'Pam & Tommy' Is 'Like Re-Opening a Wound' for Pamela Anderson, Says Source

"It's unfair that she is being re-subjected to this trauma, like re-opening a wound," a source tells PEOPLE

Hulu's new series, Pam & Tommy is revisiting "a very traumatic time" of Pamela Anderson's life, a source tells PEOPLE.

In the late '90s, Anderson and then-husband Tommy Lee were at the center of a scandal when a safe containing an almost hour-long sex tape, which had been filmed during their honeymoon, was stolen by a disgruntled former employee who leaked the tape to the public.

Following the premiere of Hulu's eight-episode limited series on Wednesday, the source, who was close to the situation at the time, says "there's a sense that the show is re-exploiting Pamela."

"After the tape was made public, it was a very traumatizing situation and it's unfair that she is being re-subjected to this trauma, like re-opening a wound," the source says.

"Pamela deserves a level of respect. She's a human being and a mom. There's a sense of hypocrisy about it. It's her life and she should have the decision [as to] whether it's turned into a commodity for public consumption," the source continues.

pamela anderson
Pamela Anderson. John Phillips/amfAR/Getty

Anderson became hugely famous after she was on Baywatch and after she married Lee. "Then when [the leaked sex tape] happened, there were paparazzi following her and always outside of her home. She was not seeking any more attention — she had enough," the source says.

"If you go back to her Playboy [cover], she always had the perspective that that was her conscious choice," the source says. "But somebody taking her personal home movie, that was not her choice. When someone steals your home movie, that is criminal and that's a violation. That was her privacy."

The source adds, "This was a very traumatic time of her life. She's a really good person and I think all she's really ever wanted was to be married and have a partner and have a nice life."

The first three episodes of Pam & Tommy were released on Hulu on Wednesday. The miniseries, which stars Lily James as Pam and Sebastian Stan as Tommy, recounts the former couple's four-day courtship leading up to their wedding on a Mexican beach in 1995, as well as the making and subsequent scandal of their sex tape.

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At the time, Anderson and Lee tried to block the video's release by suing the distributor, Internet Entertainment Group. They eventually reached a confidential settlement but the tape was still released publicly.

"I've never seen it. I made not one dollar. It was stolen property. We made a deal to stop all the shenanigans," Anderson said on Watch What Happens Live in 2015.

"I was seven months pregnant with [son] Dylan and thinking it was affecting the pregnancy with the stress and said, 'I'm not going to court anymore. I'm not being deposed anymore by these horny, weird lawyer men. I don't want to talk about my vagina anymore or my public sex — anything,' " Anderson said at the time.

Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee at the Planet Boom in North Hollywood, California
Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee in 1996. Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

Earlier this month, James, 32, revealed in a cover story for Net-a-Porter's Porter that she reached out to Anderson ahead of shooting the series in hopes of having her involved in the project. However, James said she didn't get a response.

"I was really hopeful that she would be involved. I wish it had been different," James told the outlet. "My sole intention was to take care of the story and to play Pamela authentically. I was very hopeful that we would be in touch right up until we started filming."

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Though Anderson has not commented on the show, her friend Courtney Love didn't hold back her feelings while addressing the series on Facebook last May.

"I find this so f—ing outrageous," Love wrote in her post. "When Pam / Tommy sex tape was out / myself @pattyschemel @xmadmx were making a record. And the lone women in many recording studios in LA. Where all / ALL! The staff engineers / producers / owners / were watching the sex tape with huge schadenfraude.. Guffaws, It was disgusting. I banned anyone discussing it.. It destroyed my friend Pamelas life. Utterly."

Love also called out James, writing, "My heart goes out to Pammy ♥️♥️ further causing her complex trauma. And shame on Lily James whoever the f— she is. #vile."

Updated by Liz McNeil
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