Lake Bell Reveals ‘Humiliating’ Nude Photo Leak Led to Directing ‘Pam & Tommy’

"The disorientation that Pam Anderson felt when her stuff went viral, I just have that knowledge."
Lake Bell, Lily James, Pam and Tommy
Lake Bell, Lily James in "Pam & Tommy"
Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection, Hulu

Lake Bell has found common ground with Pamela Anderson, thanks to the disturbing cycle of exploiting celebrity women.

Eight years after Bell’s nude photo leak as part of the infamous 2014 Celebgate hack, the “Bless This Mess” director, co-creator, and star is publicly opening up about the experience.

“It was an unreal tsunami in the industry for private property being stolen by a hacking, and I was one of those people,” Bell told Insider. “I remember having to talk to an FBI recovering agent for a week or so about that property being stolen and it was so humiliating, and for me, it was so personal.”

The viral Celebgate led to hundreds of nude images of 101 celebrities being posted on 4chan; Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and Kaley Cuoco were also among those who were affected and spoke out about the violation. Five individuals were later charged and sentenced from  nine to 34 months in prison.

Bell revisited her Celebgate experience after being contacted to direct Hulu series “Pam & Tommy” about the fallout of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s sex tape being stolen and distributed worldwide.

“Reading through the series, I realized this is shockingly intelligent in its way of addressing exploitation while allowing for the viewer to laugh and enjoy,” Bell said. “The disorientation that Pam Anderson felt when her stuff went viral, which wasn’t even the word at the time, I just have that knowledge. When I got hacked I went, ‘Fuck!’ It feels gross.”

Bell signed on to direct Episode 7 of the series, in which Anderson (Lily James) and Lee (Sebastian Stan) are fully immersed in grappling with the scandal.

“Lily and I just connected about it and it became about how do we take this story and do it justice by not allowing for exploitation to yet again be the focal point,” Bell continued. “I can only speak to my own experience of the exploitation of my own personal property, and so I just kind of connected through that.”

And Bell felt a connection to the real-life Anderson, due to their shared experience in the limelight.

“When the hack happened I wasn’t like, ‘I don’t even know what you’re talking about,’ but with Pam, she says, ‘There could be hundreds of copies out there,’ and it’s just like, ‘Bless.’ Because in reality, even back then, it was millions,” Bell said. “The biggest takeaway for me was Pam Anderson is not a pushover. She was a person who made strong choices and understood what her boundaries were, and those boundaries were compromised.”

Bell concluded, “Most actors can connect with the idea that just because I posed on the cover of a magazine naked, which I have done a couple of times, it doesn’t mean you can take naked photos that I took on my wedding night and put them out on the internet.”

Actress James exclusively told IndieWire that she believes society as a whole was “complicit” in the mistreatment of Anderson.

“You can relate to a lot of things purely as a woman because, unfortunately, whether you’re Pamela Anderson [or not] there are moments of sexism, or misogyny, or double standards where you’re not treated the same as your male co-worker. It’s sort of an age-old story,” James said. “You’re undermined or you’re patronized. Your sexuality is weaponized. It felt like really huge themes that are so understandable and relatable beyond the exact story of what happened to Pamela Anderson.”

Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.