Salma Hayek Honors Jill Messick, Dead By Suicide In Rose McGowan-Harvey Weinstein Battle

Actor Salma Hayek honored her friend, the late producer and studio executive Jill Messick, who died by suicide on Wednesday at age 50.  Messick's name has been in the news recently, because she represented McGowan in 1997, the time period during which McGowan was allegedly raped by Harvey Weinstein. 

According to her family in a statement published in The Hollywood Reporter, Messick has endured a longtime battle with depression and bipolar disorder and a particularly bad manic episode five years ago. Her personal trauma was recently triggered again by gossip and inferences about her role -- if any -- in McGowan's alleged rape by Harvey Weinstein. Messick was the executive producer of 'Frida', working closely with Hayek, who has written her own story about how an angry Weinstein tried to destroy the movie. 

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Jill Messick,” Hayek said of Messick, who was an executive producer on Hayek’s 2002 Miramax film, “Frida.” “She always navigated the frustrating and hostile environment of Miramax with grace and elegance. She became my ally and my friend. In the many years we worked together I witnessed her professionalism while being pregnant, a mother and through incredible pressure. She was a girl’s girl and a romantic when it came to fighting for the underdog. I will forever be grateful for her support and kindness.”

Messick's family felt compelled to address any allegations about Messick's handling of McGowan's experience with Weinstein, writing:

In January 1997, Jill was an entry level manager at Addis Wechsler. One of her first clients was Rose McGowan, and one of Jill’s first duties was to set up a breakfast meeting with Harvey Weinstein during the Sundance Film Festival. Following the meeting, Rose told Jill what had happened – that she made the decision to remove her clothes and get in the hot tub with him – a mistake which Rose immediately regretted. Rose never once used the word rape in that conversation. Despite this, Jill recognized that Harvey had done something untoward to Rose, if not illegal. She immediately went to her bosses, the partners of Addis Wechsler, to recount Rose’s story and to insist that they immediately address the situation. They told Jill that they would handle the situation. The ensuing arrangements between Rose and Harvey were then negotiated, completely without Jill’s knowledge. At that time, all Jill knew was that the matter was settled and that Rose continued making films with the Weinsteins. She never knew any details until recently, when Rose elected to make them public.

Jill's family alleges that Rose McGowan's need for constant attention for her personal cause that is not at all unique to her, coupled with Harvey Weinstein's decision to release previously unseen documents, caused Jill Messick significant pain and triggered the bout of manic depression that took her life. The family continued:

Rose’s most recent round of press to promote her book has included new stories involving Jill. The constant press attention Rose has garnered in print and on national TV led to Harvey Weinstein releasing two documents. One of these was an email that Jill wrote to him months prior to the first New York Times piece coming out, and at his request. In this email, Jill offered the truth based on what she remembers Rose telling her about the Sundance account. In the face of Rose’s continued and embellished accusations last week, Harvey took it upon himself to release the email without her consent.

The materials released by Weinstein's lawyer Ben Brafman, were summarized by The Telegraph:

In her book, McGowan said that she told Ben Affleck, her co-star in 1997 film 'Going All The Way', about the incident at a photo opportunity. “I am shaking and my eyes fill with tears,” she writes; “I say where I’ve just come from, and my costar says, ‘Goddamn it, I told him to stop doing that.’” On Twitter, McGowan has identified the co-star in question as Ben Affleck.

However, Affleck says in the statement released by Weinstein: “She never told me nor did I ever infer that she was attacked by anyone. Any accounts to the contrary are false. I have no knowledge about anything Rose did or claimed to have done.”

 Rose McGowan and Harvey Weinstein in happier times. 

Rose McGowan and Harvey Weinstein in happier times. 

McGowan told ABC News "Nightline" co-anchor Juju Chang that she met Weinstein for the first time in 1997 at the Sundance Festival.  Someone from her management team set up the meeting at the restaurant at Weinstein's hotel, the Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley, in Park City, Utah. McGowan said Weinstein moved the meeting to his palatial suite.

Never one to mince words, McGowan says her first impression of Weinstein was that “he was a warthog from hell.”

“I thought he was terrifying-looking. I thought he was the single most ugly person I’d ever seen in my life,” McGowan said.

The meeting went well, but, as she walked towards the door to leave, McGowan says, things took a negative turn.

“In my head, I was on my way out a door. My brain was on the next moment of what I had to do that day. And the next thing I know, I’m in a totally completely different situation that is not anywhere my brain had anticipated going. So my poor brain is just, like, shocked. And my poor body is left behind,” McGowan said.

I will never defend Harvey Weinstein, but that statement alone is why a woman lawyer advised her that she McGowan had no rape case. Stating that her brain went into a state of shock, and her body complied is not a legal defense. Countless women do it for very legitimate reasons, but in a legal proceeding, reasonable doubt is in play. Weinstein didn't tie up McGowan, and science actually makes a strong case that one's brain goes into self-preservation, fight or flight mode. McGowan may have been thinking more than she understands. Just sayin'. 

In her book, McGowan wrote that Weinstein then pushed her into the suite’s Jacuzzi and undressed her. The actor turned director says Weinstein picked her up and placed her on the edge of the Jacuzzi. Then, she said, he began to perform forced oral sex on her.

Messick, who set up the meeting between McGowan and Weinstein, said in the email released by  Ben Brafman : “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.”

In her book, McGowan writes that she called her manager (Messick) to tell her about the alleged rape. “It was so fucked up,” she wrote, “she counseled me to see it as something that would help my career in the long run.”

Messick went on to work for Weinstein's film company Miramax.  Rose McGowan had numerous subsequent business dealings with Weinstein and appeared with him, being friendly in public. I admit to not being a Rose McGowan fan, as she has lashed out at everyone in Hollywood, when she herself went on to work with Weinstein again, and asked him to finance her films. So I am just confused. 

What a sad story all the way around! Rose McGowan finally issued a social media post on Saturday, one that many of her followers found to be hollow and cold. The Cut calls her post "earnest", so there -- I have balanced the statement.  I will say that I've read so much hate and condemnation of everyone but herself -- who continued on to be part of the Hollywood treacherous game she condemns -- that I'm surprised with her spiritual post. 

Her caption reads: “For Jill: May your family find some measure of solace during this pain. That one man could cause so much damage is astounding, but tragically true. The bad man did this to us both. May you find peace on the astral plane. May you find serenity with the stars.”

Related: Brave by Rose McGowan review -- damn right she's angry The Guardian

 

 

Melania Trump Will Attend President's State of Union Address As A Marital Iceberg Chills White House

melania-trump-attending state of the union.jpg

America's first lady Melania Trump will attend Tuesday night's State of the Union address, reports White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “That is the plan,” her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said an email.

The New York Times writes tonight that Mrs. Trump is furious with her husband over his latest scandal, reported by the Wall Street Journal as a $130,000 payout to porn star Stormy Daniels just a month before the election. The story blindsided the first lady, leaving her absolutely furious with Trump, so angry that she cancelled her trip to Davos. 

This is the first time over the years that Melania Trump has not defended her husband. 

In 2011, Mrs. Trump appeared on TV to support her husband’s attempts to pressure President Barack Obama into making his birth certificate public. In 2016, she again appeared on camera to dismiss an “Access Hollywood” recording from 2005 — in which Mr. Trump bragged about grabbing women’s genitals — as “boy talk.” Mrs. Trump has also defended her husband against claims brought by multiple women that he sexually assaulted them.

“I believe my husband, I believe my husband — it was all organized from the opposition,” Mrs. Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in the tumultuous weeks before the 2016 election, in which the president was accused of sexual harassment and groping almost daily by yet another woman.

In the wake of the Stormy Daniels story, Melania Trump has become the ice queen. Due to the divisive nature of her husband's presidency, she also exists without being a member of the first ladies club -- a source of support from Laura Bush to Michelle Obama. Under another president, both women would available as trusted shoulders for her to lean on without fear of privacy violations. 

“First ladies from Jackie Kennedy to Hillary Clinton to Laura Bush have stood by their husbands at the lowest points in their presidency,” Kate Andersen Brower, an author of “First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies,” said in an interview. “We’re seeing a different example with Melania of a woman who has maybe had too much.”

10 Interviews Support Sexual Harassment Allegations Against PA (R) Rep. Patrick Meehan

 Representative Patrick Meehan, Republican of Pennsylvania, traveled with President Trump to the state on Thursday. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Representative Patrick Meehan, Republican of Pennsylvania, traveled with President Trump to the state on Thursday. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Apparently, House Speaker Paul Ryan didn't ask Pennsylvania Republican Representative Patrick Meehan if there was any private reason outside of his position on the House Ethics committee that would prevent him from conducting an effective role in redefining how sexual misconduct claims are handled in Congress.  

Revelations that Congressman Meehan actually made a settlement with a decades younger aide in 2017 caught Speaker Ryan by surprise. AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for the said that “this is new information to us” when asked about the settlement in a brief interview on Friday.

The New York Times interviewed 10 people including friends and former colleagues of the former aide and others who worked around the office. The young woman is a family friend of the Meehan's and became so demoralized by the Congressman's antagonistic behavior when she became involved with a new boyfriend, that she filed a complaint with the congressional Office of Compliance in the summer of 2017, alleging sexual harassment. The events that followed underscore why women typically don't file complaints against members of Congress. Now Meehan is theoretically empowered to change those procedures with new ones much fairer to victims. The Times writes a Rep. Jackie Speier's playbook expose. Speier's is leading the charge in Congress to reform current procedures:

The handling of that complaint — which included an aggressive pushback by representatives from Mr. Meehan’s office and congressional lawyers, who suggested she had misinterpreted the congressman’s behavior — demoralized the aide. It led to her estrangement from her colleagues, and isolation from friends, family and her boyfriend, according to the people in whom she confided. It set her back financially and professionally, as she continued to pay legal costs associated with the complaint even after leaving her job in Mr. Meehan’s office and struggling to find a new one. She moved back in with her parents and ultimately decided to start a new life abroad.

Mr. Meehan was represented in this process by two officials from his congressional office and two lawyers for the House’s office of employment counsel.

After counseling and mediation sessions mandated by the Office of Compliance, the sides reached an agreement that included a settlement and a strict nondisclosure agreement, according to people familiar with the process.

The exact amount of the settlement could not be determined, partly because Mr. Meehan’s office paid it from a congressional office fund that allows such payments to be disguised as salary and reported months after they were made. But people familiar with the payout said it was thousands of dollars.

Ironically, this story began with another senior aide in Rep. Mehan's office, writes The Times. Friends and office staff said that Rep. Meehan's began when the young woman complained about the relentless pursuit of her by another member of the staff. The man left the office, but then Meehan's own advances began. 

Ms. Ronickher, the lawyer for Mr. Meehan’s accuser, declined to comment on the specifics of her case. But Ms. Ronickher, who has represented multiple congressional aides who have filed sexual harassment complaints with the Office of Compliance, said, “Given the proven dysfunction of the process as we have it now, it’s critical that Congress act on legislation to revise the process so that victims aren’t re-harmed when they pursue their rights.”

Meehan traveled with President Trump to a PA rally for a March 2018 special election to fill the vacated seat of Rep. Congressman Tim Murphy, who resigned in October 2017 amid a sex scandal.