The Salacious History of Hollywood Sex Tapes

Hello, and welcome to The Reheat! Each week, I write a column summarizing the highlights of the podcast I co-host with Sadaf Ahsan. Our podcast, also titled The Reheat (what a coincidence!), re-examines the most salacious scandals of yester-year through a contemporary lens. Whether it’s a deep dive into Bennifer’s original love story from the 2000s or a meditation on the time princess Anne was almost kidnapped, we explain why each saga captured our imaginations back in the day. Sadaf and I also ask, would these stories be as scandalous if they happened in 2021? The answers to that question might surprise you!

Photo by Shiny Diamond




Whenever we release a new episode, I’ll share some of the juiciest tidbits right here, for Addicted Magazine’s lovely readers. Obviously, we hope these columns tantalize you enough to listen to our podcast. That’s where you’ll learn the fascinating details I don’t share here…

This week’s installment of The Reheat explores the history of celebrity sex tapes. From Rob Lowe to Paris Hilton, we’lll give listerns nothing but the naked truth (pun intended because I couldn’t resist!). And while we are sex-positive podcasters who do not wish to judge anyone who makes or purposely leaks a sex tape (as long as all parties involved consent!), this episode focuses on videos that were released without permission from the people who made them.


Rob Lowe Thinks His Sex Tape Was The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Him 

Rob Lowe has gone on record saying his 1988 sex tape, which leaked without his consent, was “the best thing” that ever happened to him. While the scandal inspired Lowe to get sober and settle down to have a family, claiming this leaked sex tape was a net positive is pretty tone-deaf. After all, Lowe wasn’t the only person on that tape! The home video also featured two people he met at Atlanta’s Club Rio, one of whom was a sixteen-year-old girl. That teen was technically old enough to consent to sexual activity, according to Georgia law; however, she was still a child who didn’t deserve to be slutshamed and mocked by the entire world!

Lowe’s opinion that his sex tape – an artifact which no doubt humiliated a young girl – was the best thing that ever happened to him is self-centred and gross.  Develop some empathy, dude!


Paris Hilton’s Sex Tape Was Basically Revenge Porn 

When she was 18 years old, Paris Hilton recorded a sex tape with Rick Salomon, a 33-year-old Poker player. At the time of its recording, Paris thought she was in love with Salomon and participated in the tape to make him happy. In 2004, Salomon released the tape without his ex-girlfriend’s consent. Adding insult to serious emotional injury, that POS made millions in the process. Because the 00s were a bleak time – a time before we as a society had a robust understanding of Revenge Porn – Paris was derided for the tape pretty much everywhere, and as was the case with this SNL skit, she was expected to laugh along, like an automaton. No one in the mainstream media worried about how the leaked footage might affect her wellbeing!

If you’d like to watch a candid explanation of how traumatic the sex tape’s release was for Hilton, we recommend her 2020 documentary, This Is Paris. Basically, we were all assholes for slutshaming a young girl whose boyfriend sold her out, and This Is Paris makes that clear.


Ray J Wants Us To Remember His Sex Tape With Kim Kardashian

In ‘07, a sex tape of Kim Kardashian and ex-boyfriend Ray J was leaked. Kim maintains she never wanted the tape released to the world. Still, the superstar admits it helped make her famous. Today, the reality star turned entrepreneur has arguably transcended the scandal that made her infamous before she was famous. Both Kim and Ray J earn royalties from their (still) popular vintage sex tape. But while Kim prefers to focus on business ventures like her shapewear empire, Ray J seems less eager to move on from the video…

In 2013, the recording artist released a single that is “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” totally not at all about Kim. The song’s title is “I Hit It First,” and it contains such choice lyrics as: “She might move on to rappers and ballplayers, but we all know I hit it first.” Obviously, those lyrics do not describe Kim at all, because it’s not like she went on to marry and divorce that basketball player called what’s-his-name (I believe that’s his legal name, right)? Nor did Kim wed and have several children with Kanye West. Oh wait, that’s exactly what she did!

When your ex is still writing singles about you years after a breakup, methinks it’s time for him to move on. Ray J is certainly capable of writing a good hook. But personally, I’d prefer not to hear any more songs about his hookup with Kim. Just me?

*Image via Complex Original

Sarah Sahagian

Sarah Sahagian

Sarah Sahagian is a feminist writer based in Toronto. Her byline has appeared in such publications as Elle Canada, Flare, Bitch Media, The Toronto Star, and The National Post. She is also the co-host of You Do You: A Dating Podcast. Sarah holds a master’s degree in Gender Studies from The London School of Economics. You can find her on Twitter, where she posts about politics and live-tweets The Bachelor