It’s hard to watch The Act and not feel sympathy for Gypsy Rose Blanchard, the girl at the center of a tragic true crime story. But if you think that watching The Act actually helps support Gypsy in real life, you’d be wrong. When you buy someone’s life story rights to turn their experiences into a movie, TV show, or book, money is exchanged. But in the case of the Hulu show, that isn’t what happened. Instead of working with the family, Michelle Dean, the co-creator of The Act, is basing the series off the viral Buzzfeed article she wrote. According to Gypsy’s family, there was originally an agreement in place — but it wasn’t honored.
According to Kristy Blanchard, Gypsy’s step-mom who’s spoken with In Touch before, Dean had initially promised the family that she would share proceeds from the show with them. But as the show got further and further into production, the Blanchards were cut out — and cut off financially. “Michelle had told me, ‘Whatever I make, [we’re] cutting it 50/50 so y’all can put [it] aside for Gypsy,'” Kristy told In Touch. “I did not ask her that. … She voluntarily told me that. I was not expecting to get anything from it. Just [for her to] tell the truth.”
Since the show started airing, Kristy has debunked several of the storylines to In Touch, breaking down what parts of the show aren’t shown as they happened in real life. Fancy Macelli, a friend of the family and the writer working on By Proxy, the only official story based on Gypsy’s life, has pointed out inaccuracies as well. Though she confirms that none of the Blanchards are making money from The Act, she emphasizes that’s not the issue they have with the show.
“I don’t want anyone to think … ‘They’re just mad because Michelle cut them out of money,'” Macelli told In Touch. Macelli, who originally offered to partner with Dean, is also not making any money from the show. For Gypsy’s family and the people working with her, money is beside the point. “It wasn’t [about] money for us,” Kristy said. “It was the truth. … That’s all we wanted. And she had to even mess that up.”
Michelle Dean has not yet responded to In Touch‘s request for comment.
Have a tip? Send it to us! Email In Touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.