Jill Messick's family issued a blistering statement to The Hollywood Reporter saying she was "victimized" after becoming embroiled in the Weinstein-McGowan allegations. Messick, former manager of Rose McGowan and executive and producer at Miramax and Lorne Michaels Productions, died by suicide on Wednesday in Los Angeles. She was 50.
Messick's name made headlines when Weinstein's attorney, Ben Brafman, released an email in January attributed to Messick in defense of his client. Messick was McGowan's manager in January 1997, the time period where McGowan claims she was raped by producer Harvey Weinstein at the Sundance Film Festival.
Messick's family says now that she "became collateral damage in an already horrific story."
"Jill 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," the statement read, in part.
Messick's family wrote that Messick "chose to remain silent in the face of Rose’s slanderous statements against her for fear of undermining the many individuals who came forward in truth. She opted not to add to the feeding frenzy, allowing her name and her reputation to be sullied despite having done nothing wrong. She never chose to be a public figure; that choice was taken away from her."
The family also wrote that five years ago, Messick suffered a "manic episode" and that after seeking help was able to "put her life back together."
"Seeing her name in headlines again and again ... was devastating for her. It broke Jill, who was just starting to get her life back on track," her family wrote. "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."
In addition to both Weinstein and McGowan, the family also called out the media.
"While journalists serve an important role in exposing predatory behavior, we are seeing irresponsible choices and an addiction to sensationalism which leads to inconsistent storytelling. The media is a powerful tool not to be taken lightly," the statement read. "Most individuals would be horrified to have their name spotlighted in a major international news story — let alone their photograph. We cannot forget that the media is a fearsome tool which cannot be used indiscriminately or even inadvertently to create further victims."
"Words matter," the family concluded. "Someone’s life may depend on it."
Messick had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had reportedly been battling depression for years.
Messick producer credits include She's All That, Frida, Mean Girls, Hot Rod, Baby Mama, and Masterminds, along with the 2014-15 television series Bad Judge. She was also rumored to be the producer on the 2019 film adaptation of the video game Minecraft.