The fallout continues regarding Harvey Weinstein as his predatory behavior continues to be revealed and more stories of a man that preyed on women for decades was allowed to do so with impunity.
Actress Rose McGowan is waging a one-woman war on Hollywood as a whole and now casualties of this “war of words” are emerging. The latest is longtime Hollywood exec, Jill Messick. Messick Messick’s family said in a statement obtained by the NY Daily News that she had recently been caught in the firing line and “victimized” by allegations put forth by McGowan and the ferocious response from Weinstein, and she had been fearing for her life. She was just 50-years-old.
Messick served as McGowan’s manager during the time McGowan states she was raped by Weinstein. She spent more than 10 years in executive roles at Paramount-based Lorne Michaels Productions and at Miramax, with producing credits on Frida, Mean Girls, and Bad Judge, among others. She spent five years at the Weinstein-run Miramax from 1997-2003.
In what Messick’s family called a “desperate attempt to vindicate himself” Weinstein used emails between Messick and actor Ben Affleck to refute McGowan’s claims of rape and sexual assault. A move that thrust Messick squarely in the spotlight as there is no statute of limitations on crimes such as rape in the state of California. If the prosecution is successful in prosecuting such a case, Weinstein is looking at 25 years to life.
Messick’s family spoke in a statement of her years-long battle with depression and of how she had been made into collateral damage in the he-said-she-said between McGowan and Weinstein. McGowan claims in January 1997, she was raped by Weinstein in a hotel suite at the Sundance Film Festival.
In October 2017, McGowan spoke to the New York Times in an interview and pinpointed Messick as the person that arranged her meeting with Weinstein at the time of her alleged assault. McGowan spoke of how Messick comforted her after divulging the details of the attack. McGowan’s long-buried story has gained renewed public interest as she makes the rounds promoting her upcoming memoir, “Brave.”
Just last month, she revealed the details of Weinstein’s alleged assault for the first time, claiming he performed oral sex on her in a hot tub without her consent. In response, Weinstein’s attorney Ben Brafman released a lengthy statement refuting McGowan’s claims with quotes attributed to Messick.
Messick’s family states she was dragged into the middle of a media circus becoming 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… Jill was many things, but she was not a liar.”
The family states that Messick chose to keep quiet as the #MeToo campaign ramped up and gained momentum and the war of words between McGowan and Weinstein heated up “for fear of undermining the many individuals who came forward in truth.” They also revealed Messick’s version of events that recounted her part of the Brafman statement being sent long before McGowan’s Times piece was published. Messick told her family the statement was released months later without her consent or knowledge thrusting her in the center of the media circus.
The Messick family’s statement revealed the toll it took on Messick as they spoke of how the “slanderous” allegations “broke” her, stating – “What made 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.”
The timing of Messick’s death has been ruled a suicide though there is a question of suspicious timing as Messick was found dead less than one week after McGowan warned that Weinstein was trying to murder her. McGowan sat down with journalist Ronan Farrow last week at the New York City’s 92Y for an emotionally tumultuous 90-minute interview discussing mostly abuse and recovery. During this interview, McGowan went on the record to state point blank if she was ever found dead, she believed Weinstein would be to blame.
Farrow asks – “What are you scared of, Rose?” McGowan promptly responds to Farrow’s question, replying – “Assassination.”
As an audible gasp went through the crowd, McGowan turns to address them directly stating – “I don’t care what you think. I know my life, and I know my reality, and I know that people like me get killed.”
A few more minutes into the interview Farrow asks McGowan directly – “You believe that Harvey Weinstein is after you in an ongoing way?” To which McGowan replies – “Yes.”
The conversation continues –
Farrow – “In what way?”
McGowan – “Someone was just offered $100,000 to tell him what hotel room I was in.”
Now Messick is found dead under what some believe are suspicious circumstances. Yet others believe her death was suicide and directly related to her depression. Her emails and testimony were thought to hold the key to successfully prosecute Weinstein, putting him away for a very long time.
Farrow reported in his interview with McGowan that she had reason to be afraid. Weinstein reportedly hired private investigators—including former members of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency—to track down accusers and journalists, including Messick and McGowan. One investigator from Black Cube, a corporate intelligence agency run by mostly ex-Mossad, met with McGowan under the pretense of being a women’s rights advocate, while secretly recording the meetings.