Versace Family Slams 'American Crime Story' for Basing Mini-Series on Unauthorized Book

Versace: American Crime Story trailer

The Versace family wants to make it very clear that they do not find The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story to be an accurate account of the slain fashion designer's life.

Relatives of Gianni released a second statement to ET, slamming Maureen Orth's book, Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U. S. History, which is the inspiration behind the FX mini-series.

"As we have said, the Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series about the death of Mr. Gianni Versace, which should only be considered as a work of fiction," reads the statement. "The company producing the series claims it is relying on a book by Maureen Orth, but the Orth book itself is full of gossip and speculation. Orth never received any information from the Versace family and she has no basis to make claims about the intimate personal life of Gianni Versace or other family members. Instead, in her effort to create a sensational story, she presents second-hand hearsay that is full of contradictions."

The statement goes on to specifically call out instances in the book that they say are false.  "As just one example, Orth makes assertions about Gianni Versace’s medical condition based on a person who claims he reviewed a post-mortem test result, but she admits it would have been illegal for the person to have reviewed the report in the first place (if it existed at all). In making her lurid claims, she ignores contrary information provided by members of Mr. Versace’s family, who lived and worked closely with him and were in the best position to know the facts of his life."

The statement concludes by praising the fashion designer while further insisting that American Crime Story does not have the family's blessing. "Gianni Versace was a brave and honest man, who engaged in humanitarian work for the benefit of others. Of all the possible portrayals of his life and legacy, it is sad and reprehensible that the producers have chosen to present the distorted and bogus version created by Maureen Orth."

On Monday, the show's creator, Ryan Murphy, spoke to ET in defense of basing the mini-series on Orth's book. "Vulgar Favors was acclaimed and embedded for almost 20 years now so we stand behind Marren and we stand behind the book," he insisted.

Edgar Ramirez, who portrays Gianni , also stands behind ACS. "We all feel the utmost respect for the Versace family," he told ET. "We all tried to be as respectful and compassionate as possible walking into the show."

"I really feel a lot of love for them," added Penelope Cruz, who takes on the role of Gianni's sister, Donatella Versace, and has said that she spoke with the 62-year-old fashion mogul prior to accepting the part.

Murphy noted, "Penelope never would have taken on this role if in any way if Donatella or anyone in the family was sort of portrayed in a negative light."

While at Sunday's Golden Globes, Darren Criss -- who portrays Gianni's murderer, Andrew Cunanan -- also expressed to ET how the cast and crew wanted to be sympathetic to those affected by the designer's death in 1997. 

"I guess the pressure is more to remain sensitive to the people whose lives are still affected by this 20 years later," he said. "So, we think about them and we try to shed some light on things that ...a spotlight hadn't been on before. Hopefully we can do the victims a bit of due justice."

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story premieres Jan. 17 on FX.


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