- Kevin Blatt is a top celebrity sex tape broker. He buys and sells sex tapes, including Paris Hilton’s “One Night in Paris.”
- Blatt said Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee’s stolen sex tape, the topic of a new Hulu series, changed his industry forever.
- Since the tape went viral, other celebrities have unsuccessfully tried to recreate its voyeuristic vibe, Blatt said.
“Pam & Tommy,”
‘s new series about tabloid-favorite couple Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, takes viewers back to 1996, when they became the first celebrities to have a sex tape go viral.
Since they never intended to share it with the world, their tape had a raw and voyeuristic quality that mainstream porn couldn’t replicate, journalist Amanda Chicago Lewis wrote in 2014 for Rolling Stone — an article that inspired movie director Robert Siegel to make the miniseries that debuts this week.
In the years since the leak, celebrities like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian have tried to recreate that forbidden viewing quality with some success, Kevin Blatt, a top Hollywood top sex tape broker who distributed Hilton’s “One Night in Paris,” told Insider.
But nothing can compare to the illicit nature and shock value of Anderson and Lee’s tape, according to Blatt, who has sold sex tapes since 1996.
“You were looking at something that you felt that you weren’t supposed to see, and that’s the true value in any celebrity sex tape, having that weird feeling like, ‘Oh, I’m not supposed to see this,'” Blatt told Insider.
Now the law requires that anyone in a pornographic film give proof they’re over 18, making a stolen one illegal to distribute. It’s now near impossible for something so private to go viral.
Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee had no idea a private VHS could go viral
Anderson and Lee were tabloid stars in the early 1990s, just as the porn industry was taking off online, capitalizing on the newly available internet and its file sharing capabilities. It created the perfect storm for their private sex tape, which they filmed in 1995, to go viral.
Electrician Rand Gauthier, who Lee and Anderson fired from their Malibu house renovation project, stole the couple’s safe out of spite, according to Lewis’ reporting. He later found the sex tape inside, and sold it, unintentionally pushing Lee and Anderson into greater fame.
The internet was in its infancy at that time, with a small fraction of today’s users and abysmally slow download speeds. There wasn’t yet a concern that a private VHS could become an internet phenomenon.
“It’s why Pam and Tommy Lee were like, ‘This thing called the internet, no one’s on this thing. Who’s going to see us having sex? It’s no big deal.’ Boy, were they wrong,” Blatt said.
The tape took almost a day to download — but it was worth it, Blatt said
At first, viewers had to buy bootlegged VHS tapes, which could cost between $60 and $175, on the black market. But as more people caught wind of the sex tape’s contents, it became an internet sensation and grossed $77 million in less than a year.
Blatt, who started sex tape brokering around the same time, said it took him 16 hours to download Anderson and Lee’s tape with his dial-up connection. Once he had the file, the quality was choppy, but still worth the wait, Blatt said.
Though Lee threatened a lawsuit against the tape’s distributors, he didn’t see it through until 2002. Lee and Anderson never got the $740,000 the judge ruled they each won for the stolen footage.
Most ‘leaked’ celebrity sex tapes today are an illusion, said Blatt
Since then, the law has caught up to the world of internet sex tapes. In 2006, a new federal law called USC 2257 made it a requirement people in online erotic content must prove they’re over 18. Otherwise, the content is illegal and, especially in the case of celebrities, likely to be removed.
Today, anyone can film a sex tape on their smartphone and watch homemade sexually explicit content on OnlyFans. But in Blatt’s view, the shock value of voyeuristic porn will never fade, no matter how common it becomes.
“There’s this insatiable appetite for all things sex. The true value in any celebrity sex tape is having that weird feeling like, ‘Oh, I’m not supposed to see this,'” he said.
Original posted at www.insider.com