Written By | Chris Harnick
The Versace family continues to be ruffled by FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. In a new statement, the family reiterated they have not authorized the series nor have they had any involvement in the project and said the basis for the show, Maureen Orth‘s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in US History is full of gossip.”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,” the family said in a 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.
“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),” the statement continued. “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.”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,” the statement concluded. “The Versace family will issue no further comment on the matter.”
The family previously issued a statement regarding the upcoming second season of Ryan Murphy‘s American Crime Story and said it should be regarded as a “work of fiction.” Producers FX Productions and Fox 21 Television Studios hit back, standing by the work and Murphy told E! News he stands by the series.”The book that we based our show off of, that we own, Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth, has been out for nearly 20 years,” Murphy told E! News. “And it’s a work of nonfiction. It’s been scrutinized and vetted for close to two decades. And a lot of if not all of Maureen’s reporting in that book was on the record, and it’s been sourced out, and we had our own sources.
“So I just respectfully say,” Murphy continued. “It is not a work of fiction. And I stand by the reporting of our female reporter. And to sort of impune her and say that what she dedicated a large portion of her life to, to say to a female journalist, ‘You’re a liar and what you’re saying is not the truth,’ I don’t think that’s cool.”The series stars Édgar Ramírez as Gianni Versace, Darren Criss as Gianni’s killer, Andrew Cunanan, Ricky Martin as Gianni’s boyfriend Antonio D’Amico and Penélope Cruz as Gianni’s sister Donatella Versace. Cruz said she spoke with Donatella before taking on the role and she received flowers from her just this week.
“I have seen her over the years and she has always been very nice to me. I said to Ryan, ‘Before I say yes I need to make this phone call,’ so he knew I was going to call her. She said to me, that if somebody was going to do it, that if somebody was going to play her, that she was happy it was me. For me to hear those words was what made me make the decision, because I think in a way maybe she felt—she knew that I was going to put all the respect that I feel for her was going to be there,” Cruz told Will Marfuggi at the premiere of the FX series.Cruz said she planned to ask Donatella about the first statement.
In response to the first statement from the Versace family, FX Productions and Fox 21 Television Studios said, “Like the original American Crime Story series The People v. O.J. Simpson, which was based on Jeffrey Toobin‘s non-fiction bestseller The Run of His Life, FX’s follow-up The Assassination Of Gianni Versace is based on Maureen Orth’s heavily researched and authenticated non-fiction best seller Vulgar Favors which examined the true life crime spree of Andrew Cunanan. We stand by the meticulous reporting of Ms. Orth.”
E! News has reached out for comment from FX Productions and Fox 21 Television Studios regarding the latest statement from the Versace family was not immediately returned.The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story premieres Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 10 p.m. on FX.