The family of Rose McGowan’s former manager is calling her suicide “collateral damage” in the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal.
Jill Messick was McGowan’s manager in 1997 when the actress claims she was raped by Weinstein.
Messick, a veteran studio executive and producer, killed herself in Los Angeles Wednesday. She was 50.
“Jill was victimized by our new culture of unlimited information sharing and a willingness to accept statement as fact," her family said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "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 mother of two privately battled depression for years, according to her family.
“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,” the family added. “One of them was Jill, who 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.”
McGowan was recently on The View, where she was asked by co-host Joy Behar whether she told her manager about what happened with Weinstein.
“Yes, but she got a job with him for seven years right afterwards,” McGowan replied.
Behar then asked: “What did she tell you to do?”
“I went to the management company, one of the bigger managers than her and I remember one of them said, 'G** damn it! I told him to stop doing that. I just had an LA Times story killed about him. He owes it to me not to do this,'" she claimed.
In the statement, Messick’s family said that after the incident in which McGowan claims Weinstein raped her, Messick defended the Scream actress.
“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,” the statement said. “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 not commented directly on Messick’s passing, she posted a cryptic message on Instagram Thursday with the image of a handwritten note reading: "I think it's important that people don't feel alone."
Weinstein has denied all of McGowan’s claims of sexual misconduct.