Netflix Sued by Former Chess Champion Over Sexist Comment in The Queen's Gambit

The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards are happening on Sunday, and many of our favorite shows are up for awards ranging from WandaVision to Star Wars: The Mandalorian. One series that has already managed to win nine Creative Arts Emmys is The Queen's Gambit, which will be competing in some major categories on Sunday, including Oustanding Limited or Anthology Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limites Series or Anthology Series for Anya Taylor-Joy. Despite the show's success, there is one person who is displeased with Netlfix's depiction of the chess world. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Nona Gaprindashvili is suing Netflix over a line about her featured in one of the show's episodes. 

Gaprindashvili was one of the top chess players in the world in the 1970s, and The Queen's Gambit mentioned her by name in the final episode when one commentator was talking about Taylor-Joy's character, Beth Harmon, who is fictional. "The only unusual thing about her, really, is her sex. And even that's not unique in Russia. There's Nona Gaprindashvili, but she's the female world champion and has never faced men."

According to Gaprindashvili's suit, "the allegation that Gaprindashvili 'has never faced men' is manifestly false, as well as being grossly sexist and belittling." Gaprindashvili says by 1968, she had gone up against at least 59 men, including 10 grandmasters. "Netflix brazenly and deliberately lied about Gaprindashvili's achievements for the cheap and cynical purpose of 'heightening the drama' by making it appear that its fictional hero had managed to do what no other woman, including Gaprindashvili, had done."

Another bit of misinformation on the series was the fact that Gaprindashvili was referred to as Russian. "Piling on additional insult to injury, Netflix described Gaprindashvili as Russian, despite knowing that she was Georgian, and that Georgians had suffered under Russian domination when part of the Soviet Union, and had been bullied and invaded by Russia thereafter," the suit adds.

A Netflix spokesperson responded to the claim, saying, "Netflix has only the utmost respect for Ms. Gaprindashvili and her illustrious career, but we believe this claim has no merit and will vigorously defend the case."

ComicBook.com spoke with Taylor-Joy last year, and she talked about her character Beth's journey to becoming one of the most famous chess players in the world.

"I think it was genuinely fascinating and wonderful to me that Beth is so outside of society, that she's genuinely baffled by the fact that people talk about her gender, and not like the incredible play she just made," Taylor-Joy shared. "I think like that level of comfort in your own ability was something that I really enjoyed playing. I think it's important, not just as a performer, but as a human being, to be aware of history. But it felt pretty good to sort of walk up and go, 'I'm aware of all of this stuff. It does not pertain to this character. I'm gonna let it go,' and just sort of like show up and do my stuff. So yeah, I wouldn't say it was a challenge. I would say it was incredibly liberating."

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The Queens Gambit is now streaming on Netflix.