#MeToo activist McGowan’s ex-manager commits suicide

Rose McGowan
Updated 10 February 2018
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#MeToo activist McGowan’s ex-manager commits suicide

LOS ANGELES: A veteran Hollywood executive who was Rose McGowan’s manager when the actress was allegedly raped by Harvey Weinstein has committed suicide, media reports citing her family said.
Relatives of Jill Messick, who was 50, said in a statement circulated to US media that she had battled depression for years, but had recently felt “victimized” by inaccurate reports of her role in the affair.
Messick, who worked for Addis-Wechsler — now Industry Entertainment — managed McGowan when the actress claimed she was attacked by Weinstein in a hot tub at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival.
Dozens of Hollywood women have accused the disgraced movie mogul of sexual misconduct.
McGowan is promoting an upcoming memoir and is one of the most prominent advocates in the #MeToo social media movement against sexual harassment.
She told The New York Times in October that Messick had arranged the Weinstein meeting, which began in a hotel room.
The revelation — and being further dragged into the headlines as part of an email exchange released by Weinstein — had a damaging effect on Messick’s state of mind, the family said.
“The speed of disseminating information has carried mistruths about Jill as a person, which she was unable and unwilling to challenge,” the family statement reads.
“She became collateral damage in an already horrific story.”
The family went on to accuse McGowan of making “slanderous statements against her,” which the mother-of-two chose not to rebut for fear of undermining victims of sexual assault.
“She opted not to add to the feeding frenzy, allowing her name and her reputation to be sullied despite having done nothing wrong. She never chose to be a public figure, that choice was taken away from her,” the statement said.
Messick went to Santa Barbara High School and graduated from the University of Southern California with a communications degree.
She began producing films and television shows in 1999, and also worked as an executive at Paramount’s Lorne Michaels Productions.
Her movie production credits include “She’s All That,” starring Freddie Prinze Jr, Mark Waters’ “Mean Girls,” art biopic “Frida,” with Salma Hayek, and action film “Masterminds” with Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig and Owen Wilson.
McGowan’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Gaza fisherman battles poverty with plastic-bottle boat

Updated 17 August 2018
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Gaza fisherman battles poverty with plastic-bottle boat

  • A broad slab of wood lashed to the top serves as a seat, allowing Abu Zeid to row a few hundred meters out from shore — far enough to go fishing.
  • Many in Gaza depend on fishing for a living, despite Israel enforcing a fishing zone limited to 9 miles in the south

GAZA: With hundreds of empty plastic bottles collected from the shores of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, fisherman Muath Abu Zeid has turned litter into a floating source of income.

The Palestinian father-of-four used glue and old nets to bind the bottles into a small fishing boat that he hopes will help him support his family.

Simple but effective, the 700-bottle craft is capable of carrying up to eight people out to sea, according to its 35-year-old skipper.

A broad slab of wood lashed to the top serves as a seat, allowing Abu Zeid to row a few hundred meters out from shore — far enough to go fishing.

It takes him about eight hours to pull in between five and seven kg of sardines, mullet and other small fish with his rod.

He sells his catch to passersby on the nearby corniche, making between 20 and 40 shekels ($5-$11) a day. Muath’s two younger brothers — Mohammed, 23, and Ashraf, 20 — accompany him on his daily excursions. Neither were able to find work elsewhere.

“I’m a house painter but because of the difficult situation I’m unemployed,” said skipper Muath, a descendent of refugees from a village near Jaffa in present-day Israel.

“So this boat has been a lifesaver for me and my family.”

Under a crippling Israeli blockade for more than a decade, Gaza suffers 44 percent unemployment, rising to a “staggering” 60 percent amongst the young, according to 2017 World Bank figures.

The coastal enclave’s electricity crisis means sewage is often pumped directly into the sea, leaving its 40-km coastline heavily polluted.

Yet many in Gaza depend on fishing for a living, despite Israel enforcing a fishing zone limited to nine nautical miles in the south of the enclave and just six nautical miles in the north, near Israel. Muath picked up the idea for the boat on YouTube, where he saw hobbyists designing boats using plastic bottles discarded by holidaymakers on beaches.

“I appreciated the idea and said to myself, why not preserve the environment and create a living for me and my family — and that’s what happened,” he said.

The craft cost him about $150, borrowed from his father.

He hopes to buy a fishing net soon, “so that I can pull in larger amounts of fish, sell them and live a decent life”.

The craft is fragile and he’s hemmed in by the frontier with neighboring Egypt, but he says the waters along the border have plenty of fish waiting to be caught.