Paris Hilton's sex-tape partner wants to make two things perfectly clear: All those grainy bootlegged clips of him being serviced by the hotel heiress? Not his doing.
But that brand-new, full-length, pay-per-view download with "stunning crisp images" of him being, well, you know...? His doing.
"I didn't think this tape was going to be this giant. This tape is [worth] way too much money. And it's a beautiful tape," Rick Salomon said Tuesday. "Everyone's going to enjoy it, I think."
Maybe not quite everyone.
Conceded Salomon: "Paris Hilton's not going to be too stoked, no."
The potential source of her consternation: TrustFundGirls.com, the new site established by Salomon and his brother Jim for the purpose of hosting--and selling--the most notorious celebrity sex tape since Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee went boating. (Warning: The site's front door leaves little doubt as to the adult nature of the content inside.)
For a price ($50 for five plays over a five-day period), fans of intimate theater can watch "over 37 minutes of high quality footage"--as well as those aforementioned "stunning crisp images"--of Hilton and ex-boyfriend Salomon engaging in the not so simple life in a May 2001 romp.
Salomon said he expects to make "anywhere from $30 to $100 million" from the sale of downloads. He couldn't comment on whether Hilton, now a Fox reality TV star who turned 23 Tuesday, signed off on the pay-per-view venture, and whether she was to receive a cut of the profits.
Hilton's management and legal team had no comment, although her lawyer's office noted that, as previously stated in court papers, the Fox star has rejected any settlement offers relating to a pay-per-view deal. According to Salomon's lawyer, Marty Singer, no such offer was ever made.
TrustFundGirls.com had its nationwide coming-out party last Wednesday on Howard Stern's radio show. (Stern raved about the picture quality.) At the time, Salomon's name wasn't linked to the site. He said he wanted to test the response--"make sure it was giant."
Without citing specific numbers, Salomon said that response has indeed been giant and that he's ready to promote the site "full blast," including outing himself as the tape supplier.
"All's I know [is], I got the rights. It's my video. I shot it. I own it. My camera. My video," said Salomon, who, for the record, shot said footage with "some Sony" digital camcorder.
To hear Salomon (late of an annulled marriage to ex-Charmed star Shannen Doherty) describe it, his journey to Internet porn peddler is a last resort and, in some ways, a bid to clear his name.
"Everybody said I did this tape. Everybody thought I did it. I've just been getting ridiculed forever, and now I did it," Salomon said. "[But] I didn't do it in the beginning."
The "beginning" was last November, when a three-minute snippet of the video debuted on the Internet. Lawsuits followed: Hilton sued a Panamanian company for allegedly illegally obtaining the full-length footage. Salomon sued a Seattle company for planning to distribute the tape. And he sued Hilton, her parents and her now former publicist for slander. (His rift with the ex-flack was recently settled.)
"They tried to bury me," Salomon said, taking offense at any intimations that Hilton was exploited, underage or unaware she was being videotaped.
What also got to Salomon, he said, was talk that he was responsible for leaking the footage.
"I got a color version. If I released the tape, I would have released the color version," he said. "Why would I release the black-and-white version?"
Salomon said he was surprised when his original tape was, as he claims, duped and offered for sale by an ex-housemate--although it sounds as if Shannen Doherty was even more surprised. "Shannen was saying, 'They got the tape! They got the tape!' She's screaming, crying like a wounded animal. I'm, like, It's impossible. It's impossible," he said.
According to Salomon, the onetime guest, Don Thrasher, took the tape from its hiding place--a closet ceiling--copied it, then returned it. Thrasher was named in Salomon's lawsuit against Marvad Corp., the Seattle company that acquired the bootleg. Thrasher has since been sued by Marvad, as well. He could not be located for comment Tuesday.
Salomon said Thrasher used to be one of his best friends ("He was at one of my weddings"), but that he should have guessed something was up the night Pamela Anderson and celebrity photographer David LaChappelle stopped by his house for a visit.
"They were watching [the Paris Hilton video], and [Thrasher] was reciting the words," Salomon said. "I remember looking at him, going, How does this kid know my tape so well?"
The Anderson screening aside, Salomon said he didn't make it a habit of publicly exhibiting the tape ("I probably showed it a couple times in my whole life."). He said he made an exception for Anderson because of her own well-documented camcorder experience.
AVN (Adult Video News) Online Magazine editor Tom Hymes said he thinks the Hilton-Salomon tape has a shot at surpassing the Anderson-Lee opus for the title of most-watched porn tape ever.
"It has larger, or longer, legs than I ever expected," Hymes said.
Hymes said he watched the full-length Hilton tape two days ago.
"I think it's fascinating to watch, least of all for the sex. The most interesting part is the insight into the celebrity," Hymes said. "Their relationship is so uniquely infantile."
If that's not exactly a rave, Salomon, a self-described independent movie producer who currently is "just sort of cruising," feels good about his latest venture.
"There's been nothing but bad things happening to me [since the tape was released]," Salomon said. "[I figured] I might as well just make a ton of money and go surfing."
Burned by bad publicity, Salomon is not burned out on the concept of camcordering life's more private moments.
"I enjoy videotaping, actually," he said with a laugh. "It's sort of fun."