Netflix settles ‘Queen’s Gambit’ defamation suit brought by Nona Gaprindashvili
I think this is a good outcome. I’m a fan of the show, and big on free speech. But Netflix presented a falsehood about Georgian chess grandmaster Nona Gaprindashvili in the script—a falsehood that, if taken as true, diminishes her reputation. As, obviously, a huge amount of research went in to the show, it’s odd that this slipped by.
It’s good that this was a settlement, and not a verdict, because it doesn’t set a legal precedent. Courts of law are coarse and clumsy venues for debating artistic purpose and intention. We don’t want a string of lawsuits where, for example, Quentin Tarantino has to defend his depiction of Bruce Lee because the estate of the martial artist hauled him into court. Will a judge or a jury grasp the reasons that the two cases are different? It’s a crap shoot.
Netflix having to settle sends a salutary message to fictionalizers: if you mention a real person in your story (especially a living one), make sure you keep it factual.