Pam & Tommy depicts Rand Gauthier’s theft of their sex tape, but did the real-life Rand ever face jail time for stealing and distributing their tape?
Hulu’s limited series Pam & Tommy takes a few liberties in retelling the story of the couple’s infamous sex tape leak, fuelling further questions about what happened to Rand Gauthier in real life and whether he ever got caught or went to jail for stealing the tape. Pam & Tommy dramatizes the true story of the whirlwind relationship between Pamela Anderson (Lily James) and Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan) and the drama that followed the theft and leak of their private sex tape by Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen). While the show stays true to most of the details provided by the 2014 Rolling Stone article the show is based on, it changes a few minor parts for the sake of the television format.
In Pam & Tommy episode 4, the couple finally realizes that the tape is missing from the safe Tommy kept in his garage. They hire a private investigator to try to track down the tape and the person who stole it. When the couple is asked if they have any enemies, they’re immediately able to list the disgruntled contractor Rand Gauthier, who becomes the prime suspect in the theft and the person the PI and the couple want to hunt down. However, the show is a little cleaner than the actual story and isn’t entirely true to what happened to Rand Gauthier in real life.
The real Rand Gauthier did break into Tommy’s vault and steal the tape in 1995 after being unceremoniously fired without pay for some contracting work on Pam and Tommy’s house renovations. He did eventually get caught as the original thief, but he never faced jail time for his actions due to Internet crime being such a new concept at the time (it’s still hard to define nowadays). In fact, most judges who got their hands on the case struggled with the legality of its distribution, and no one involved ever faced any enforceable legal repercussions for their actions. A few fines were passed down as slaps on the wrist, but Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee didn’t see any of the money or justice from their lawsuits, nor did Rand ever do any jail time for the theft and online distribution of the tape.
How The Real Rand Gauthier Stole Pam & Tommy’s Tape
In real life, Gauthier’s theft was surprisingly easy. Familiar with the house thanks to his work, Gauthier was able to break into the garage where Tommy kept his safe. Gauthier’s original goal was to take only Tommy’s guns and Pamela’s jewelry – he had no idea the tape existed. Thus began Gauthier’s race to capitalize on his findings, an act he saw as justifiable revenge given that Tommy Lee wouldn’t pay him for his work. For over two months, Pam and Tommy had no idea the safe was even gone. During that time, Gauthier teamed up with Milton Ingley, a.k.a Uncle Miltie, the ’90s pornography mogul, to start distributing the tape online. By the time Tommy and Pam realized the tape was missing, it had already been widely distributed and seen by thousands. When they hired Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano, they didn’t have a clear idea of who may have stolen the tapes, and it actually took much longer for them to narrow down the culprit.
In real life, by the time they were able to track down Gauthier, the tape had been seen by hundreds of thousands of people, copied hundreds of times, and reposted all over the Internet. There was very little Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee were able to do to stop the spread of the tape or seek justice. It’s likely Hulu’s Pam & Tommy amended the true story of Rand Gauthier’s theft and downfall for the sake of runtime and put Gauthier at the forefront of the story to make the most of Seth Rogen. Ultimately, though, the story isn’t about him, so his fate is left unexplored.
What Happened To Rand Gauthier In Real Life After The Tape Scandal?
Since Pam & Tommy doesn’t address the ending of Rand’s story much, the show leaves the questions around what happened to Rand Gauthier in real life open-ended. Once again, this is probably to help the show’s timing, but it’s an interesting consideration that adds context to the show. After causing an enormous Internet sex scandal that rocked the lives of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, the real Rand Gauthier was never imprisoned and didn’t see any significant legal repercussions or receive any reprimands. As of 2014, when he did an interview with Rolling Stone, Gauthier was continuing work as an electrician in Santa Rosa and growing marijuana on the side. For all intents and purposes, then, Gauthier made off just fine in real life, although the eponymous protagonists of Pam & Tommy weren’t so lucky.
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