A longtime Hollywood exec who served as Rose McGowan's manager when the actress was allegedly raped by Harvey Weinstein committed suicide Wednesday amid a slew of media attention her family says made her collateral damage in the pair's war of words. Jill Messick's family said in a statement obtained by the Daily News she had battled depression for many years, but had recently been "victimized" by allegations put forth by McGowan and the subsequent response from Weinstein. The former Miramax production executive was McGowan's manager in January 1997, when the actress has claimed she was raped by Weinstein in a hotel suite at the Sundance Film Festival. In October, McGowan told The New York Times that her meeting with Weinstein was arranged by Messick -- and that she was comforted by the manager after divulging details of the attack.
The statement alleges McGowan told Messick, 50, about the encounter shortly after it happened, but described it as "consensual."
"In an email to Mr. Weinstein regarding the encounter, Jill Messick says the following, "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. 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,'" the statement read.
Being dragged into the middle of the tumultuous allegations in such a way took a toll on Messick, her family said.
"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," they said.
"She became collateral damage in an already horrific story ... Jill was many things, but she was not a liar."
The family said Messick had kept quiet as the he-said she-said between McGowan and Weinstein dragged on "for fear of undermining the many individuals who came forward in truth."
"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," they said, maintaining that Messick had handled the situation properly at the time.
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