Versace Family Distances Themselves From the Latest Season of American Crime Story

They call it a "work of fiction."

American Crime Story is the soapy Ryan Murphy vehicle dramatizing some of the most mesmerizing true crime stories of the last century. The current season of American Crime Story, which premieres January 17th, centres on the motiveless murder of designer Gianni Versace, who was killed in 1997 on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion. Donatella Versace is being played by Penelope Cruz, while Ricky Martin fills the role of Gianni’s long-time lover, Antonio D’Amico, who received a $31,000 monthly pension after the designer’s death.

The Versace family has released two consecutive statements distancing themselves from the story’s depiction in television show, which they describe 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,” the statement reads. “Orth…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.”

One example is that Orth speculates on Gianni Versace’s medical condition based on information from a person who claims to have reviewed post-mortem test results. The statement responds, “In making her lurid claims, [Orth] 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.”

While the veracity of the TV show may be up for debate, there is no doubt American Crime Story will be an irresistibly campy watch. It airs on F/X at 10pm, premiering January 17th.