In the latest episode of Hulu’s Pam and Tommy, which details both the tumultuous marriage of actress/model Pamela Anderson and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee and the rapid release of their stolen private sex tape, Anderson (played by Lily James) tells Lee (Sebastian Stan) that “It’s finish”. These two words are deeply embedded in the moment – it is not really more than; What is that more than was the release of the sex tape (stolen by a disgruntled entrepreneur named Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen in the series) without any guardrails; people would now have to pay a company called the Internet Entertainment Group to view it. Anderson never consented for this video to be around the world until she literally had no other choice.And the moment she made the decision to sign the paperwork allowing the tape to be legally sold online , thus cutting off its broadcast somewhere, the damage was already done. His film debut Barbed wire, flopped, she couldn’t land roles in LA Confidential Where Austin Powers, and the strain and stress of releasing the sex tape had shattered whatever magic she thought she had found in her supernova-like relationship with Lee.
As Pam and Tommy depicted, the tape, which had first been stolen by Gauthier, had then been illegally copied and sold as contraband. But the shit really hit the fan when it was uploaded online and streamed for free – something Anderson and Lee couldn’t do anything about. So, Seth Warshavsky, founder of IEG, where the video was shown, came to the couple with an offer. They can leave the video stream free for everyone to see, or they can license the rights to him and his company, allowing him to enjoy it – and no one else. Not exactly the best choice. But Anderson, as the show shows, recognized that some guardrails were better than none, and that the real damage had already been done. She wanted the bleeding to stop and she eventually convinced Lee to sign the rights to the video as well.
In what ultimately turned out to be a tale of greed and bad choices, Warshavsky turned out to be At Pam and Tommy’s evil ultimate capitalist. Discovering the pickle he could put Anderson and Lee into by downloading the video and streaming it for free, he nailed the nail in the coffin that either could ever escape the salacious video.
And Warshavsky became rich and famous — infamous, really — off-strip, which ultimately led to a pretty remarkable profile being built in his online business. Here’s what we know about Seth Warshavsky’s real life.
Who is Seth Warshavsky?
Warshavsky is best known as the founder of the Internet Entertainment Group, a company that led the online pornography explosion of the 90s and brought him media attention as the leader of one of the only parts of the booming internet economy that was making money.
A Salon.com story titled Warshavsky, who was just 24 when IEG peaked in 1997 as the “public face of online pornography.”
In one Wired profile – where he claimed his site would make $20 million in 1997 – he also described his content strategy in fairly basic terms. “Sex sells,” he said. “If widgets sold as well as sex, I would sell widgets – but, unfortunately, it doesn’t.”
He continued later in the play. “You really never lose,” he said. “It’s cheaper to produce than mainstream content, and it’s easier to sell.”
As detailed in the Wired story, Warshavsky basically set up IEG’s flagship website, Clublove, in a large converted warehouse in Seattle. Four separate sets were built and 14 women worked in the warehouse, and they were streamed online in what’s compared to a grainy online peep show.
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A particular part of Pam and Tommy that rings true is when Warshavsky learns he’s being chased by Lee and Anderson – and is especially excited. From the portrayal of the Hulu series, we’re clearly meant to read that this guy loved attention and seemed to have the “all publicity is good publicity” line of thinking. As well as Anderson and Lee’s tape, the real Warshavsky has also been embroiled in a number of scandals, including unreleased videos of actor Kelsey Grammer, as well as another of Anderson with rocker Poison. Bret Michaels. Nude photos of Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Tori Spelling and Keith Richards were among those that ended up on IEG’s sites.
Warshavsky has made a name for himself in infamy; In 1997, he also made the cover of the Wall Street Journal in an article titled “As Other Internet Ventures Fail, Sex Sites Are Raking in Millions”, and in 1999 he made Time‘s 50 Most Important People in Technology (at No. 40) alongside Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.
Fred Hechinger plays Seth Warshavsky in Pam and Tommy.
If Warshavsky in Pam and Tommy sounded familiar, that’s because Fred Hechinger, the 22-year-old actor who plays him, has been on a particularly hot streak in recent years. Hechinger’s first major role was in Bo Burnham Eigth year in 2018, but he really exploded in 2021 in a variety of major roles.
Some might recognize this from the bad but widely viewed film adaptation of The woman at the window which debuted on Netflix, while others may have seen it in the streamer street of fear trilogy. Our favorite, however, was her role in HBO’s satire/dark comedy/murder mystery. The White Lotus, where he played Quinn, son of Steve Zahn and Connie Britton and brother of Sydney Sweeney.
Where is Seth Warshavsky now?
In 2002, Anderson and Lee won a $90 million lawsuit against Warshavsky and IEG, claiming they deserved a share of the money he made selling hard copies of the film (via a deal with a company called VividEntertainment). fees from places where the video has already been uploaded, and the video itself.
A judge ordered that Lee and Anderson be paid $740,000 each, but, according to rolling stone, they never saw the money; Warshavsky’s business had already gone bankrupt and he fled to Bangkok, Thailand. It is believed to still reside there today.
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