When 38-year-old Abraham Rodriguez was in high school in late-1990s Portland, he did not yet have a computer. This made it hard for him to tune into what was then the biggest cultural phenomenon of its time: online porn. Thankfully, his luckier peers found plenty of ways to distribute newly minted internet smut to the student masses. “There was a little culture in my school of kids printing hard copies of porn and nudie pics to show the kids that weren’t online yet,” he tells me. But with the risks of keeping porn on the family computer, the speed of dial-up and the cost of ink, they had to be selective about what they printed.
“That was done mostly for notorious nudes, like the Pam and Tommy tape,” he continues. “The talk around school was that the dude had a huge dong.”
The schoolyard talk was right — Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee does have a giant hog. Making its debut in the 1996 leaked sex tape between him and Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson, Lee proudly demonstrated his approximate eight inches in a home video he thought would stay between him and his wife. Shot POV-style on a boat during their Mexican honeymoon, it showed a side of celebrity intimacy that most people had never seen. There are blow jobs, pedicures, discussions about tomatoes, orgasmic “I love yous,” and, of course, a bunch of fucking. At one point, Lee even steers the boat with his dick.
Lee’s member wasn’t simply large, though — it was America’s first viral dick. Despite the burgeoning state of the internet in the late 1990s, it quickly became the most talked-about celebrity dong in Hollywood history, with everyone from shock jocks to late-night TV hosts frothing at the mouth about it for years to come. Howard Stern — who talked about the video incessantly on his show — once said, “It’s the greatest tape I have ever seen in my life.”
Decades later, the dick hasn’t lost steam. “We surveyed 100 people asking them to name a celebrity with a huge cock, and 100 percent of them said Tommy Lee,” said ex-Jackass cast member Steve-O in an August 2020 episode of his podcast, Steve-O’s Wild Ride, which featured Lee. “You are the poster child for having a big dick.” His cock even has its own role in the Hulu dramatization of the sex tape leak, Pam & Tommy, released on February 2nd. Speaking from its urethra, it briefly tries to convince Lee to think more with his dick than his heart before marrying Anderson days after meeting her. Apparently, it required four puppeteers to make it animatronic for the show.
Few other members have achieved such notoriety. When a Hollywood peen becomes part of the public discourse today — whether that be just discussions of the dick like with Pete Davidson, outlines of the dick like with Jon Hamm or actual photos of the dick itself like with Chris Evans — it amounts to a little more than a blip in pop culture. We’ll probably be using the term “big dick energy” for quite some time, but most of the public will continue to know the aforementioned celebrities for their work on (or in) SNL, Mad Men and Captain America, respectively. And sure, we’ll probably always know Lee as the drummer for Mötley Crüe, but we mainly know him for that huge dong.
Part of the reason for this is timing. Lee’s sex tape was created during an era where a couple could film themselves fucking on a tape casette, and it would only ever exist in that physical form. Coincidentally, this era was ending at the same time the tape was leaked. Though the couple initially tried to combat the distribution of their video in VHS form, it had already made its way to the hot new frontier of the internet thanks to sex-industry entrepreneurs who thought the web was the future of the adult industry. By 1997, it was everywhere, and for the first time, there wasn’t simply the novelty of a porno starring two celebrities to watch, but the novelty of an entirely new way to watch it, too. And so, Lee’s dick wasn’t just big, but the first celebrity big dick on the internet.
There was also something shocking about Lee’s nude body and the way it stood up to Anderson’s. When stills from the sex tape first began circulating in Penthouse in June 1996, she was the obvious focus — it had been years since Mötley Crüe had peaked, and she was still in the prime of her career. Unsurprisingly, fans — particularly the type to buy Penthouse — were interested in seeing her naked, above all else. That said, she’d already posed for Playboy on several occasions. People knew of her physical traits, and being unclothed didn’t exactly make them a surprise. With the tape, however, Lee’s own strengths were the new element, and he quickly became the tape’s sleeper star. You knew Anderson was going to look good in it, but you had to see the tape for yourself to know whether people were really telling the truth about Lee’s dick. And because not everyone had a computer with an internet connection to view it with, the mythos only grew.
Like Rodriguez, Jackie, a Twitter respondent who recalls the leak, tells me that it became an “immediate urban legend” among his fellow male teenage friends. “Having claimed to have seen it on the playground became something of an untestable humblebrag, not unlike having a boyfriend/girlfriend at summer camp,” he tells me. Another Twitter respondent who was in high school at the time said that all anyone who had seen the tape at the time could talk about was the size of Lee’s dick.
His penis has even continued to play a role in how we talk about Anderson. In her 2005 Comedy Central Roast, it took only six minutes before roastmaster Jimmy Kimmel mentioned Lee’s horse-like feature. Thirty seconds later, he does it again. Nearly every comedian and celebrity invited to roast Anderson next brings it up, too. “[Lee’s] cock is so huge I had to fast-forward the tape to see all of it,” joked Greg Giraldo. Nick DiPaolo had a good one-liner, too: “I haven’t seen a bigger dick on a boat since I went yachting with Donald Trump.” All this in a roast that’s, again, supposed to be targeted at Anderson.
Lee hasn’t made many public statements about his dick size, except for a rap-rock satirization of the scandal called “Get Naked” featuring Fred Durst and Lil’ Kim under Lee’s solo project, Methods of Mayhem. “Clitorises are fearin’ me, it’s bigger than Ron Jeremy,” Lee says in one verse. In the music video, for most of which he’s apparently naked, he also famously holds a large remote control up to his crotch, as if it were his penis.
Apart from that, his actual dick likely goes much deeper than his thoughts about it. In 2004, when Blender asked him when he first realized that he had a big dick, he responded, “Probably when I started fuckin’ around with porno stars. ‘Cause they see a lot of dick. That’s their job, right? So they see a lot. And then you hear from a girl, ‘Fuck! You’ve got a huge dick!’ You’re like, ‘Wow, right on! Really? Compared to what?’ And then you realize: compared to all kinds of dicks!” Other than that, there’s really not much else for Lee to say on the matter.
Us, though? Nearly 30 years later, we’re still finding new ways to talk about it. Even when another celebrity’s big dick makes headlines, it pales in comparison (publicity-wise, not necessarily size-wise). It turns out that Tommy Lee’s dick is so big that there’s just not enough room in our hearts for anyone else’s.