Hollywood studio executive and producer Jill Messick, who suffered from bipolar disorder, committed suicide this week, her family reported, citing Harvey Weinstein and one of his alleged victims, Rose McGowan, as contributing factors in the tragedy. Messick was 50.
Messick, who was married and had two children, killed herself in Los Angeles Wednesday. The method she used was not reported.
A family statement revealed that “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.”
The family said that for Messick, depression “had been her nemesis for years.” The statement also took aim at Weinstein and McGowan, saying Messick had become “collateral damage” in the movement that emerged after allegations of sexual misconduct by Weinstein were reported.
“The Movement” just lost one of its own, began the family statement.
Messick was McGowan’s manager in 1997 when, the actress says, she was raped by Weinstein.
In January, Weinstein’s lawyer published emails from Messick and Ben Affleck and said they proved McGowan’s accusations were a “performance.” McGowan responded on Twitter that her managers, publicists and assistants were all complicit in what had happened to her, according to The Times.
“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,” said the family statement. “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.”
McGowan was one of Messick’s first clients when she was an entry-level manager at Addis Wechsler, according to the family. It was during that period that, at the Sundance Film Festival, McGowan had a sexual episode with Weinstein that she later claimed had been a case of rape, the family statement said. Messick allegedly reported the sexual episode to her managers and insisted they address it.
“The ensuing arrangements between Rose and Harvey were then negotiated, completely without Jill’s knowledge,” according to The family. “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.”
Messick executive-produced films including “Baby Mama,” “Mean Girls,” “Hot Rod” and “She’s All That,” The Los Angeles Times reported.
Tina Fey, the writer of “Mean Girls,” told Deadline that Messick was “instrumental in helping “Mean Girls” get to the screen. She was a fiercely dedicated producer and a kind person.”
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office reported, meanwhile, that the Los Angeles Police Department submitted three potential sexual assault cases against Weinstein to prosecutors on Feb. 1 for consideration of possible charges. The D.A.’s Office is also believed to be reviewing two other possible cases previously submitted by the Beverly Hills Police Department.
Weinstein, who has been accused by dozens of women of sexual misconduct or assault, is also being investigated by police in New York and London. He has repeatedly denied having any non-consensual sex.
—City News Service
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