Television

What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in the Pam & Tommy Episode With Hells Angels

Side by side photos of real Hells Angels and actors playing Hells Angels in Pam & Tommy
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Scott Olson/Getty Images and Hulu.

In the fourth episode of Hulu’s Pam & Tommy, the couple’s idyllic life of sex, drugs (for him), rock ’n’ roll, and constant renovations is shattered when they realize their safe is gone and with it the tape of their most intimate moments. Meanwhile, carpenter and sometime porn actor Rand Gauthier finds himself dodging a furious Tommy Lee’s investigators-cum-heavies who are determined to retrieve the tape. We look at what’s fact and what’s fiction.

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[Read: What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in Pam & Tommy Episodes 1–3]

Did Pam Suffer a Miscarriage in the Middle of All This?

When Tommy goes to put the first scan of their baby in the safe, he discovers it isn’t there. Pam immediately grasps the significance of the missing video and becomes increasingly frustrated at Tommy’s inability to, leading to trouble in paradise. After a big fight, she gets cramps and has to go to the hospital, where the couple learn she has had a miscarriage.

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This is partially correct, but the chronology is all mixed up for dramatic purposes. Anderson did suffer a miscarriage, but it was in late June 1995. The robbery didn’t take place until November 1995 and the vanished safe wasn’t discovered until January 1996, by which time Anderson was pregnant again. She gave birth to their first son, Brandon, in June 1996.

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In fact, the show has Lee and Anderson getting together on her birthday (which would have been in July 1995), but they actually met on New Year’s Eve 1994 and were married in February 1995.

Lee did not discover the safe had been removed when he went to put a baby scan in it. According to the Telegraph, Lee only became aware of the theft in January 1996 when the garage studio was being stripped for renovations. However, the Rolling Stone article on which the show is based says that as early as December 1995 a Daily Mail article mentioned that a video of the couple having sex on a yacht was supposedly on sale in Los Angeles, and it was at this point that the Lees investigated, found the safe was missing, and filed a police report.

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Also, a journalist who accompanied the couple during their weeklong Christmas 1995 visit to London and Scotland (where they had gone to get away from—what else?—renovations) recently wrote that at the time “Pam was devastated … ‘heartbroken’ and ‘embarrassed.’ Tommy was furious. Already pregnant with their first child, Pam said: ‘I don’t ever want our kids to see it. Why would anyone ever willingly release something like that?’ ” This suggests Anderson was aware the tape had been stolen by the end of 1995.

Lee was not quite so oblivious as to not notice a giant safe against the wall was missing until two months after its disappearance. In fact, he said, the safe was “hidden underneath a carpet in my studio control room in the garage,” so its absence would not have been immediately apparent unless you took up the carpet.

Did Tommy Employ Hells Angels to Get the Tape Back?

Rand comes to the office of his partner in crime, “anal specialist” porn producer Milton Ingley (Nick Offerman), to find Ingley has hired a gormless hippie to assume Rand’s duties of mailing out the videos. This turns out to be a stroke of luck for Rand when two Hells Angels, whom Tommy has engaged to track down the tape, show up at the office and beat up the hapless temp in a case of mistaken identity. Eventually realizing their mistake, the gang members set off in pursuit of the real Rand. Even before this, Rand has run into trouble with their new venture: He comes across a guy peddling discount bootleg copies of the Pam and Tommy tape out of the trunk of a car in a Tower Records parking lot. Rand is outraged as he sees his price point being undercut, but of course he is hardly in a position to go to the police.

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Lee and Mötley Crüe bandmate Nikki Sixx, both Harley-Davidson owners, had hung out with the Angels since the 1980s and sometimes called on them to provide security for the band. According to the Rolling Stone article, when some Hells Angels burst into Ingley’s office, they did indeed find not Gauthier but another Ingley Studios employee—Steve. Steve, however, wasn’t mailing out the sex tape; he was assisting a porn director. He confirmed that the bikers started dropping by frequently in the hope of catching Gauthier on the premises, at which point, as the show depicts, the carpenter would run out of the building to evade capture. (Gauthier also recollected that bikers were after him, but maintained they were part of a Mexican gang called the Bandidos.) And Gauthier did encounter bootlegs of the tape being sold out of the trunk of a car—by Steve. Far from being abashed, Steve advised Gauthier to do the same in case Ingley screwed him over (Steve maintains he made some $75,000 from selling almost 500 bootlegs).

Was Anthony Pellicano Really Such a Tough Guy?

Man wearing large sunglasses and holding a white blazer over his shoulder standing against a brick wall
Anthony Pellicano. Bob Riha Jr./WireImage
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Tommy and Pam hire private investigator Anthony Pellicano (Don Harvey) to search for the tape. The first thing he does is declare the motive for the theft must be “money or revenge” and asks, “Who has beef with you, Tommy?”—prompting a long list of just about everybody in the metal world. But the PI’s ears really perk up when Tommy mentions the surveillance camera was destroyed. Pellicano’s top suspect immediately becomes the person who installed it, namely Gauthier. He heads over to Gauthier’s studio in search of the tape, adding some forceful punches when the carpenter isn’t forthcoming.

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Pellicano did not identify Gauthier as the culprit quite so quickly. For one thing, Lee was not convinced moving the safe was a one-person job, and the first people he and Pam suspected were Troy Tompkins, the general contractor he had held at gunpoint along with Gauthier, and Tompkins’ wife, Dominique, because Tompkins had admired Lee’s guns while Dominique pointedly advised Anderson to keep her jewelry in the safe.

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Pellicano—whose celebrity clients included Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Tom Cruise, Courtney Love, and Roseanne Barr—was well known for employing unorthodox methods that could cross the line into illegality. When FBI agents raided Pellicano’s offices in 2002, they found thousands of hours of encrypted, illegally recorded conversations; the PI eventually received a 15-year prison sentence on 78 counts of wiretapping, racketeering, wire fraud, and other charges. However, we were unable to find an accusation of him personally using physical violence against Gauthier.

Correction, Feb. 10, 2022: Due to a production error, a photo caption in this piece originally misidentified Andrew Dice Clay as Don Harvey. The photo has been removed.

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