Messick's family said that she had struggled with bipolar disorder and depression for years, but claimed that the recent Harvey Weinstein scandal had caused her additional distress. In a statement to the Associated Press, Messick's family described her as "collateral damage in an already horrific story."
Messick was McGowan's manager during the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, where the actress alleges Weinstein raped her. McGowan recently claimed that Messick had failed to support her after disclosing Weinstein's behaviour.
According to Messick's family, McGowan told her manager about an incident with Weinstein, but did not disclose it as rape. Messick nevertheless reported allegedly "untoward" behaviour to her bosses, and an arrangement was negotiated between Weinstein and McGowan without Messick's knowledge. Months later, Messick took a job with Weinstein at Miramax.
Weinstein's lawyers have denied McGowan's allegations.
Messick's family went on to say that the late producer had refrained from speaking out publicly to defend herself, at the risk of discouraging other women from coming forward with their own stories of sexual abuse..
"She opted not to add to the feeding frenzy, allowing her name and her reputation to be sullied despite having done nothing wrong," the Messick family's statement said. "Seeing her name in headlines again and again ... along with Harvey's desperate attempt to vindicate himself, was devastating for her."
Read the family's full statement here via The Hollywood Reporter.
A number of Messick's colleagues have since shared their condolences. Mean Girls creator Tina Fey told THR: "This is very sad news and my heart goes out to her family. Jill was instrumental in helping Mean Girls get to the screen. She was a fiercely dedicated producer and a kind person."
A number of Mean Girls stars shared fond memories of Messick Twitter.
Simply sad and horrified to hear of Jill Messick taking her own life. She was a joy to work with on Mean Girls and I can only picture her with a smile on her face. If you or someone you know may be suicidal please call Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255— Daniel Franzese (@WhatsupDanny) February 8, 2018
I'm so sad to hear that Jill Messick has passed away. She was nothing but kind to me while working together on Mean Girls. My thoughts are with her family.— Lacey Chabert (@IamLaceyChabert) February 9, 2018
Jill Messick's Family Issues Blistering Statement on Harvey Weinstein and Rose McGowan https://t.co/u09yGI8jpU— Amanda Seyfried (@AmandaSeyfried) February 9, 2018
See some of the other responses to Messick's death below.
I don't know Jill. But this story guts me.— Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) February 9, 2018
Jill Messick, Producer And Studio Exec, Dead Of Suicide At 50 https://t.co/8dtZuJYbWo
❤️— Anne Heche (@AnneHeche) February 9, 2018
I lost a very dear friend and partner, Jill Messick today, and I am, among other things, so sad and mad also, to have lost friend.
Raising a glass to the lovely #JillMessick today. She was always so kind to me. Please read the family's statement and have all the hard conversations they are asking us to have. https://t.co/UH1lBIKHK2— Dana Fox (@inthehenhouse) February 9, 2018
I just heard about Jill Messick, and I'm astonished. I worked with her 8 yrs ago and had no idea she was bipolar or battling depression. You just never know what people are going through... Best to lead with kindness. My heart goes out to Kevin, the kids, and her family.— Charlotte's World Wide Web (@SnarkWithHeart) February 8, 2018
This is so upsetting. Harvey is a monster. https://t.co/xws5e3Ls4R— ＢｅｎＤａｖｉｄ Ｇｒａｂｉｎｓｋｉ (@bdgrabinski) February 8, 2018