Veteran studio executive and producer Jill Messick, the ex-manager of Rose McGowan who found herself caught in the fight between McGowan and Harvey Weinstein, has committed suicide. She was 50.
Messick’s family said in a statement she was “broken” by seeing her name in the news surrounding McGowan’s accusation that Weinstein raped her. Last month, Weinstein’s team included a quote from her from last year that supported Weinstein’s argument that his involvement with McGowan was consensual.
“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,” her family said in a statement. “Today she did not survive. Jill took her own life.”
“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,” the statement continued. “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.”
The statement also said she 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.”
Messick worked as an executive producer on Relativity’s comedy “Masterminds,” Universal’s 2008 film “Baby Mama” and the 2007 comedy “Hot Rod.” She also served as an executive producer on the NBC series “Bad Judge.” Jill also served as an executive at the Paramount-based Lorne Michaels Productions. Her most recent film project is the upcoming Warner Bros. adaptation of “Minecraft” with Steve Carell.
Messick was a production executive at Weinstein’s Miramax from 1997 to 2003, where she also served as a co-executive producer on the 1999 film “She’s All That.” She was also part of the 2002 Oscar-winning film “Frida.” She was McGowan’s manager in 1997, the year McGowan says she was raped by Weinstein.
Last month, Weinstein used quotes attributed to Messick that supported his version of the events at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. McGowan said she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein in his hotel room in Park City, Utah, during 1997’s Sundance Film Festival.
The family’s statement said that in January of 1997, Messick was an entry-level manager at Addis Wechsler, where one of her first clients was Rose McGowan. Her duty was to set up a breakfast with Weinstein at Sundance, and after hearing about Rose’s encounter with the movie mogul, she went to her bosses to insist the situation be addressed, the family said.
“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,” the statement said.
Messick was born on July 27, 1967. She began her career in the entertainment industry as the director or development for Woods Entertainment, where she was a champion for Kevin Williamson’s spec script, “Scream.” She also championed M. Night Shyamalan’s script “Wide Awake,” which was his U.S. feature directorial debut.
She is survived by two children, Jackson and Ava, and their father, Kevin Messick, as well as her brother and her partner Dan Schuck.
A representative for Weinstein didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. TheWrap reached out to McGowan for comment.