A really terrible Hollywood tragedy today: Jill Messick, formerly Rose McGowan’s manager and also an executive producer of several Miramax movies, committed suicide at age 50. She had battled depression for a long time, and was caught in the crossfire in the Harvey Weinstein-McGowan scandal.
Messick executive produced both “She’s All That” and “Frida” at Miramax. But just prior to that she’d been McGowan’s manager, credited with sending her to Weinstein’s suite in Sundance in 1997. It was there that McGowan said she was raped after getting into Weinstein’s hot tub.
Less than ten days ago, on January 30th, Weinstein’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, offered an email Messick had sent regarding this episode. It seemed to exonerate Weinstein and caused a furor. Brafman said: “In an email to Mr. Weinstein regarding the encounter, Jill Messick says the following, “When we met up the following day, she hesitantly told me of her own accord that during the meeting that night before she had gotten into a hot tub with Mr. Weinstein. She was very clear about the fact that getting into that hot tub was something that she did consensually and that in hindsight it was also something that she regretted having done.”
Messick’s family now says the reveal of the email, and the ensuing bad publicity, was the last straw for her. This is tragic. They wrote in a statement: “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.”
“Five years ago, Jill suffered a manic episode. Anyone familiar with bipolar disorder knows that it is a cruel and vicious disease. With the help of doctors, her family and friends, Jill rebounded. Jill had fought to put her life back together. After a long job search, she was in negotiations to run the production division for a new entertainment company.
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.”
Condolences to her family.