Film producer and studio executive Jill Messick has died of suicide, NBC confirmed via a statement from her family. The 50-year-old took her life after a long battle with depression and bipolar disorder.
Messick was an executive with Miramax and Lorne Michaels Productions. She notably acted as Rose McGowan’s manager in January 1997, at the time of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assault of the “Charmed” actress at the Sundance Film Festival.
Messick recently became embroiled in the controversy when Weinstein and his legal team, who have denied McGowan’s claims, made the contents of an email he received from Messick public in an effort to further refute the actress’ account.
Messick had emailed Weinstein her own account of the Sundance incident. In Messick’s version of the events, which Weinstein’s attorney released to Deadline in January, Messick said McGowan was “very clear” that she consensually entered a hot tub with Weinstein and regretted doing so in hindsight.
In a statement obtained by NBC, Messick’s family said their loved one sent the email at Weinstein’s request, months before dozens of actresses came forward with assault claims against him. The family also says that the email was released without her consent.
The statement also claims that Messick “recognized that Harvey had done something untoward to Rose, if not illegal” and subsequently reported the incident to the partners at Addis-Wechsler (now Industry Entertainment), the management company at which she worked. By their account, Messick believed the matter was settled and was not aware of further details until McGowan made them public.
“Jill was victimized by our new culture of unlimited information sharing and a willingness to accept statement as fact,” her family wrote. “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.”
“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,” her family continued.
The producer’s family said she “chose to remain silent in the face of Rose’s slanderous statements against her” for fear of undermining the Me Too movement. “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 read.
When contacted by Access about the suicide, Weinstein reps had no comment. Access has also reached out to McGowan for comment.
Before her death, Messick worked as an executive producer on many hit Hollywood films, including “Mean Girls,” “Frida” and “Baby Mama.” She is survived by her partner, Dan Schuck, and her two children.
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