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Fact-Checking Pam & Tommy: Do They Really Figure Out Rand Stole the Tape?

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In this week’s episode of Pam & Tommy, the Hulu series based on the real-life 1995 theft of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s sex tape, Lee (Sebastian Stan) finally realizes that his safe has been stolen — though it’s Lily James’ Anderson who reminds him that their private tape is among its precious contents. When they consult a private investigator to track down the burglar, they’re asked to run down a list of potential enemies, and though Lee has an impressive list, they quickly arrive at disgruntled contractor Rand Gauthier, unceremoniously fired earlier that year, as the prime suspect. So: Did Anderson and Lee really figure out it was Gauthier that quickly, or did Pam & Tommy take creative license to make Rand (Seth Rogen) play a larger role in the story?

According to the 2014 Rolling Stone article upon which the Hulu series is largely based, Playboy star Anderson and Mötley Crue drummer Lee were in fact aware of Gauthier as one of the perpetrators in the theft and distribution of their sex tape, but it appears they became aware of him by first tracking down the involvement of porn studio owner Milton Ingley (played by Nick Offerman in the series) — not from recognizing that the contractor they’d stiffed and threatened wanted revenge. Here’s how Amanda Chicago Lewis described it in her 2014 Rolling Stone article first exposing Rand Gauthier’s involvement to the public.

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In the middle of January 1996, they noticed [the safe was missing]. Horrified, they filed a police report and hired Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano to suss out what had happened,” Lewis writes. “Pellicano later told the Lees’ lawyers that he tracked down [Milton] Ingley, who admitted he had a copy of the tape but claimed to have bought it from Guerin Swing, the interior designer.”

The next passage from Rolling Stone also closely mirrors a scene from episode 4 of Pam & Tommy, in which an associate from Milton’s studio is mistaken for Rand and attacked.

“Soon after, [associate Steve] Fasanella was at Ingley’s studio…All of a sudden, they heard motorcycles revving outside, and then five or six big bikers burst into the room,” the article continues. “‘You — where’s the f**king tape!’ one said to Fasanella, and pointed a shotgun at his testicles. The bikers had a VHS box cover from a porno that Gauthier had done a few years back…He held the tattered, creased box cover up to Fasanella’s face and squinted his eyes. Both Fasanella and Gauthier were buff and looked vaguely Italian. The bikers debated amongst themselves whether Fasanella was the guy in the photograph.”

Per the article, Lee and Anderson certainly did send threats after Gauthier over his involvement as depicted in the series, and even ultimately included him in a lawsuit regarding the theft.

“The bikers started coming by the studio every few days, sometimes twice a day, looking for Gauthier and Ingley,” Lewis writes. “On March 29th, 1996, [Anderson and Lee] filed a $10 million civil lawsuit against everyone they thought might have a copy, including Penthouse, Ingley, Gauthier, Tompkins, Sardell and Swing.”

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Seth Rogen in ‘Pam & Tommy’ Erica Parise/Hulu.

One area where the series wasn’t quite as faithful? While Gauthier claimed to Rolling Stone in 2014 that he’d completed the theft alone, as depicted in the series, author Lewis notes that friends of Gauthier’s recall a different story back in 1995 — and that general contractor Troy Tompkins and his wife Dominique Sardell were actually early suspects of Anderson and Lee’s, before they ever looked at Gauthier for possible involvement. Like Gauthier, the husband-and-wife duo had been fired without reimbursement for the work done so far.

“Friends of Gauthier’s, however, say he told a different story back in 1995 and 1996,” Lewis writes. “One source alleges Troy Tompkins, the general contractor who was held at gunpoint with Gauthier, helped plan the heist from the start and was waiting in a pick-up truck. Tompkins’ wife at the time, a French woman named Dominique Sardell, had been doing work on Anderson’s condo, and was fired along with Gauthier and her husband. Months later, when the Lees finally discovered the safe was missing, Tompkins and Sardell were the first people they suspected, as Tompkins had gushed over Lee’s guns, and Sardell had advised Anderson to keep her jewelry in the safe, to protect it.”

Tuning in to Pam & Tommy? Read on for instructions on how to stream the series free with a Hulu trial.

How to watch Pam & Tommy for free

You can watch Pam & Tommy on Hulu for free by subscribing to either the ad-supported plan or the no-ads plan. With both plans, you can watch Hulu original and exclusive content any time you want for the first 30 days of your plan. After that, the price points will kick in. Hulu’s ad-support subscription means that you’ll watch your favorite shows and movies with some advertising interruptions from time to time. After your 30-day free trial, the $6.99/month (or $69.99/year) begins.

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But let’s say you’re not particularly keen on having ads interrupt your viewing time. Hulu’s no-ad plan is just a smidge more expensive. After your 30-day free trial, the no-ad subscription plan will kick in at $12.99/month. There is no annual option for this plan. Either way, you’ll get to watch Pam & Tommy for free for the first 30 days of subscription. And you can cancel at anytime.

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