wrongly said that she had “by no means confronted males.” In actual fact, Gaprindashvili had confronted 59 male opponents by 1968, the 12 months through which the sequence was set.
Netflix had tried to have the lawsuit dismissed, claiming that the present’s creators had broad license below the First Modification. However in January a federal decide rejected that argument, holding that fictional works will not be immune from lawsuits in the event that they defame actual folks.
Netflix appealed the ruling to the ninth Circuit Courtroom of Appeals, however on Tuesday the case was dismissed.
“The events are happy that the matter has been resolved,” mentioned lawyer Alexander Rufus-Isaacs, who represented Gaprindashvili.
The phrases of the settlement weren’t disclosed.
“The Queen’s Gambit” portrays Beth Harmon, a fictional American who turns into a world chess champion. Within the remaining episode, Harmon defeats a male competitor at a event in Moscow. An announcer explains that her opponent underestimated her. “The one uncommon factor about her, actually, is her intercourse. And even that’s not distinctive in Russia. There’s Nona Gaprindashvili, however she’s the feminine world champion and has by no means confronted males.”
Gaprindashvili, now 81, argued that the reference was “grossly sexist and belittling.”
Netflix argued that the reference was meant to acknowledge Gaprindashvili, not disparage her. The sequence employed two chess specialists in an effort to get the small print right.
The streamer additionally relied on a 2018 ruling within the California Courtroom of Attraction involving the FX present “Feud.” In that case, Olivia de Havilland claimed that she had been falsely portrayed as a “vulgar gossip.” The appeals court docket sided with FX, discovering that creators have a First Modification proper to interpret historical past and that real-life topics should not have veto energy over how they’re depicted.
Within the Gaprindashvili case, nevertheless, U.S. District Decide Virginia Phillips discovered that doesn’t imply that creators have an unfettered proper to defame folks.
“Netflix doesn’t cite, and the Courtroom just isn’t conscious, of any circumstances precluding defamation claims for the portrayal of actual individuals in in any other case fictional works,” the decide wrote. “The truth that the Collection was a fictional work doesn’t insulate Netflix from legal responsibility for defamation if all the weather of defamation are in any other case current.”
The settlement implies that the ninth Circuit is not going to get to weigh in — at the least in the interim — on the place the road needs to be drawn when actual persons are portrayed in fictional works.