After producer Ryan Murphy defended the series on Tuesday, insisting that "it is not a work of fiction", the Versace family put out a second, longer statement on Wednesday condemning both the series and the "bogus" book Vulgar Favors.
On Monday, the Verace family distancing themselves from the series, saying it had "neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever" in the show, calling it "a work of fiction".
Penelope Cruz would not have taken on her new role as Donatella Versace without the fashion mogul's consent.
"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, who has worked for Vanity Fair since 1988, "never received any information from the Versace family" and instead presented "second-hand hearsay that is full of contradictions" to create a "lurid" and "sensational" story. It seems that the family of Versace was hands-off for the entire process of the show coming together.
"It saddens (us) to see that among all possible portraits of (Gianni's) life and story, the producers chose to present the false and distorted version created by Maureen Orth", it added.
Since members of the family didn't authorize the book from which it's partly drawn or participate in the writing of the screenplay, the series should be considered "a work of fiction", according to the statement.
The Versace family at Gianni's funeral
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, hard situation".
In particular, the Versace family contends that the writer "makes assertions" about the late designer'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 series stars Edgar Ramirez as Versace, Darren Criss as the serial killer Andrew Cunanan and Penelope Cruz as the designers sister and current head of the label, Donatella Versace.
The statement concludes by noting that Gianni was a "brave and honest man" and that the family would have no further comment on the matter. Maureen Orth is an impeccable reporter and we stand by her reporting. As the season has not yet aired, we can't say just how closely the show will adhere to the events as described in the book.
Catch the premiere of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story on January 17 at 10 p.m. ET on Fox.
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