American Crime Story season 2: Versace family issue second statement condemning series

New season tells the story of the assassination of the famous designer

Roisin O'Connor@Roisin_OConnor
Thursday 11 January 2018 09:53
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Assassination of Gianni Versace trailer

The Versace family have released a second statement criticising the new season of American Crime Story.

Earlier this week they issued a statement via the fashion house to media outlets which said they did not "authorise [or have] any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series" about Gianni Versace's assassination in 1997.

Édgar Ramirez stars in the new series as the titular fashion designer, who was assassinated by Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss) during the serial killer’s 1997 murder spree.

The series - which also stars Ricky Martin and Penélope Cruz as Versace's sister, Donatella - focuses on the ensuing hunt for Cunanan who went on to kill four more people.

US channel FX, which airs the series, responded to the Versace family's first statement.

“Like the original American Crime Story series The People Vs OJ 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 bestseller Vulgar Favors, which examined the true-life crime spree of Andrew Cunanan," it said. "We stand by the meticulous reporting of Ms. Orth.”

Ryan Murphy also defended the FX series at the show's premiere, according to Harper's Bazaar, although he acknowledged that the Versace family was “in a really interesting, difficult situation".

“All I know is this: Donatella sent Penelope Cruz flowers yesterday. They are very close friends,” he said. “As for them calling our work a 'work of fiction,' I don't agree with that. It's based on a very acclaimed nonfiction book called Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth that has been vetted for almost two decades.”

In the second statement, the Versace family repeated its assertion that, due to their lack of involvement, the show should "only be considered as a work of fiction".

“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," they said. "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 calls into question Orth's assertions about Gianni Versace's medical condition at the time of his death, which she wrote based on reports made by a person who claimed to have viewed a post-mortem test result.

“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 reads. “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 family then condemned the TV series in its entirety for taking Orth's book as a work of nonfiction.

“Gianni Versace was a brave and honest man, who engaged in humanitarian work for the benefit of others,” the statement reads.

“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 Versace family will issue no further comment on the matter.”

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story airs in the US on 19 January with a UK air date expected to follow soon after on BBC Two.

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