This past Wednesday, Hollywood lost another one of its bright lights to suicide. According to a spokesperson for her family, producer, Jill Messick, took her own life this past Wednesday. She was just 50. It is not uncommon to hear news of a celebrity figure or a notable name ending their lives. It is important to remember that these individuals are people and they face many of the challenges that the average person faces, with greater amounts of stress and pressure to deliver. Celebrities and immensely wealth people consistently prove that money is not the cure to all ills.
What makes this suicide more conspicuous than usual is the fact that Messick’s family is suggesting that her suicide is directly linked to the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal.
First, it is important to note that Messick struggled with bipolar disorder for many years; however, her family pointed out the fact that the spotlight that was cast on her after the news broke about Weinstein served to exacerbate her condition. Unfortunately, while the majority of the world was more focused on Weinstein and the fallout of the allegations that basically destroyed his Hollywood career and legacy, Jill became collateral damage.
While the original allegations levied against Weinstein did not name Messick as a victim of Weinstein, it suggested that she may have been in collusion with him, or at least turned a deaf ear to a particular situation. Actress, Rose McGowan accused Weinstein of raping her and also suggested that Messick did not support her in her fight to get justice from Weinstein. McGowan also said that Messick went on to accept a job with Weinstein, which was the ultimate stab in the back.
As you can imagine, the negative light that comes with being a woman accused of not supporting a woman who was a victim of the male-dominated culture in Hollywood can carry a dark and heavy weight. Messick’s family recalls the situation going somewhat differently. They say that when McGowan reported the incident to Messick, she did not refer to it as being rape, but Messick sense that something was wrong and reported it to her superiors. This all took place before she went to work under Weinstein at Marimax.
The conflicting stories surrounding the incident left a neverending cloud of suspicion over Messick that seems to have contributed to her downward spiral into massive depression. Weinstein’s lawyer produced an email in which Messick admitted that McGowan told her that she got into the hot tub with Weinstein on her own accord, but later regretted the decision. This has been one of the issues brought up as the allegations rise against some of Hollywood’s most notable power brokers. Some people are asking are any of these men paying a heavy price for a woman’s regrets instead of being punished for actually violating her.
Messick’s family suggested that she did not attempt to defend herself because she felt it might undermine other women who were considering coming forward. Unfortunately, her decision not to come forward cost her dearly in the area of reputation, and it may have ended up costing her much more.