The family of a Hollywood executive who took her own life says she was "collateral damage" in the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Fifty-year-old Jill Messick died Wednesday. An email from Weinstein's attorney appears to show Messick supported Weinstein's claim that he did not rape actress Rose McGowan.
In a statement to CBS News, Messick's family says she suffered from bipolar disorder and the harsh media spotlight was "devastating." They say the email did not tell the whole story because Messick was one of the first people to defend McGowan some 20 years ago, reports CBS News' Vladimir Duthiers.
McGowan has been outspoken in not only accusing Weinstein of raping her in 1997, but also blaming his supposed "enablers."
Messick was McGowan's manager at the time. She did not respond to McGowan, but after her death Thursday her family put out a statement disputing some of the actress's claims.
According to the family, McGowan did tell Messick about an alleged sexual encounter with Weinstein immediately after it happened in 1997 but never said she was raped. They say Messick relayed the story to her bosses who promised to handle it.
"The family claims that Jill Messick actually raised a lot of these concerns about Rose McGowan and the treatment that she received by Harvey Weinstein to superiors," said Matthew Belloni, editorial director of the Hollywood Reporter.
In response to McGowan's claims of rape, Weinstein's attorney recently released an email from Messick to the former studio chief explaining what she says McGowan told her: "(McGowan) had gotten into a hot tub with Mr. Weinstein.... Something that she did consensually and that in hindsight.... was also something....she regretted..." Messick's family says the email's release caused her reputation to be "sullied despite having done nothing wrong." Messick, who suffered from depression, took her own life Thursday.
"According to her family, being in the headlines really impacted Jill Messick," Belloni said. "She was someone who had been attacked for her role in this saga that she never chose to engage in."
A lawyer for Weinstein has called McGowan's claims of rape "a bold lie." "CBS This Morning" reached out to Rose McGowan for comment, but she has not responded to our request.