How a Criminal Found America's First Big Sex Tape

And distributed it with money from a mobster's son
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2014 6:20 PM CST
Updated Jan 3, 2015 7:00 AM CST
Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee are seen at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Palms Casino Resort on Sept. 9, 2007, in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

(Newser) – Remember an old sex tape, before Kim Kardashian, starring an actress and a rocker on a yacht? Well, the 1996 video that fully unveiled Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee only went public because an electrician stole it, a mobster's son funded it, and lawyers couldn't contain it, Rolling Stone reports. Los Angeles native Rand Gauthier was laying wires at Anderson and Lee's Malibu mansion in 1995 when his relationship with the celebrities went sour, and Lee told him at gunpoint to "get the f--k off my property." Stewing, Gauthier says, he stole a safe from the rock star's garage and found a Hi8 tape among the valuables. "We put it in and see what it is, and of course, cha-ching," he says. "The dollar signs fly before our eyes. But we're going, this is the kind of thing people will get killed over."

Even so, Gauthier teamed up with a porn producer to sell the video. They got funding from Louis Peraino, son of a New York mobster, to distribute the tape via newly created websites. Although the producer made money, Gauthier never did and says he ended up working collections for Peraino (throwing ammonia in people's faces and breaking collarbones) to pay off the debt. Lee and Anderson filed a $10 million civil suit to retrieve the video, but they couldn't stop it from going viral and later settled with a savvy distributor who was selling it online and in stores. Now Gauthier, who seems deflated, lives up the California coast doing electrical work again. "I believe in reincarnation, and this is kind of my vacation life," he says. "I have to come back and be really serious next time." See G-rated excerpts of the tape at Ultimate Classic Rock. (Read more sex tape stories.)

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