The story behind the most explosive sex tape in history plays out like a heist movie complete with a rock star, a Playboy Playmate, a disgruntled electrician and the mafia. All sex tapes have crazy stories behind how they were leaked but the 1995 theft of footage filmed by Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee by an electrician named Rand Gauthier tops them all. Along the way, Gauthier gets caught up with the mob, the adult film industry, and for a quick second actually makes a little cash off of the theft and distribution of the Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson sex tape before everything falls apart.
The world’s most famous celebrity sex tape sold close to half a million copies, and that’s only counting the copies that were sold through legitimate sources. But despite the runaway sales and high-profile lawsuits, no one really came out on top. Gauthier lost all his money, Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson supposedly never made a dime off the sale of their private video, and countless other people who were involved with the theft are dead or are in hiding. Knowing the end of the story doesn’t make the chase any less interesting.
Rand Gauthier Broke Into Tommy Lee's House While Pretending To Be A Dog
Rand Gauthier's plan to break into Tommy Lee's three-story Spanish-style house didn't involve a black ski mask and the usual breaking-and-entering schemes. Instead, he snuck onto the premises while pretending to be a sheep dog. Wrapped in a Tibetan yak fur rug, Gauthier crawled on his hands and knees through the front yard so he wouldn't be caught by the cameras.
After making it into the garage, which had been converted into a recording studio, Gauther disassembled an entire mixing console in order to get to the safe installed behind it. According to Lee the safe was "as big as a fridge and weighed 500 pounds when it was empty" but Gauthier claims that he moved it completely on his own.
Once he'd removed the safe from the wall Gauthier put everything back together how he found it and brought the safe out to his truck, under the rug, by carrying it on his back. Authorities were baffled at how Gauthier moved the safe into his truck on his own.
Gauthier Wanted To Embarrass Tommy Lee
Before the theft, Gauthier was an electrician who thought he lucked into a job working for one of the wealthiest rock stars of all time. He dutifully laid wire and set up security cameras while he watching Lee hang out around the pool and live it up.
By the end of the Gauthier's time working on Lee's house he claims to have been owed $20,000. After failing to get his money on numerous occasions Gauthier claims that he decided to forget about the money but when he returned to the house to retrieve his tools Tommy Lee stuck a shotgun in Rand's face. After that, Gauthier decided to rob Lee and make the rock star feel foolish.
No One In The Porn Industry Wanted To Touch The Tape - Not Even Ron Jeremy
Gauthier expected a bidding war to erupt between companies clamoring to distribute the Tommy Lee and Pam Anderson sex tape, but in 1995 that wasn't the case. While excitement for the tape ran wild in the porn community, no one wanted to deal with the impending lawsuit.
Gauthier, who appeared in a few adult films in the late '80s before becoming an electrician, occasionally worked on adult film sets where he was allegedly known as a "studio troll." He reached out to his connections but everyone balked at helping him find distribution.
Ron Jeremy explained to Rolling Stone, "Porn was so strict and scary back in those days. If you're fucking, you better believe you gotta have a release."
The Mob Helped Distribute The Tape
After failing to find "legit" distribution from his adult industry connections Gauthier asked for money from a less reputable group of people - the mob. He reached out to Louis "Butchie" Peraino, a member of the Colombo crime family, the same family who helped distribute 1972's Deep Throat.
At the time Peraino was running Arrow Video, a company that distributed adult films, and he didn't want to outright distribute the film so he loaned Gauthier $50,000 for manufacturing and distribution of the tape via the internet.