Ryan Murphy:  Versace’s killer got away with it due to homophobia


The cast of Ryan Murphy’s latest TV project, American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace graces the cover of this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly. Inside the magazine are photos of the show’s cast in character. The photos were taken at Versace’s actual former home in Miami. In recalling the photo shoot, Penelope Cruz, who plays Donatella Versace, said the experience was “very moving, sometimes disturbing.”

The pictures prove that the casting for this project was spot-on. In addition to Penelope, you can see Edgar Ramirez as the late fashion designer, Darren Criss as killer Andrew Cunanan and Ricky Martin as Versace’s longtime partner, model Antonio D’Amico. Oh, Ricky Martin…let’s all take a moment to drink this in…


Okay, I’m back. Inside the magazine, Ryan says that the issues surrounding the murder, primarily sexuality and homophobia, are just as relevant today as they were back in 1997, when the crime was committed.

The more I had read about it the more I was startled by the fact that [Versace killer Andrew Cunanan] really was only allowed to get away with it because of homophobia. There was this great apathy about it and nobody cared and I think part of that was because it seemed like gay people were disposable in our culture.

Ryan, who had hinted that the next season of American Horror Story would deal with the 2016 election, says that Versace’s tale is also very relevant in our current tense political climate regarding issues in the LGBTQ community:

I think it does open a discussion and I think it’s the perfect timing based on this president we have. One of the reasons I wanted to do this was I felt that Obama was a president who I revered. He was my president. I felt there was so much progress in terms of gay rights and rights for any marginalized group of people. Suddenly, it felt like Trump is inaugurated and the door closed and there’s fear again and they’re trying to take away everything that we fought for for so long. This is a bracing cold slap against the policies that the current government has. We celebrate gay people and gay creativity. So I think it’s the perfect time to put that on.

[From Entertainment Weekly]

This new season of American Crime Story isn’t slated to debut for months (it’s looking like sometime early in 2018), and I don’t know if I’ll be able to wait. Ryan’s been putting out some quality work (well, with the exception of Scream Queens) and I cannot wait to see this one.


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93 Responses to “Ryan Murphy:  Versace’s killer got away with it due to homophobia”

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  1. Jeesie says:

    God he looks so much like Gianni it’s crazy.

    Also never would have guessed that was Penelope.

    • Char says:

      I think Penelope still needs an extra tan to play Donatella, but the cast looks sooooo good.

    • Wren33 says:

      I really, really thought that was Holly Madison.

      • Char says:

        That’s who it looks like! I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I thought It looked a little like Ashlee Simpson, but Holly Madison is spot on. I never would have guessed Penelope Cruz.

      • GR says:

        She either looks like Holly Madison or the actress who plays Darlene on Mr Robot.

    • xflare says:

      And I would never have guessed that was supposed to be Donatelle …. lol

  2. third ginger says:

    The casting looks perfect. Can’t wait to see it.

  3. SM says:

    I can’t wait to see it. I was so excited to see this photoshoot, I sort of assumed that the series would come out soon, like by the end of summer.

  4. Singtress says:

    I don’t understand what he means with: “he got away with it”. ????
    Versace was surprised outside his home.
    Cunanan was then aggressively hunted down by the police and surrounded until he took his own life.
    So, while that may not have been a “bad” outcome given the crimes… I don’t understand what he got away with.

    • QueenElisabeth says:

      I was kind of confused by that too…

    • LAK says:


      Even if i don’t remember the events, the BBC aired a documentary a few years ago that showed that the killer was aggressively hunted down and surrounded before he killed himself within 9days of killing Gianni.

      What i found interesting was that the killer had been on a multiple state killing spree lasting 3mths, and Gianni was the latest in a long line of victims.

      By the time he killed Gianni, he had already been placed on the FBI’s most wanted list.

    • Scal says:

      I think he means the crimes leading up to the Versace shooting. Cunanan had killed several other gay men across the country for months before he got to Florida and no one seemed to care about that at the time until the 3rd or 4th victim and then the FBI got involved.

      It wasn’t until he killed someone famous that the manhunt began and police got involved.

      • TeamPoochie says:

        Cunanan killed his first two victims in Minnesota in a very short span of time, and by the time Cunanan got on the BCA’s radar he had already killed Lee Miglin in Chicago and then it became an FBI issue and he went on the Most Wanted list immediately.
        I work with law enforcement in Minnesota and it was a VERY BIG deal from the get go. I remember it like it was yesterday.

      • Jegede says:

        @TeamPoochie – Thanks for that.

        I remember reading that there were already quite a few wanted signs for Cunanan, pre-Verscae killing.

      • Tourmaline says:

        Thanks @TeamPoochie—Minnesota person here as well and I yep remember the story well from when it happened—it was very freaky, Cunanan’s friend Jeffrey Trail left rolled up in a rug in David Madson’s Minneapolis loft and then Madson found days later shot on a lakeshore. And then Cunanan was off to Chicago to continue his spree.

      • ol cranky says:

        I was living in Chicago at the time and I traveled a lot for work, there was a lot of coverage of Cunanan’s spree and it was not limited to the Chicago area

        Murphy doesn’t know what he’s talking about

      • Ash says:

        I was living in the Chicago at that time too. The killings and FBI pursuit were all over the newscasts.

      • HEAVE HO says:

        I was living in MN at the time Cunanan went on his killing spree and for several years after. A friend moved into the building in Minneapolis where the first killing took place. There was a $50/month murder discount on the apartment it happened in. I don’t know if that’s still the case. Also, when all that went down that song “I am barely breathing” by Duncan Shiek was on the radio constantly, and I still connect the lyrics to Cunanan. 🙁

    • Alex says:

      Agreed. Milk’s killer got away with it by using the Twinkie defense. That was outrageous. This guy killed himself to avoid prison. Not the same thing

      • third ginger says:

        Alex, just a note on the so-called Twinky defense. This was coined by a journalist. Twinkies were never mentioned at the trial. The defense was diminished capacity, but because diet was mentioned, the term stuck. White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter [outrage, of course] He later committed suicide. I do not mean to be argumentative. I am glad you brought up Harvey Milk. I’m 64, and my daughter is gay. Milk is a true hero of mine.

      • Alex says:

        @third ginger I know the phrase was coined by a reporter. He basically got off though because that was clear murder 1. That was my point with the comparison. I hope that makes more sense.
        I wasn’t around for Milk either but I got to know him (through articles and stories) after Penn played him in Milk. With Pride coming up in NYC it happened to be on my mind. I’m sure he means a lot to the LGBTQIA community still. It’s sad that his ability to DO more was cut short

      • third ginger says:

        Alex, thank you for your nice response.

    • Mia4s says:

      I think he means before the killing. Cunanan killed several (non-famous) gay men before Versace. At least five older wealthy men were murdered by him in a period of about 3 months. He was a serial killer. He was definitely being hunted by law enforcement but maybe Murphy feels that more could have been done and wasn’t because it was gay man killing gay men. I don’t know enough of the details to have an opinion on whether that’s true.

      • Alex says:

        Ok that makes more sense. I wasn’t alive when this occurred so I only know that vague details.

      • Anon says:

        @Mia4s, I wasn’t aware of that! I was reading the other day that Gianni was into money laundering, that he was heavily involved with the Italian Mafia, and that was the reason he was killed.
        I’m sorry to hear other gay men died, but it’s a relief that Cunanan wasn’t hired by the mafia, or anything like that.

      • supersoft says:

        All of them Italien Designers deal heavily with the Mafia, always had, always will. And they are alive. So i thought Mafia as well, but why would they kill him if he brings in the money. The serial killer thing is a bit uncanny though.

    • Merritt says:

      I don’t get that part either. Unless Murphy is talking about the stupid mistakes the police and media made in chasing Cunanan after the other murders prior to Versace. On the recent Dateline about the case they talked about how crucial details were leaked to the media and that allowed Cunanan to to know which way the police were headed to find him.

    • EOA says:

      I think he must mean that Cunanin committed a series of spree killings prior to murdering Versace.

    • CynicalAnn says:

      I lived in Chicago at the time-it was a HUGE deal. I love Ryan Murphy-but, no.

      • Sigh... says:

        I live in Chicago and it was an ESPECIALLY HUGE deal on Oak Street (in the Gold Coast), since Miglin’s wealthy widow owned a spa there, near and among some of the very richest ppl in this city.

    • I understand where he’s coming from, but I don’t agree with it. The police were doing everything they could to find him, he just stayed one step ahead of them. He was a serial killer and he was also very, very smart.

      • Jegede says:


        There were ‘WANTED’ Cunanan signs people did not respond to until Versace’s murder.

        Cunanan also disguised himself remarkably well.

      • SW says:

        @Jegede yes, it’s overlooked that Cunanan was a bit of a chameleon in how he presented himself.

      • Tourmaline says:

        Agree with you all and another factor to remember was that this was 1997—cell phones were not at all common, satellite tracking, etc. there were less means at the disposal of law enforcement to track him. And Cunanan was pretty good at staying ahead of the police.

    • L84Tea says:

      Yeah, I didn’t understand the “he got away with it” comment either. I remember watching that news live and Cunanan was pretty swiftly identified and hunted down. He got away with nothing.

      • sarah says:

        @ L84Tea : I remember the story of the murder was all over the news and the manhunt for Cunanan was massive. ITA he got away with nothing.

    • holly hobby says:

      Yes I have forgotten the particulars of this case but now that you refreshed my memory, Cunnanan was hunted down by the police and he killed himself. There was no trial.

    • tback says:

      +1 … I remember a LOT of media attention around these murders & the subsequent manhunt. However, I do know that LGBTQ murder victims are often marginalized…so maybe he meant that generally, people are apathetic about crimes against LGBTQ victims? IDK. I can’t figure out what he meant.

  5. Plibersek says:

    Naomi Klein was right when she said the media is addicted to Trump.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      I think we’re all addicted to Trump. He has too much power and exercises it completely irresponsibly.

    • leopard says:

      Trump is one of the most gay friendly Republican ever.

      • still_sarah says:

        I think Trump is gay-friendly in a personal way (he invites gay friends to his rich-people fundraising galas and if they can afford the fees, they can of course be members at Mar-A-Lago) but he is not so gay-friendly when it comes to passing laws.

        OR were you just using irony and I missed it?

  6. Sarah says:

    Ricky is looking hot!

    • Snazzy says:

      Yes!! I came here to say the same! That man hasn’t aged a day

    • still_sarah says:

      Mercy!! I know the man is gay and has no interest in me whatsoever. But I would still hit it. Shake your bon-bon, Ricky!

      I am a chubby single woman in her fifties, so I guess I should go off and play bingo somewhere while wearing polyester now that I am finished making sexually suggestive remarks to a gay man (hangs head in shame).

  7. Scout says:

    I vividly remember the nationwide manhunt for Cunanan – it was the top story on 24 hour news. Hell, I even remember the police trade-off with him on the houseboat in a harbor. Had he not killed himself I have no doubt he’d, at the very least, be in prison for life. I wonder if they will highlight the other people Cunanan murdered or just reference it in passing?

    • SW says:

      Apparently Finn Wittrock is playing one of the other murdered men, so I imagine we’ll be seeing one more victim’s story (although not as in depth) at least.

    • Ramona says:

      It really was a huge story displaced from headlines a month later only by the other death we discussed yesterday, Dianas. The killer had also been on the Most Wanted list before Versace so I really dont know what Ryan Murphy is talking about in that headline.

      • MellyMel says:

        I think he’s saying the coverage of those earlier murders wasn’t seen as a huge priority in the media because the victims were gay men.

      • CynicalAnn says:

        @MellyMel-there was huge coverage of the earlier murders. I think Ryan Murphy is either confused or trying to drum up controversy to get the show talked about.

      • KiddVicious says:

        I live in California and the news coverage was pretty big, I remember being a little terrified that the next murder would be here. And this was pre-internet 24hr news availability, this was local news stations covering this.

        I remember when I heard Versace was murdered. I was so shocked. He was at the top of his game at this point, the designer to rock stars and the party crowd. He opened up high fashion to a lot of people who weren’t interested before.

      • holly hobby says:

        I think Ryan Murphy is trying to drum up talk about this new project with that statement. I don’t think he needed to. The story sells itself.

  8. Giulia says:

    It looks great and can’t wait to see it. Anything by Ryan Murphy is worth checking out to me. But I don’t understand what Murphy is referring to, that Cunanan got away with it. Cunanan was a serial killer across state lines and I think that always makes catching them much more difficult, if not impossible. Maybe Cunanan was already a suspect and authorities didn’t act on it until he murdered someone famous?

    • BJ says:

      There are certain groups of people whose murders are covered more by the media and seem to take a greater priority by law enforcement.Just like with missing person cases.After watching either a Dateline or 48 Hour special it was obvious these gay men murders was not a high priority IMO.

  9. BJ says:

    He is right almost nobody outside of the gay community cared about him killing gay men until he murdered a famous gay man.

  10. LooperFor says:

    Who’s looking at Ricky when Edgar Ramirez is there ?! 😛

  11. Maryanne Dillard says:

    What does he mean, “got away with it?”

  12. Mindy_dopple says:

    I did not know he was a serial killer before he got to Versace!! This makes the season so much better, I hope they mix in Versaces life the days or months prior and the victims the months prior, then it ends with his slaying and manhunt for the killer. I completely agree with his opinion that those previous murders weren’t made a high priority due to it being a oppressed “high risk” group. Look at the world today, certain kidnappings don’t make the news everyday.

  13. poorlittlerichgirl says:

    I think he means how Cunanan got away with all of his other victims before Gianni. He’s been considered a serial killer by many which I find completely accurate. There may not have been a real investigation into his other murders because the victims were gay. The police didn’t close in on him until he murdered Gianni and he put an end to it himself before the police got to him. I’ll never forget this case.

    • Liv says:

      But there was an ongoing manhunt before he killed Versace. As others have pointed out, he was on the FBIs Most Wanted which is a pretty big deal after only 3 murders. I dont mean to trivalise those murders but you must know that there are mob hitmen and gangbangers with more kills who dont make it on to a federal list. Ryan Murphy is rewriting history here.

      • poorlittlerichgirl says:

        You’re absolutely right! I had forgotten about that. You didn’t trivialize them at all. I completely understand what you meant.

  14. Tiana says:

    Why does that look absolutely nothing like Darren Criss? He’s a good looking man, why photoshop his face so much?

    • Beatrice says:

      As someone who has seen Criss in a lot, he does a lot of physical changes when he acts. If you look at his Glee character, he held his eyes open more and his jaw extremely lax. In Hedwig, he was able to change his face to fit the different characters.

      Or maybe it is photoshop.

  15. Cheeky squirrel says:

    This looks compelling to watch, but Maya Rudolph is my only Donatella 😊

  16. Jezza says:

    Ricky!! Ay papi!!!

  17. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    Got away with it? There was a huge manhunt. The killer, who was also gay, finally killed himself. Ryan, you’re not making sense to me.

  18. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    Ohhh, okay. Now I’m reading your comments. I’ll have to google. I didn’t realize he had been killing gay men & authorities didn’t care until it was someone rich. This sounds familiar though. How many serial killers kill loads of women & no one seems to care? I guess they think women & gay people are expendable.

    • Tourmaline says:

      Oh, the authorities sure did care–as I said above I’m in Minnesota and he killed two men here (Jeff Trail and David Madson) before going on to Chicago to kill another man (Lee Miglin), and then shooting that Civil War cemetary caretaker in NJ (William Reese) to steal his truck–it was a HUGE story at the time, huge FBI manhunt for literally months, they were already desperately trying to track him down when he got to Miami and killed Versace.

      A really good book about the case is Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth.

  19. CynicalAnn says:

    There was a huge manhunt for Cunahan prior to him getting to Miami. He had killed a very wealthy man (and potentially his lover) in Chicago. Maybe it was because I was living in Chicago at the time-but this was HUGE news-it was everywhere. There absolutely was a manhunt before he got to Versace. Also-from the pictures Darren Chris is making it look like Andrew Cunahan was some sort of nerd. That was not at all what he looked like in the photos at the time.

  20. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    I didn’t recognize Criss. Penelope is too pretty still to play sis. That actor looks strikingly like Gianni. Ricky Martin looks like himself & like he’s having tons of fun.

    • third ginger says:

      Edgar Ramirez, very sexy and handsome as himself, is a fine actor. Great casting and great role for him.

  21. JA says:

    Excited to watch and great casting but come on now…Donatella should be so happy they got Penelope Cruz to play her. Talk about upgrade… please have Salma Hayek play me! 🙂

  22. K says:

    Andrew Cunanan is half Filipino, and so is Darren Criss. I’m glad the movie folk casted his ethnicity correctly.

  23. Miss M says:

    I didn’t recognize Penelope Cruz!

  24. fiorucci says:

    Bad wig! I didn’t realize DV wore Wigs, actually she probably doesn’t. Penelope looks cute blonde. But it would have been nice to give this role to a less physically gorgeous actress. I see that their features match some what (big eyes straight nose full lips) but come on there are so many roles for a beauty like PC. Also I always thought of PC as tall ish and DV as quite petite.

    • jwoolman says:

      Take a look at Donatella’s younger pictures. Before extensive sun damage and plastic surgery, she was a very good looking woman.

  25. Abby says:

    Gah ricky martin is smoking hot. This looks really good. Might have to watch!

  26. vespernite says:

    Donatella must be thrilled that she is now actually pretty! She looks like a damn muppet in real life.

  27. Oh Joy! says:

    It was never actually proven that the known murderer singled out for the deed actually did it, many things did not add up. The Florida police were hell bent on finding someone to blame for such a high profile crime and wanted the slippery accused out of the way, so they made sure he couldn’t talk about it in a court of law. I was living in lake Como at the time , where Versace had a villa and the local gossip was that it was a Milan Mafia hit, they lent him money early on for a slice of his business and assorted favours, he was reneging on the agreement. The Milan Mafia were also the backers of Berlusconi when he first started out, he never failed to honour his debt when the brotherhood called.

  28. Dahlo says:

    What’s up with ricks rights toes?

  29. Lex says:

    Scream Queens was hilarious!

  30. Lily says:

    Edgar Ramirez is a great and chameleon actor. Must see “Carlos” of Oliver Assayas, his transformation is incredible. I hope he achieve the recognition he deserves. And he is very handsome and hot when he is not transformed for a role. Great cast.