As if the situation between Rose McGowan and Harvey Weinstein couldn’t get any more awful, we have this really awful news. The Hollywood Reporter says that Rose’s former manager (and later, former employee of Miramax) Jill Messick was found dead on Wednesday after taking her own life at the age of 50. According to a pretty heavy statement from her family, it sounds like they believe her death was related to Rose’s fight against Harvey.
Jill’s family says she died in Los Angeles after battling depression for a number of years. She’s survived by her two children, Jackson and Ava, their father, and her partner Dan Schuck.
Jill Messick was Rose’s manager in 1997, the same year Rose alleges that Harvey raped her at the Sundance Film Festival. Rose claims in her memoir, BRAVE, that she told Jill about the incident, and that Jill responded by leaving Rose and working at Miramax until 2003. Rose has also spoke about Jill’s involvement during interviews, like her appearance on The View last week. Jill allegedly told Harvey’s attorney Ben Brafman that anything that happened to Rose was believed to be consensual.
Her family didn’t pull any punches with the statement they released after her death. They say Jill was “victimized” in the press, and that she became “collateral damage in an already horrific story.” They also point a finger squarely at Rose for dragging Jill’s name around. You can read the full statement here, but here’s some of it:
“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…She never chose to be a public figure; that choice was taken away from her.”
They also attempted to explain Jill’s involvement in Rose’s Harvey Weinstein story. They say that after Rose’s encounter at Sundance with Harvey, she told Jill that she got into a hot tub with him, and that she didn’t really feel great about doing that. Jill’s family claim that Rose never used the word “rape” when talking about Harvey. Jill then allegedly went to her bosses at Addis Wechsler and asked them to address the situation between Rose and Harvey (a situation she didn’t understand to be of an illegal nature, just a gross, inappropriate one). All negotiations between Addis Wechsler, Rose, and Harvey were done without Jill’s involvement. Her family claims she only knew about Rose’s alleged rape when she publicly came forward with it. Ten months after Rose confided in her, Miramax recruited Jill for a job as an executive, and she took it.
As for why Jill never spoke up and told her side of Rose’s story, Jill’s family says she chose to remain silent for fear of undermining all the other women who have come forward with their own stories of abuse. Jill’s family add that not only was Jill upset at Rose for involving her, but at Harvey for having his attorney release her email about the situation without her consent. They end by saying that “words matter” and that “someone’s life may depend on it.”
Rose is taking a break right now, so it’s probably safe to assume she won’t be talking about this any time soon. Other famous people have released condolences regarding Jill, like Tina Fey, who worked with Jill on Mean Girls.
Tina Fey remembers Jill Messick: "This is very sad news and my heart goes out to her family. Jill was instrumental in helping Mean Girls get to the screen. She was a fiercely dedicated producer and a kind person" https://t.co/hKPCuLLggc pic.twitter.com/4TLjcKVNPt
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 8, 2018
This situation has officially entered extremely sad territory, and I’m sure there’s a lot of people who really want to wash their hands of it, crawl under a blanket, and call it a day. And once you emerge from that blanket, you probably won’t be surprised if you see a pile of BRAVE books on the discount table at Barnes & Noble with 90% Off stickers on the cover.