Jill Messick took her own life on Feb. 8, 2018, at age 50. The longtime studio executive, producer, and manager was recently brought into the bitter battle between McGowan and Harvey Weinstein.
Messick was McGowan's manager at the time she was allegedly raped by Weinstein in 1997. While the Charmed actress claimed Messick was aware of the assault, Weinstein's lawyers recently shared an email the late producer sent them regarding the incident.
"When we met up the following day, she hesitantly told me of her own accord that during the meeting that night before she had gotten into a hot tub with Mr. Weinstein,” said Messick. “She was very clear about the fact getting into that hot tub was something that she did consensually and that in hindsight it was also something that she regretted having done."
Messick's family state that the email was sent to Weinstein's team prior to The New York Times piece which brought down the Miramax executive, encouraging dozens of women to come forward with their own stories. The email was then shared to the press recently by Weinstein's lawyers in an attempt to prove his innocence, bringing Messick into the public battle.
Fox News reports that Messick suffered from depression and bipolar disorder, however, her family believes Jill became "collateral damage" of the ongoing fight against Weinstein, the negative publicity she suddenly faced pushing her to commit suicide. As well as the email bringing her to the forefront of the press, Messick also faced controversy after McGowan's release of her book, Brave, in which she stated that the mother of two did little to help her after the encounter with Weinstein—an allegation her family strongly denies.
“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,” Messick's family said. “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."
McGowan has since released a statement saying she hopes Messick has found peace.