House of Gucci: Family hits out at 'insulting and painful' portrayal

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Image source, Courtesy of MGM Pictures Inc
Image caption,
Lady Gaga plays Patrizia Reggiani in House of Gucci

The heirs of Italian fashion house Gucci have criticised a new film for allegedly depicting members of the family as "hooligans".

House of Gucci stars Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani, who was convicted of having her former husband, fashion heir Maurizio Gucci, assassinated in 1995.

The family has taken aim at the film in a letter first published by Italy's ANSA news agency and seen by the BBC.

Director Ridley Scott has been contacted for comment.

'Ignorant and insensitive'

In their statement, the family said they were portrayed as "ignorant" in the film, which stars Adam Driver as Maurizio Gucci alongside Jared Leto and Al Pacino as other members of the family.

"The Gucci family reserve the right to take every initiative to protect their name and image, and those of their loved ones," the letter read.

They added that Aldo Gucci (played by Pacino), who was company chairman from 1953 to 1986, and other relatives were portrayed "as thugs, ignorant and insensitive to the world around them, attributing to the protagonists [and] events, a tone and an attitude that never belonged to them.

"This is extremely painful from a human point of view and an insult to the legacy on which the brand is built today."

Media caption,
Watch: Lady Gaga reveals how she used her PTSD in new role

The family stated that they were particularly offended by the depiction of Reggiani, who they said "is portrayed not just in the film, but also in statements from cast members, as a victim trying to survive in a male and male chauvinist corporate culture".

"This couldn't be further from the truth," the statement continued, with the family describing the business when they were at the helm as being "an inclusive company".

The Gucci family have not themselves been connected to the fashion house since the 1990s. The luxury brand is currently owned by the French group Kering.

No legal action is currently being taken by the family against the film and its producers.

Scott, speaking on BBC Radio 4 last week, dismissed previous criticism made by Patrizia Gucci, Maurizio's second cousin, when she recently spoke to the Associated Press on behalf of the family.

She accused the director of "stealing the identity of a family to make a profit".

"I don't engage with that," Scott told the Today programme.

"You have to remember that one Gucci was murdered and another [Aldo] went to jail for tax evasion, so you can't be talking to me about making a profit. As soon as you do that you become part of the public domain."

Image source, Courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures Inc.
Image caption,
Gaga alongside Adam Driver, who plays Maurizio Gucci

In an interview earlier this year, Reggiani herself gave Gaga - who channelled her own Italian ancestry for the role - the thumbs up, describing her as a genius. However she later said she was "annoyed" that the actress had not contacted her to meet her, out of "respect".

The producers later said they didn't want the pair to meet as they were "aware of not wanting to endorse or support the awful crime".

The film, which has received mixed reviews from critics, premiered in the UK earlier this month and will be released in Italy on 16 December.

The movie, which also stars Jeremy Irons and Salma Hayek, is based on the 2001 book The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour and Greed by Sara Gay Forden.