‘American Crime Story’ Season 2: What Versace Family Denies About the Show

Last season of American Crime Story told the true story of O.J. Simpson and his murder trial. It was celebrated with many awards, and fans were riveted by it. Season 2 is about Gianni Versace, the fashion designer who was shockingly murdered on the steps of his mansion in 1997. The season covers not just that, but the other murders that killer Andrew Cunanan committed.

At first, it seemed like Gianni’s sister, Donatella and the rest of the family was supportive of the show. But now things, have taken a turn because they are speaking out against it. So what do they have to say about the events being portrayed?

Here are seven things to know, including what the Versace family denies about the show.

1. The Versace family denies claim that Versace was HIV positive

Gianni Versace waving at a crowd during a fashion show.
Gianni Versace | Pierre Verdy/AFP/Getty Images

The family issued a statement focusing on the claim that Versace died HIV-positive, which comes from the book Vulgar Favors written by Maureen Orth. The show is based on the book.

The family claims this is a problem because the book “is full of gossip and speculation.” The statement continues:

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.

Next: The family made sure to distance themselves from the show before it aired.

2. The Versace family calls the show ‘a work of fiction’

Donatella Versace standing with a man inside a decorated room.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story | FX

The real members of the Versace family made sure to deny having any involvement with the show before it was released. The statement read:

The Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series about the death of Mr. Gianni Versace. Since Versace did not authorize the book on which it is partly based nor has it taken part in the writing of the screenplay, this TV series should only be considered as a work of fiction.

Next: The show’s producer came forward to defend the book the show is based on.

3. Ryan Murphy claims the book has been vetted to be non-fiction

Ryan Murphy sitting on stage during a panel presentation.
Ryan Murphy | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The show’s executive producer, Ryan Murphy, has come forward to defend the book that he has based the show on.

“We issued a statement saying that this story is based on Maureen Orth’s book, which is a very celebrated, lauded work of non-fiction that was vetted now for close to 20 years,” he told Variety. “That’s really all I have to say about it, other than of course I feel if your family is ever portrayed in something, it’s natural to sort of have a ‘Well, let’s wait and see what happens’ [stance].”

Next: Another executive producer responds to the family’s statement.

4. Producer Brad Simpson confirms the show isn’t authorized by the family

Brad Simpson sitting on stage during a presentation.
Brad Simpson | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Murphy isn’t the only one who has responded to the family’s statements. Simpson said, according to Variety:

This isn’t authorized, and we don’t make any pretense at it being authorized. This is based on Maureen Orth’s book. She’s an incredibly respected journalist. It’s a non-fiction bestseller. And also, we’re not just telling the story of Versace. We’re telling the story of all the lives that were affected by the murders of Andrew Cunanan.

Next: The Versace family wasn’t always against the show.

5. Murphy claimed Donatella Versace sent star Penelope Cruz flowers

Penelope Cruz posing on a red carpet in a black dress and silver earrings.
Penelope Cruz | Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

At first, it looked like the show was going to go over well with the real Versace family, especially after this gift.

“Donatella Versace sent Penelope Cruz a very large arrangement of flowers yesterday when she was representing the show at the Golden Globes,” Murphy said. “I don’t know if she is going to watch the show, but if she did I think that she would see that we treat her and her family with respect and kindness.”

Next: The author reveals the one reason she wrote the book. 

6. Orth has talked about her investigation that led to the book

Maureen Orth posing on a red carpet.
Maureen Orth | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The author has also opened up about the work that led to Vulgar Favors. She explains the reason that she wrote was the story of Cunanan. As she stated:

I had done two months of investigation for Vanity Fair because I just thought he was a very interesting, killer suspect – because here’s a guy who went to Bishop in La Jolla. He had a 147 IQ and he had tons of friends, he was extremely witty and well-read. What the heck is he doing being a suspect? Then, when he killed Versace, I was the only one who really knew that they had met before, and so then the whole media circus took off.

Next: Ryan Murphy is in another feud over another one of his shows.

7. This isn’t the first time Murphy has been slammed by someone portrayed in his work

Ryan Murphy walking on stage holding a plastic cup.
He has landed in hot water for this before. | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

This is starting to become a trend for Murphy, as he starts focusing on portraying true stories on the small screen. He is currently being sued by Olivia de Havilland, who accused him of “unauthorized commercial use” of her name for his other show, Feud. Catharine Zeta-Jones portrayed her on the show and played a big part in the story.

Follow Nicole Weaver on Twitter @nikkibernice.

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