The family of the late Jill Messick, a chronic depression sufferer who committed suicide yesterday, is claiming that Messick was “victimized” and partly nudged towards self-destruction by certain charges alleged by former client Rose McGowan.
A longtime producer and former Miramax exec who served as McGowan’s manager when the actress was allegedly raped by Harvey Weinstein in January 1997, Messick allegedly felt diminished by statements that McGowan made about her not being a vigilant-enough defender of McGowan during a time of great anger and trauma, and then undermining her claim of having been raped in an email written to Weinstein.
Jill Messick and Brad Grey, now both deceased, in 2007.
McGowan has said that Messick comforted McGowan when she learned of the attack. “But in the months to come,” Dominus wrote, “McGowan did not feel supported by her management team.
“Anne Woodward, now a manager herself, was a young assistant in Messick’s office at the time, and was in on many of Ms. Messick’s calls. ‘I remember that Rose was extremely upset and did not want to [accept a hush money offer from Weinstein],’ Ms. Woodward said. ‘She wanted to fight.’
“[But] no one around her, as Ms. Woodward recalls, supported that instinct. ‘It was an emotionally shocking way to see a woman being treated,’ Ms. Woodward said. ‘That’s what stuck with me.'” Messing’s photo was used in Dominus’s Times story.
In her new book, McGowan recounted the details of Weinstein’s alleged Stein-Erickson assault. In response, Weinstein attorney Ben Brafman partly contested McGowan’s claims with a quote attributed to Messick.
Brafman: “In an email to Mr. Weinstein regarding the encounter, Jill Messick says the following, ‘When we met up the following day, [McGowan] hesitantly told me of her own accord that during the meeting that night before she had gotten into a hot tub with Mr. Weinstein. She was very clear about the fact that 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 had therefore been charged by McGowan with not only being too passive in the wake of the Weinstein assault but undermining McGowan’s account of the alleged rape.
“Jill was victimized by our new culture of unlimited information sharing and a willingness to accept statement as fact,” the family statement said. “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…Jill was many things, but she was not a liar.”
Screen capture of Messick’s photo as it appeared in a 10.28.17 N.Y. Times story about McGowan by reporter Susan Dominus.