Pam & Tommy: Did Pamela Anderson Smash Up A Paparazzi’s Car?

In Pam & Tommyepisode 4, “The Master Beta,” Pamela Anderson (played by Lily James) smashes the windshield of a paparazzi’s car after they stalk her on the way home from the hospital – but it’s unclear whether this is an accurate reflection of the true story. Most of the events portrayed in the episode were fairly accurate, including the hiring of Private Investigator Anthony Pellicano (Don Harvey) and Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan) siccing a biker gang on Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen) after he stole and distributed the titular couples’ private honeymoon tape. Unfortunately, the tragic miscarriage of Pam and Tommy’s first child was also very real.


The miscarriage occurred in late June 1995, absolutely devastating both parents. At the same time that Anderson and Lee were grieving the loss of their child, Rand Gauthier – a former porn star turned electrician with a grudge against Lee – was preparing to steal the safe kept in the couples’ Malibu mansion. Gauthier enacted his heist a few days before Halloween, finding the now-infamous tape upon opening the vault. Therefore, Pam & Tommy is not entirely accurate in its timeline, as the show sees the release of the tape causing Pam considerable stress and implying that it contributed to her miscarriage. In reality, however, the tape hadn’t even been stolen by the time of Anderson and Lee’s tragedy.

Pam & Tommy’s fourth episode concludes with the paparazzi following Pam and Tommy home after her miscarriage, horrifically trying to get pictures of a vulnerable Pam. The paparazzi are illustrated as being terribly violating in Pam & Tommy, but the true story was even worse. As Tommy Lee wrote in the Mötley Crüe autobiography, The Dirt:

“When Pamela collapsed and lost our first child due to a miscarriage (a Lee family curse, my mother said), the paparazzi were so intent on getting photos, they kept cutting off the ambulance on the way to the hospital.”

The intense level of public interest in Anderson’s personal life – even before the tape – became an unfathomable, unforgivable danger imposed on her mental and physical health at the time. However, despite the very real circumstances surrounding the dramatic incident, there is no record or evidence to suggest that Anderson ever violently retaliated with the paparazzi.

Why The Pam And Tommy Car Smashing Scene Caused Controversy

The scene in Pam & Tommy was most likely trying to bring some catharsis to a situation that unfortunately had none. In some ways, the whole show can be interpreted as an exercise in catharsis and rewriting false narratives by Pam & Tommy’s characters on behalf of the real people; however, the lack of involvement from Anderson and Lee as well as Anderson’s abject disapproval of the project make the ethics of the show questionable. After all, if the real Pamela Anderson is not feeling any vindication from Pam & Tommy, if she is gaining nothing from having the worst moments of her life relived, then the catharsis meant to come from a scene in which her on-screen counterpart smashes a windshield rings somewhat hollow. Though it is a narratively satisfying and beautifully executed scene, critics argue that, to some degree, it (and the show in its entirety) is only serving to provide a new, albeit more sympathetic, false narrative to replace the old one, and in doing so rubbing salt into wounds that should have long been left to heal.

For better or for worse, the show exists now, and its subject is both relevant and resonant. Pam & Tommy’s timeline may be a bit off, but a great deal of it is adapted with surprising precision from events described by Anderson and Lee in their many interviews over the years. Although the windshield smashing scene was not one of those, it made for a poignant and powerful ending to a deeply upsetting episode of Pam & Tommy.

How Accurate Is Pam And Tommy Overall?

Paparazzi-smashing aside, Pam & Tommy is decently accurate on the whole. The timing of certain events was changed, such as the days leading up to Pam and Tommy’s spontaneous marriage and the wildfire spreading of the tape. Other little details like Gauthier’s real profession (he was an electrician, not a carpenter), the manner in which he stole the safe, and Pamela Anderson’s Tonight Show appearance were also altered. But because Pam & Tommy is technically an adaptation of the 2014 Rolling Stone article, the show was under no legal obligation to consult the real couple about its events, and neither Pam nor Tommy were involved in its production. As a result, Pam & Tommy‘s overall depiction of events might be accurate-ish but would probably be viewed very differently by the real people who lived through it.

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