Sex Tape Of Pamela Anderson And Tommy Lee, The First Viral Internet Pornography

01/12/1997

In the 1990s, the internet was relatively young for most people on Earth.

Google wasn't there, and the internet was still relying on internet directories, with Yahoo! sitting at the peak, and discussion forums that were flourishing quite rapidly.

During those years, at the pinnacles of the media, included Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee.

Pamela is best known for her 22-years-career being a Playmate at Playboy. She has also appeared on more Playboy covers than any other model. It was then her action-drama series Baywatch, which cemented her status as a sex symbol. Tommy Lee on the other hand, is known as the drummer for heavy metal outfit Mötley Crüe.

Tommy first met Pamela on New Year's Eve in 1994 at a club on Sunset Strip in Hollywood. The two made headlines after famously married in 1995 after knowing each other for less than a week later.

If this only was not enough to put their names up on the young internet, their sex tape did.

When their honeymoon sex tape leaked, it quickly became the first sex tape to have disrupted the internet, and became the first prime example of viral internet pornography.

It was like the 90s' 1 Night in Paris, and Kim Kardashian, Superstar.

Further reading: The Leaked Iranian Sex Tape Scandal That Ended Zahra Amir Ebrahimi's Career

Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee
Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee were a power couple back in the 1990s.

It started when the couple made the sex tape.

"We watched it once when we returned home, then put it in our safe, hidden underneath a carpet in my studio control room in the garage," Tommy said.

It was later realized that someone managed to get their hands on it.

At that time, Tommy was doing some work done at the couple's Malibu mansion, and Rand Gauthier was there.

The former porn star was hired as an electrician by the couple to work on the renovation.

It was reported that Gauthier didn't do his job right, and that the Lees fired him and refused to pay him.

At one point, Tommy even pointed a shotgun at him.

In retaliation, Gauthier stole a safe. He planned this by making an excuse, in which he said that he wanted to retrieve his tools he left there at the house. The safe in question, was apparently the safe that had the sex tape in it.

After stealing the safe and finding what the couple hid within it, Gauthier sold it to the Internet Entertainment Group, or IEG.

The couple discovered this fact when they realized that the safe was missing, which was about a month later.

It was Pamela who started suing the video distribution company.

But IEG declined to stop the distribution of the tape, mainly because it had legally obtained a copy of the video by purchasing it.

A California State Superior Court denied the request for a temporary restraining order.

Following this, IEG started making the sex tape public on its websites.

The 39-minute video included scenes from the couple's wedding ceremony, and a "wild and sex-filled" boat trip on Lake Mead in Nevada, among other scenes, according to IEG.

In just five hours, the traffic to its websites were tripled.

It was estimated that porn companies made more than $100 million in less than 12 months through legitimate sales alone.

During this time, the video cemented itself as the first true celebrity sex tape that has gone down in history as one of the most demanded ever.

And the Lees earned nothing.

"I made not one dollar," once said Pamela in an interview. "It was stolen property."

It should be noted that at this time, most people were still using dial up modems with speed of only 56 kbit/s.

The Lees tried to stop the distribution of the video on IEG, or at least suppress the video from being shown on various websites, and they did this for months.

They even hired a private detective to help them.

The distribution of the sex tape continued, until the company finally agreed to put down the video.

"We made a deal to stop all the shenanigans," Pamela said.

"I was seven months pregnant with Dylan and thinking it was affecting the pregnancy with the stress and said, 'I'm not going to court anymore. I'm not being deposed anymore by these horny, weird lawyer men. I don't want to talk about my vagina anymore or my public sex — anything."

But that was only temporary, as IEG said that it has entered into an agreement with the Lees.

Following this, the case was dropped, and the Lees stopped preventing its distribution through arbitration.

The couple announced this decision on December 1, 1997.

After the Lees reached an agreement with IEG, the company began making the tape available to subscribers to its websites.

The company said terms of the agreement are confidential.

"In order to protect what privacy they have left, the Lees have entered into a confidential settlement agreement with IEG," said Marleah Leslie, a spokeswoman for the couple, in a statement.

"I am prohibited from discussing the terms of the agreement. The Lees have never intended to profit nor have they profited from the stolen tape and are sick about the whole situation."

Since the interest was high, the tape again raised wider legal issues, with many suggesting whether the distribution of the tape would violate the couple's right to privacy.

IEG argued.

Read: Female Officer Arrested Gang Leader, Gang Members Responded By Leaking Her Personal Photos

Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee
A screenshot of the sex tape of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee.

The company said that the two celebrities simply forfeited their privacy rights by just publicly talking about the video. Some skeptics however, saw this as a publicity stunt.

"We were happy to have an arbitrator decide the issue," said Seth Warshavsky, President of IEG.

"We noticed the depositions of the Lees' associates and former intimates and were prepared to ask them questions about their relationships with the couple. Before we could begin the depositions, we reached a settlement with the Lees, the term of which must remain confidential."

It should be noted that the sex tape of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee was not Pamela's first.

Previously, she had another sex tape she made with Bret Michaels, the musician from Poison. But this sex tape was not announced, nor published, before her sex tape with Tommy was leaked.

Pamela and Tommy ended their marriage in 1998, when Tommy landed in jail after physically assaulting Pamela. They were then in on and off relationships until at least 2008.

Shortly after this, a sex tape from South Korea's beauty pageant also made headlines, as it leaked to the internet through file-sharing websites.

In 2018, it was announced that the case, as well as the biography of Pamela and Tommy were going to be made, with Lily James starring as Pamela Anderson, Sebastian Stan as Tommy Lee, and Seth Rogen as Rand Gauthier.

In December 2020, it was announced that Hulu greenlighted the project with an eight-episode limited miniseries, with Craig Gillespie as its director, and Rob Siegel as writer.

On November 2021, Hulu released the first teaser of Pam & Tommy.

Further reading: The Leaked Sex Tape Of Hoàng Thùy Linh, The Biggest Scandal In Vietnam