Family blames movie executive’s suicide on Weinstein scandal
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jill Messick, who served as a producer on films such as “Frida” and “Baby Mama,” has taken her own life, her family said in a statement Thursday. The mother of two died Wednesday in Los Angeles. She was 50.
Messick had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and struggled with depression for years, the family said. But added that she also had been distraught from the recent spotlight on her after details emerged on alleged sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein, saying she “became collateral damage in an already horrific story.”
Actress Rose McGowan says Weinstein raped her at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997. She recently said that Messick, who was her manager at the time, failed to support her fight against Weinstein and then took a job with him.
Messick’s family says McGowan reported the incident to her without calling it rape, but that Messick, realizing something inappropriate if not illegal had happened, reported it to her senior bosses months before she went to work under Weinstein at Miramax.
Weinstein’s lawyers quoted from an email from Messick to defend him last month. The email said that McGowan told Messick she consensually got into a hot tub with Weinstein and later regretted it. Weinstein has denied the rape allegations.
The family said Messick chose not to come forward and defend herself for fear of undermining other women from coming forward on the issue.
“She opted not to add to the feeding frenzy, allowing her name and her reputation to be sullied despite having done nothing wrong,” the statement said.
But she suffered nonetheless in silence, the family said.
“Seeing her name in headlines again and again ... along with Harvey’s desperate attempt to vindicate himself, was devastating for her,” the statement said.
After-hours messages left with representatives seeking comment from Weinstein and McGowan were not immediately returned.