Jill Messick, a longtime studio executive, producer and manager, reportedly has committed suicide at age 50. She was once the manager of actress Rose McGowan, who recently found herself in the middle of a very public battle with disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Messick’s family confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter along with a lengthy statement. They noted that Messick took her own life on Feb. 8 amid a longtime battle with depression and bipolar disorder.
She had worked as McGowan’s manager in 1997 during the time the actress claimed Weinstein raped her. Recently, Weinstein’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, released to the public an email Messick sent him, allegedly without her permission. In the email she recalled her account of the events, which Weinstein's lawyer used as a defense to the public.
Messick's family noted that she sent the email upon request prior to The New York Times exposé that led to dozens of women coming forward with similar stories of sexual misconduct involving Weinstein.
“Jill was victimized by our new culture of unlimited information sharing and a willingness to accept statement as fact. The speed of disseminating information has carried mistruths about Jill as a person, which she was unable and unwilling to challenge. She became collateral damage in an already horrific story,” the family wrote in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “Jill believed in the Movement. She supported every woman finally coming forward to share their dark truths and expose those who had committed previously unspeakable deeds. She was loyal. She was strong. Jill was many things, but she was not a liar.”
Messick is survived by her two children, their father, her father, her brother and her partner. Her work as a producer has included “Masterminds,” “Baby Mama,” “Hot Rod,” “Mean Girls” and much more.
McGowan recently made claims in her book, "Brave," that her manager at the time of her alleged rape did little to help her, a claim her family denied.
At the time, her family explained that Messick, then a junior at her company, was among the first to bring McGowan’s story to her superiors. From there, Messick was not privy to McGowan and Weinstein’s negotiations and further discussion of the matter, according to the family's statement.
“Seeing her name in headlines again and again, as part of one person’s attempt to gain more attention for her personal cause, along with Harvey’s desperate attempt to vindicate himself, was devastating for her. It broke Jill, who was just starting to get her life back on track,” Messick's family said. “What makes Rose’s inaccurate accusations and insinuations against Jill ironic was that she was the first person who stood up on Rose’s behalf, and alerted her bosses to the horrific experience which Rose suffered. Twenty years ago, as a very junior person in a management company hierarchy, Jill exhibited her integrity in doing the right thing – she raised the red flag with the heads of her firm. In the face of inappropriate behavior, Jill handled the situation appropriately.”