The upcoming season of "American Crime Story" on FX, which focuses on the assassination of fashion designer Gianni Versace in the summer of 1997, has been derided as a "work of fiction" by the deceased designer's family.
Filmed on location at the real Miami waterfront mansion where Versace was gunned down by the openly gay Andrew Cunanan for reasons still unknown, the show's producer Ryan Murphy has touted the season as an antithesis to the Trump era, saying America's homophobia is somehow to blame for the assassination of one gay man by another.
“Versace really did not have to die," Murphy said in August of last year. "One of the reasons Andrew Cunanan was able to make his way across the country and pick off these victims, many of whom were gay, was because of homophobia at the time, particularly within the various police organizations that refused in Miami to put up wanted posters, even though they knew Cunanan was probably headed that way.”
Murphy also said that an episode will explore the cultural fallout from the U.S. military's "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" policy in the '90s and how it parallels President Trump banning transgenders from the military.
According to the very family of the man Murphy claims was murdered by America's homophobia, the whole series is a "work of fiction" and should be disregarded.
"The Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series ... which should only be considered as a work of fiction," the family said in a statement on Wednesday.
The family also denounced the show's source material, the book "Vulgar Favors" by Maureen Orth, calling it a work of "gossip and speculation."
"She has no basis to make claims about the intimate personal life of Gianni Versace or other family members," said the statement. "Instead, in her effort to create a sensational story, she presents second-hand hearsay that is full of contradictions."
The family takes particular issue with Orth claiming Versace was HIV-positive in her book, not because they feel the accusation is something shameful, but because "in making her lurid claims, she ignores contrary information provided by members of Versace's family, who lived and worked closely with him and were in the best position to know the facts of his life."
Versace's famous sister, Donatella, who took over the designer's fashion house after his murder, said she was "amazed that after so many years we still lack respect for the dead, we want to create a scandal around someone who can no longer defend themselves."
Penolope Cruz plays Donatella on the show. Venezuelan heart-throb Edgar Ramirez plays Gianni Versace and singer Ricky Martin plays Versace's longtime boyfriend, Antonio D'Amico.
In July of last year, D’Amico called Ricky Martin's portrayal of him "ridiculous" and even blasted some of the show's exploration of homophobia.
“There has been so much written and said about the murder, and thousands of suppositions, but not a trace of reality,” he told The Guardian.
One scene D'Amico took issue with is when Versace shies away from public affection in fear the paparazzi will catch them. “We lived like a natural couple, there was never a problem,” said D’Amico.
D'Amico was also not consulted in the making of Ryan Murphy's propaganda piece.