Veteran studio executive and producer Jill Messick died by suicide on Wednesday after battling depression for many years, her family tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Messick, who worked at Miramax as a production executive from 1997 to 2003, also served as Rose McGowan's manager in January 1997, which is when McGowan claimed that she was raped by Harvey Weinstein.
In a statement following her death, her family says Messick was "victimized" after becoming embroiled in the Weinstein-McGowan allegations. Her name made headlines when Weinstein's attorney, Ben Brafman, released an email in January attributed to Messick in defense of his client.
Messick's family's full statement is below.
“The Movement” just lost one of its own.
Jill Messick was a mother of two children, a loving wife and partner, a dear friend to many and a smart entertainment executive. She was also a survivor, privately battling depression which had been her nemesis for years.
Today she did not survive. Jill took her own life.
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.
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.
Over the past few months, many women have come out with allegations against Harvey Weinstein, including Rose McGowan, who has repeatedly spoken with the press, striking out against not only her alleged attacker, but a great many others. One of them was Jill, who chose to remain silent in the face of Rose’s slanderous statements against her for fear of undermining the many individuals who came forward in truth. She opted not to add to the feeding frenzy, allowing her name and her reputation to be sullied despite having done nothing wrong. She never chose to be a public figure, that choice was taken away from her.
Now that Jill can no longer speak for herself, it’s time to set the record straight.
Women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault
Women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault
Kadian Noble, has filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein in New York federal court accusing the movie producer of sex trafficking by inviting her to a hotel room in France and sexually assaulting her.
Paz de la Huerta, who stars on HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire,' claims Harvey Weinstein raped her on two separate occasions in 2010: "I was in no state. I was so terrified of him," she told Vanity Fair. "I did say no, and when he was on top of me, I said, 'I don't want to do this' ... It was disgusting. He's like a pig."
British actress Lysette Anthony has publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of raping her in her home in the late 1980s.
Amber Anderson said Harvey Weinstein 'behaved inappropriately' and bragged about other actresses he had 'helped' in exchange for sexual favors.
Natassia Malthe has accused Weinstein of raping her in a hotel room. On a separate occasion, after she was assured that Weinstein would not come onto her, she was allegedly escorted to Weinstein's hotel room by an assistant. In the room was another woman, who performed oral sex on Weinstein whil he asked Malthe to join.
Lupita Nyong'o wrote a detailed essay for the New York Times recounting multiple incidents with Weinstein, including an evening during which he asked her to give him a nude massage while his family was in the same home.
Marisa Coughlan said that she planned to meet Weinstein for a meeting at his hotel. Instead, he requested a massage.
Heather Graham said Weinstein told her he had an agreement with his wife that allowed him to sleep with whomever he wants. He then asked him to meet her to discuss a film project at his hotel, falsely telling her that her friend would also be present. She declined.
French actress Judith Godreche has accused Weinstein of inappropriately pressing up against her, trying to remove her sweater and asking for a massage.
Lauren Holly said that during a seemingly normal meeting with Weinstein to discuss a project, he began disrobing, got into the shower, and went to the bathroom while continuing to converse with her. He then allegedly asked her for a massage. She fled.
Angie Everhart said that she was sleeping in her own cabin on a yacht when Harvey Weinstein entered, blocked the door and began masturbating. He told her not to tell anyone, but she "told everyone," including many actors and producers. In response, most told her that it was just Harvey being Harvey. In an interview with TMZ, she emphasized that anyone in the industry who knew Harvey at all knew that he regularly did things like what he allegedly did to her.
Kate Beckinsale has accused Harvey Weinstein of coming onto her in his hotel room when she was 17 years old.
Tara Subkoff said that in the 1990s, on the same day that she was offered a major movie role, she met Harvey Weinstein at a party. He allegedly made her sit on his lap while he had an erection. He then told her that if he did not do certain sexual things, she would not get the role that she'd already been offered. She declined. Afterward, she said, her "reputation was ruined by false gossip" and she found it near impossible to book roles.
Minka Kelly said that Harvey Weinstein offered her a lavish lifestyle in exchange for being his extramarital girlfriend. She declined.
Gwyneth Paltrow told the New York Times that Harvey Weinstein asked her for a massage in his hotel suite. After she told then-boyfriend Brad Pitt, Pitt confronted him, leading Weinstein to contact Paltrow and "scream" at her, she said.
Asia Argento has accused Weinstein of raping her in his hotel room when she was 21. She first reluctantly agreed to give him a massage, and then he forcibly performed oral sex on her. During subsequent encounters, she had consensual sexual relations with him due to fear that he would otherwise ruin her career.
Rose McGowan has publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of rape. In October 2016, she tweeted reference to a studio head raping her. In October 2017, in a tweet to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, McGowan referred to Weinstein by name while repeating her rape accusation. The alleged incident took place in the 1990s and resulted in a financial settlement.
Cara Delevingne has accused Harvey Weinstein of attempting to coerce her into kissing another woman in his hotel room. She had just begun her acting career and believed they were meeting just to finalize talks for a film role.
Angelina Jolie said she had a "bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth" and refused to work with him subsequently.
Jessica Barth has accused Harvey Weinstein of demanding that she get naked and give him a massage.
Emma de Caunes has accused Harvey Weinstein of unexpectedly getting naked and demanding that she lie down as other women had supposedly done before her.
Lauren Sivan has accused Harvey Weinstein of cornering her in a public space and masturbating to completion in front of her.
Mira Sorvino, seen here at a Weinstein Co. event in January 2017, said that after refusing Harvey Weinstein's advances, he dissuaded others in the industry from hiring her.
Ambra Battilana has accused Harvey Weinstein of groping her breasts and reaching under her skirt. She went to the NYPD and then conducted a sting operation, the audio of which was published by the New Yorker. In the audio, Weinstein can be heard attempting to coerce her to enter his hotel room.
Louisette Geiss has accused Harvey Weinstein of luring her to his hotel room after assuring her he wouldn't hit on her. He then disrobed and repeatedly asked her to watch him masturbate, telling her he would produce her screenplay if she did.
Emily Nestor (far right), a former Weinstein Co. employee, has accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.
Rosanna Arquette has accused Harvey Weinstein of dissuading others from hiring her after she rejected his sexual advances.
Rose McGowan has publicly accused Weinstein of sexual harassment. She has also accused others in the industry of knowing of Weinstein's misconduct and either actively or passively hiding it.
Ashley Judd has publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of asking her for a massage and then asking her to watch him shower.
Florence Darel has accused Harvey Weinstein of coming onto her in a hotel suite in 1996 while his wife was in the room next door.
Zoe Brock (left, in 2004) has accused Weinstein of getting naked and chasing her around a hotel room after she refused to give him a massage.
Katherine Kendall (right, in 2006) has accused Harvey Weinstein of disrobing and asking for a massage in his apartment after a movie screening, telling her that "everybody does it." He then asked her to at least show him her breasts, which she refused.
Romola Garai has accused Harvey Weinstein of making her feel "violated" when he watched her audition wearing only a bathrobe in his hotel room.
Lea Seydoux has accused Harvey Weinstein of forcibly trying to kiss her on the lips in 2012.
Claire Forlani said she "escaped" Harvey Weinstein on five occasions. He allegedly told her about all the actresses he had slept with and how he had in turn established their careers. He also attempted to get her to give him a massage.
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In January 1997, Jill was an entry level manager at Addis Wechsler. One of her first clients was Rose McGowan, and one of Jill’s first duties was to set up a breakfast meeting with Harvey Weinstein during the Sundance Film Festival. Following the meeting, Rose told Jill what had happened – that she made the decision to remove her clothes and get in the hot tub with him -- a mistake which Rose immediately regretted. Rose never once used the word rape in that conversation. Despite this, Jill recognized that Harvey had done something untoward to Rose, if not illegal. She immediately went to her bosses, the partners of Addis Wechsler, to recount Rose’s story and to insist that they immediately address the situation. They told Jill that they would handle the situation. The ensuing arrangements between Rose and Harvey were then negotiated, completely without Jill’s knowledge. At that time, all Jill knew was that the matter was settled and that Rose continued making films with the Weinsteins. She never knew any details until recently, when Rose elected to make them public.
Ten months later, in November of 1997, Jill received a call from the Miramax exec VP of production, recruiting her for a job as an executive at Miramax Films working in production in Los Angeles. Jill was hired based on merit and her excellent work of over two years as a young development executive working with Woods Entertainment, (prior to her time at Addis Wechsler).
Rose’s most recent round of press to promote her book have included new stories involving Jill. The constant press attention Rose has garnered in print and on National TV led to Harvey Weinstein releasing two documents. One of these was an email which Jill wrote to him months prior to the first NY Times piece coming out, and at his request. In this e-mail, Jill offered the truth based on what she remembers Rose telling her about the Sundance account. In the face of Rose’s continued and embellished accusations last week, Harvey took it upon himself to release the e-mail without her consent.
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. 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.
Hers is one of the only stories that has stayed consistent over time as we watch other media reported tales morph to beget further attention.
While journalists serve an important role in exposing predatory behavior, we are seeing irresponsible choices and an addiction to sensationalism which leads to inconsistent storytelling. The media is a powerful tool not to be taken lightly. Most individuals would be horrified to have their name spotlighted in a major international news story – let alone their photograph. We cannot forget that the media is a fearsome tool which cannot be used indiscriminately or even inadvertently to create further victims.
There is a responsibility when using a platform to accurately expose criminals, predators, mistruths and misdeeds while protecting the actual truth of third parties.
As we collectively seek to take action in an effort to right the wrongs so brazenly and inhumanely repeated for a generation, we must not forget one simple truth: words have power. While we illuminate the dark corners for hidden truths, we must remember that what we say, particularly in the media, can have just as much impact if not more than our actions. We must ask more of ourselves, and of each other. We must take a moment to consider the ramifications and consequences of what we say and what we do.
Someone’s life may depend on it.
Rose McGowan out and about
Rose McGowan out and about
US actress Rose McGowan gives opening remarks to the audience at the Women's March / Women's Convention in Detroit, Michigan, on October 27, 2017.
A stream of actress including Rose McGowan, models and ex-employees have come out, many anonymously, to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and abuse dating as far back as the 1990s. / AFP PHOTO / RENA LAVERTY (Photo credit should read RENA LAVERTY/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Actress Rose McGowan attends the Mercy For Animals' Annual Hidden Heroes Gala at Vibiana on September 23, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 09: Actor Rose McGowan attends the screening of 'Lady in the Dark' during the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival on April 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. 26657_006 (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for TCM)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 25: Rose McGowan attends KYGO 'Stole The Show' documentary film premiere at The Metrograph on July 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Recording artist Boots (L) and actress Rose McGowan attend the 59th GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Actress Rose McGowan attends the 'Filmstruck' launch event at 404 NYC on October 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Turner)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Rose McGowan attends Sexy Beast for Planned Parenthood LA at The Theatre At The Ace Hotel on September 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22: Actress Rose McGowan attends 'SHOT! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra Of Rock' Screening during 2016 Tribeca Film Festival on April 22, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Actress Rose McGowan attends Housing Works Design On A Dime Opening Night Reception at Metropolitan Pavilion on April 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Housing Works)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 15: Actors Rachael Leigh Cook (L) and Rose McGowan attend CHANEL Tribeca Film Festival Women's Filmmaker Luncheon on April 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage )
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 04: Actress Rose McGowan attends the New York Academy Of Art's Tribeca Ball 2016 on April 4, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 31: Actress Rose McGowan attends the premiere of 'Confirmation' at Paramount Theater on the Paramount Studios lot on March 31, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 16: Rose McGowan attends the Miu Miu Tales 11 screening event during New York Fashion Week at EN Japanese Brasserie on February 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 04: Actress Rose McGowan attends The Powerpuff Girls x Moschino Launch Event at Moschino Store on February 4, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. Moschino PPG Event. 25923_001. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Turner)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actress Rose McGowan attends The Second Annual Horizon Awards on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for The Second Annual Horizon Awards)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actress Rose McGowan attends the Lena Dunham and Planned Parenthood Host Sex, Politics & Film Cocktail Reception at The Spur on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actress Rose McGowan attends Tangerine Entertainment Celebrates Women Filmmakers hosted by Writer/Director Rose McGowan at Photage Film Lounge on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - DECEMBER 05: Actress Rose McGowan attends the Soho Beach House tent closing party with Rhonda International, Lisa Solberg's Mister Lee's Shangri La & Bombay Sapphire at Soho Beach House on December 5, 2015 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images For Soho House & Co)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - DECEMBER 02: Rose McGowan attends Celebration for Francesco Vezzoli's Ossessione Vezzoli at Nautilus Hotel on December 2, 2015 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Venturelli/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04: Rose McGowan attends the 53rd New York Film Festival 'NYFF Live' at Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center on October 4, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)
Rose McGowan attends the '2015 New York City Ballet Fall Gala' at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City. ?? LAN (Photo by Lars Niki/Corbis via Getty Images)