Sep 6, 2022 - Economy

Netflix settles "Queen's Gambit" defamation suit

Georgian and Soviet chess player Nona Gaprindashvili (left) takes part in the International Chess Congress in London.

Nona Gaprindashvili takes part in the International Chess Congress in January 1965. Photo: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A U.S. judge on Tuesday dismissed a defamation case between Netflix and Georgian chess master Nona Gaprindashvili over comments made about her in the streamer's mega-hit "The Queen's Gambit," Variety reports.

Why it matters: Netflix had argued that the First Amendment allowed "The Queen's Gambit" — a series centered around the fictional chess player Beth Harmon — "broad artistic license" to discuss real-world people. But a judge said fictional works are not exempt from defamation cases, per Variety.

Driving the news: Gaprindashvili and Netflix reached a settlement after the case was dismissed. Terms of the settlement were not released.

  • “The parties are pleased that the matter has been resolved,” attorney Alexander Rufus-Isaacs, who represented Gaprindashvili, told Variety.
  • A Netflix spokesperson told Axios the company is "pleased the matter has been resolved."

Context: Gaprindashvili claimed in a January 2022 lawsuit that the show defamed her by stating that she had “never faced men” when in fact, Gaprindashvili faced 59 male competitors by 1968, the year in which the series was set, per The Hollywood Reporter.

  • Gaprindashvili said in the lawsuit that the comment was “manifestly false, as well as being grossly sexist and belittling.”

The settlement agreement means the case will end there and the 9th Circuit won't decide on what happens when real people are portrayed in a fictional manner, per Variety.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include comment from Netflix.

Go deeper