A fired contractor who “cased the joint,” waiting for the right moment to steal the safe containing the world’s most famous sex tape, will be a big part of Hulu’s Pam & Tommy storyline.
“This is so private. It’s like we’re seeing something we’re not supposed to be seeing.” Those are the first words Nick Offerman‘s character Milton Ingley (aka Uncle Miltie) utters as he and Gauthier get their first glimpse of the celebrity couple’s stolen honeymoon footage.
The focus of Pam & Tommy will be the whirlwind love story between the Baywatch star and Motley Crue drummer, who got married four days after meeting in 1995. But Rogen’s character receives second billing as Gauthier, the disgruntled electrician who took the video to the web with the help of porn director Uncle Miltie. Unleashed before the days of TMZ and YouTube, the clip took two years to go viral.
Lee reportedly fired Gauthier for subpar work and never paid him the $20,000 he was owed for electrical services at Lee and Anderson’s Malibu mansion. Rolling Stone noted that, as Gauthier and another contractor went back to the couple’s mansion to get their tools, Lee pointed a shotgun at them and said, “Get the fuck off my property.” That set Gauthier off and made him want revenge. “I was never really that popular with people,” he said. “But I had never been held at gunpoint. It screwed with my head.”
Gauthier knew that a giant safe in the garage held the couple’s jewels and guns, but he had no idea it also contained their homemade sex tape until he broke into it. Gauthier used his contacts in the porn industry to make several copies and sell them online for about $60 each, according to ScreenRant.
Watch the ‘Pam & Tommy’ Trailer
Leading up to the heist, in the summer of 1995, Gauthier spent several nights a week sitting outside the Malibu mansion planning his strategy. Rolling Stone reported that Gauthier himself installed the security cameras, and his plan was, in the writer’s words, to “throw a white Tibetan yak-fur rug over his back and crawl to the garage on his hands and knees in the middle of the night” so those cameras would pick up what looked like Lee and Anderson’s dog. There was a recording studio in the house, and unfamiliar vehicles were frequently parked outside, so one more unrecognized vehicle wouldn’t raise any eyebrows.
Five nights before Halloween 1996, Gauthier made his move in the middle of the night while the Lees were sleeping upstairs. He moved the recording equipment in front of the carpeted wall concealing the safe, tipped the six-foot safe onto a dolly, strapped it down and put everything back in place. Once he drove off the property and spent an hour getting into the safe with help of a carbide-blade demolition saw, he discovered several personal effects inside, including a Rolex, a gold-and-diamond Cartier watch and the white bikini Anderson wore during their beach wedding. There was also the now-notorious Hi8 tape that eventually made more than $77 million in sales.
As previously reported by UCR, the couple’s tape became one of the first online celebrity sex scandals after being distributed by Internet Entertainment Group, whose founder, Seth Warshavsky, is portrayed in Pam & Tommy by Fred Hechinger. In 1998, Lee and Anderson filed a copyright-infringement suit against IEG, which they won in 2002.
Rather than make Gauthier rich and derail Lee’s career as planned, the sex tape scandal ended up taking the aggrieved electrician down another notch and adding to Lee’s fame. “I made his career is what happened,” said Gauthier. As Rolling Stone put it, “He would help cement the musician’s legacy, letting the world know he had one of the biggest dicks in rock ‘n’ roll.”
As of that 2014 story, Gauthier reportedly still worked as an electrician and grew marijuana in his garage near Santa Rosa, Calif.
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