The Versace family has issued two statements denouncing FX The murder of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story . But the producers and the stars maintain that the second season of the FX Emmy award-winning anthology is a respectful interpretation of the famous fashion designer, who was shot dead by wanted killer Andrew Cunanan on the steps of his Miami mansion in the summer of 1997.  "The main thing is that we are celebrating Versace," says writer Tom Rob Smith The Hollywood Reporter . "We are exploring why he was a genius, why it was important, the impact he caused and why it was a great loss when he was killed, both personally on the level of all the people who loved him, all the people who admired him, and also at the cultural level, it is a show that celebrates and admires him ".
The main point of discord of the family seems to be the portrait of Gianni Versace as HIV-positive, which according to the journalist Maureen Orth in his book Vulgar Favors. ( The season is based on Orth's book and reports.) Orth, who covered Cunanan's search for Vanity Fair at that time, a Miami Beach detective told him in the record that Blood tests after Versace's death confirmed his HIV positive status. Orth, for his part, told THR that more than a decade later, he supports his reports.
"The Miami Beach chief detective told me in the record that he had heard from the coroner who did that blood work that was [HIV-positive]," Orth said. "And he also goes along with other people who told me that he was very weak at some point and that he needed [partner] Antonio to help him walk, and they came to his house when he was having breakfast and he had 27 bottles of pills in front of him. Does that mean they are for HIV? But the Miami Beach blood thing, that's nice [solid]. "
The Versace family has criticized the FX drama as a" work of fiction "and Orth's book, saying that the FX series is based on a book they say is "full of gossip and speculation".
"Orth never received information from the Versace family and has no basis for making statements about the intimate personal life of Gianni Versace or other family members, but instead, in his effort to create a sensational story, he presents rumors of second hand they are full of contradictions, "the family said in a statement. "Orth makes claims about Gianni Versace's medical condition based on a person who claims to have reviewed the result of a post-mortem test, but admits that it would have been illegal for the person to review the report in the first place (if it existed). In making his grisly affirmations, he ignores the contrary information provided by members of Mr. Versace's family, who … were in the best position to know the facts of his life … Of all the possible representations of his life and legacy It is sad and reprehensible that the producers have chosen to present the distorted and false version created by Maureen Orth. "
Showrunner Ryan Murphy responded to the family's criticism, saying THR that the Donatella Versace shares They seemed to indicate she was not at all upset with the series. "Donatella Versace sent Penelope Cruz [whodescribed Versace ] a very large flower arrangement when she represented the show at the Golden Globes," he said. "I do not know if she's going to watch the show, but if she did, I think she'd see that we treated her and her family with respect and kindness, and she's kind of a feminist model in my book because she had to go into a impossible situation, which he did with grace and understanding. "
But regardless of Versace's status, the fact that he overcame a serious illness and was excited about his life provides a stark contrast to the desperation of Andrew Cunanan's vision.
"For me, if you look only at the data of his illness, he became very sick at that time, and he recovered at the time of the new drug therapy [HIV/AIDS] to adapt to that," Smith said. "But even apart from that, what surprised me most was that this guy was so close to death and still clung to him, he really fought for life, life was very important to him, contrast with someone who gave and someone He was hit by the circumstances, and what is interesting in some of the reactions was: "Oh, he's the killer, he must have AIDS." Actually, Andrew did not have it.
Cunanan (played by Glee student Darren Criss) shot Versace when he returned from his morning walk to the newsstand, something the designer did regularly when he was staying. in Florida, even when I was sick.
"Gianni often walked to the magazine store in Miami, he once did it when he was so sick he could barely get to that couple of blocks, he was carrying the magazines, and he could not even hold them." That morning [of his death] when he walks, he's so alive again, it's really powerful to think he must have been like, "This life is great," and he can do it by walking and carrying the magazines, and then Andrew appears, "Smith said. "It's really terrible when you look at those two, I thought it was a very powerful part of their story, so that's why we did it."
Edgar Ramirez, who plays the last designer, did not contact the Versace family for legal and personal reasons when he was preparing to take part in the drama produced by Ryan Murphy.
"What this family went through was a horrible tragedy, and I would understand [not wanting to discuss it] if it had been my case to be contacted to talk about something that caused so much pain and was also infused with so much misrepresentation, prejudice and so much stigma and confusion" said Ramírez THR . "I was lucky to have people who were very close to Gianni to talk to me and open up to me, they were the ones who were very generous with me."
Ricky Martin, who plays Versace's longtime partner, Antonio D & # 39; Amico, spoke with the man he portrays and said he now has the designer among his friends. But before I spoke, I just wanted to get some justice for the Versace murder, a crime that says it should not even have happened in the first place.
"There is so much injustice," he said THR . "Why did we allow it to happen when this killer was in a carnage for weeks, killing homosexual men?" He was on the FBI's most wanted list, he was not hiding, "Why did it happen?" Just the fact that we are dealing with this level of ignorance frustrates me. "
As a homosexual, he wanted to tell the story not only of the homophobia that contributed to the death of Versace, but of the struggle he faced in his life.
the fact that someone as successful and powerful as Gianni Versace was struggling to come out was like giving me a break, "Martin said." That was in 1997, but now I know that in 2018, there are men and women who still They are struggling with this kind of fear, that their career will collapse if they come out. Everyone will hate them at home if they come. outside. It's sad. But it was important for me to express how unfair life is for some of us. I'm very lucky, but it's not good. Something must be done. "
Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story will premiere on Wednesday, January 17 at 10 p.m. on FX.