Netflix miniseries about a fictional female chess player is under fire. A line in the final episode directly references real-life chess grandmaster Nona Gaprindashvili, who filed a lawsuit Thursday calling for it to be removed.was for the most part by the chess community. But now the
“The only unusual thing about her, really, is her sex, and even that’s not unique in Russia,” an announcer says during the climactic Moscow tournament in which fictional heroine Beth Harmon competes. “There’s Nona Gaprindashvili, but she’s the female world champion and has never faced men,” he says of a woman who can be seen watching the match.
Gaprindashvili filed the lawsuit against Netflix in Federal District Court in Los Angeles. The 80-year-old is seeking millions of dollars in damages. The suit claims the line about her not facing men is a “devastating falsehood, undermining and degrading her accomplishments before an audience of many millions.”
Gaprindashvili, who now lives in Georgia, continues to compete in senior chess tournaments. She was the first woman to be named a grandmaster and has competed against — and beaten — many high level male players.
“They were trying to do this fictional character who was blazing the trail for other women, when in reality I had already blazed the trail and inspired generations,” Gaprindashvili told The New York Times via a translator. “That’s the irony.”
In a statement to the Times, Netflix said, “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.”
Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment.