recent years, the kingdom of the text has been of a place of cultural evaluation of famous women torn apart by the invisible hands of misogyny. A series of documentaries and investigative pieces surrounding Britney Spears, as well as the fan-based #FreeBritney movement, led to the end of the pop star’s brutal detention. Janet Jackson’s doctor revisited her unconscious treatment after that Super Bowl wardrobe mishap, while two documentaries at this year’s Sundance examine the nauseating child sexual abuse and merchandising of Brooke Shields.
Netflix is now focusing on the abuse of ’90s icon Pamela Anderson in Pamela, a love storya new film premiering on January 31 – the same day as his anniversary, Love, Pamela hits the shelves. Directed by Ryan White (Guards), is an adaptation that allows Anderson to walk the audience through his life. In her own words, Anderson recalls her early years growing up in rural Canada, which includes several dark periods – she was abused by her childhood babysitter, and raped by her boyfriend’s older brother, who was 25 years old, when she was 12-year-old – and his discovery. on the jumbotron at the BC Lions Canadian Football League Game. His story covers him Playboy take off, Baywatch star, animal rights activism and Roxie Hart’s redemptive role in the Broadway musical. Chicago! Its psychedelic approach, with Anderson at times narrating from his childhood memories and an adult diary, and the off-the-wall feel provide an intimacy that is usually missing from such efforts.
One of the highlights of the documentary, of course, is the leaked VHS tape of Anderson and her then-husband, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, engaging in a series of sex acts on a boat, and elsewhere. It was the first celebrity sex tape to hit the Internet, turning Anderson into a media sensation. The scenes of Matt Lauer, Howard Stern and Jay Leno teasing him and lifting him up on tape will make you cringe. Anderson claims that the tapes were “stolen” from their home, and that the leak damaged not only his career but his credibility in the public eye.
“After that, it seemed like that reinforced the cartoon image, too. You become a puppet,” he shares in the film. “I think that was the deterioration of any image I had … I knew then that my work was done.”
As Anderson, now 55, tells it, she and Lee had just had a baby and were six months into building their new home when someone — she still doesn’t know who — stole Lee’s gun safe, though ” the size of a refrigerator” and is behind a carpeted wall. The safe was filled with Lee’s weapons and personal memorabilia, as well as a series of tapes of them being “goofballs” and fooling around on camera during their honeymoon phase. The tapes were then stitched together. , so that it gave the impression of being a “sex tape” against a series of personal events.
“One day, we got something in the mail. It was wrapped in brown paper. Tommy opened it. It was a VHS tape,” Anderson recalls. “Tommy told me to go upstairs, and he watched it. I didn’t watch it – I never watched it. Later, he comes up and goes, ‘This is going to be confusing. This is a VHS tape of us having sex.’”
The balcony founder Bob Guccione offered to buy the rights to the tape for $5 million in cash, but Anderson and Lee said, “Fuck you, give us back our tapes.” Unfortunately, it was the nineties, and the Internet had just come to life. The video not only spread like wildfire but was also widely produced by Seth Warshavsky of the Internet Entertainment Group (IEG), who distributed the video without the couple’s consent.
“This was stolen from our house,” Anderson says. “There is no way people can steal something from your house and sell it to the whole world.”
He and Lee ended up suing Warshavksy and IEG for their sale of the tapes, in what was at the time a landmark privacy rights case. At the time of the trial, Anderson was pregnant and worried that the stress would affect her child’s health, as she had already had a miscarriage. That didn’t stop the opposing team’s lawyers from tearing him apart in court, especially in a bad fashion for women.
“The lawyers basically said, you’re in Playboy. You have no right to privacy,” recalls Anderson. “They would ask about my sex life. And I kept thinking, ‘How am I being asked about my sexuality, and my interests, and my body parts, and where I like to have sex when it’s stolen property?’ It made me feel like a very bad woman. I was just a piece of meat. This shouldn’t mean anything to me because I’m a whore, basically.
He continues, “It felt like rape. It doesn’t bring up anything very serious from my childhood, but when I was attacked by this man, I thought everyone would know. When the tape was stolen, it felt like that. And the allegations were very brutal. I remember looking at them and thinking, ‘Why do they hate me so much? Why these? grown men hate me so much?!’”
Ultimately, to protect the health of their future child and free Anderson from his hellish treatment, the couple agreed to settle the case — though Anderson claims, “We never did anything. [the tape]. And I hate it when people say we settled on something. We have not settled for anything. We’ve told everyone to get lost… You can’t put a monetary number on the pain and suffering it’s caused.”
While discussing the sex tape saga, and how he was treated by the media, Anderson seems shaken. He tells the producers he’s not feeling well and is walking around his property to clear his head.
Unfortunately, the whole thing was ruined again by the arrival of Pam & Tommy, a Hulu comedy produced by Seth Rogen, starring Lily James as Anderson and Sebastian Stan as Lee, and which chronicles not only their romance but the heist and production of a mass sex tape. We see him in the documentary fighting the release of the series in real time.
“It gives me nightmares. Last night I didn’t sleep at all. I have no desire to watch it,” he says. “I don’t want to watch it. I’ve never watched the tape; I’m not going to watch this. Who knows how they’re going to show it? Nobody knows what we were going through at the time. They had to get my permission.”
He continues: “This is felt when the tape was stolen. Basically, you are something that belongs to the world – like, you belong to the world. I just feel like it’s… just ignore them. Let it go.”