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HOME > Survivor > Survivor: All Stars

Jenna Lewis grants sex tape interview, but leaves key details unexplained


By Reality TV World staff, 07/28/2004 

It looks like Survivor: All-Stars contestant Jenna Lewis found a media outlet willing to buy her honeymoon sex tape's "exclusive story". However the interview, conducted with the syndicated Extra entertainment news program, appears to have provided few significant previously unknown details, and instead generated several new unanswered questions.

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In an "exclusive interview" broadcast on Friday, July 23 (the weeknight when fewer viewers are home to watch it... perhaps that says something about what Extra's own producers thought about the newsworthiness of the interview's content), Jenna once again denied that either she or new husband Travis Wolfe released the tape themselves, but curiously also appeared to stop short of claiming that the tape was outright stolen, instead only saying that one day the tape was simply "gone."

According to Jenna, as previously reported, the couple filmed the raunchy sex tape, which she described as "the consummation of our wedding," during their May 1 elopement in Las Vegas. Then, "one week later" (apparently sometime between when the couple returned from Vegas but before Jenna flew to New York for Survivor: All-Stars' Sunday, May 9 live finale) Jenna was "horrified" to discover the tape was "gone." Said Jenna, "I ran around the house crying, screaming, so angry and upset that day." Added her male model husband, "It's a moment of pure terror when you can't find the tape."

Strangely, neither Jenna or Travis appear to have used the word "stolen" during their interview, with Jenna further telling Extra that after "discovering the tape missing" her thoughts quickly moved toward her 8-year-old twin daughters. "How am I going to explain this to them?" she told the entertainment news program -- apparently not having considered such a question before initially deciding to film the video, nor before apparently deciding to not store the illicit tape in a secure location.

Expressing a seemingly peculiar lack of concern over who took the tape, Jenna simply responded to Extra's query by stating, "That's the $64,000 question." "It's what runs through our minds every day." The interview excerpts posted on Extra's website also make no mention of the filing of a police report or of any intention to take legal action against the Internet company that's continuing to market and sell the tape that Jenna claims to be so "fighting mad" about, leaving the public to wonder if the tape was truly stolen and illegally acquired, then why, at minimum, did Jenna not publicly state an intention to go after the sex tape distributor?

While Jenna is correct in telling Extra that "once it gets on the Internet, it's going to be there for life" -- especially given the poor security of the supposedly secure Microsoft encoding encryption used to distribute the 10-day licenses to the 40-minute video -- we note that there is no question that the copyright to this tape is owned by Jenna and Travis. In other words, this would not be a situation, like the one involving Simple Life star Paris Hilton, where the distributing party would have a colorable claim to the copyright; per their story, this is simply theft. So why wouldn't they at least attempt to drive the tape's distribution underground? And, as the copyright owners and performers, don't Jenna and Travis at least have a claim (as Paris Hilton did) to royalties from its sale that would probably be enforceable even in St. Kitts and Nevis, the offshore porn center from which the tape was distributed?

Given that there was no mention of forced entry and the fact that the tape's disappearance has been limited to a single one week timeframe, do Jenna and Travis have so many individuals passing through their home that they have been unable to sufficiently narrow the list of possible suspects? And if the tape disappeared sometime during the week after the couple's return from their honeymoon weekend, how does Jenna explain that fact that the tape's website domain was registered with the Network Solutions domain registry on May 3, 2004 -- the Monday immediately after the tape was filmed?

Despite not providing answers to any of these logical questions, Jenna did cite the fact that she turned down the opportunity to pose for Playboy magazine following her initial Survivor appearance during the program's first Summer 2000 phenomenal season as evidence that she would never be associated with the public release of the tape. "If I'm not going to do Playboy for a ton of money, I'm certainly not going to put something like this out there that could hurt my family and friends," she told Extra.

While Jenna is correct in pointing out her previous dismissal of Playboy's 2000 opportunity, we also think it should be noted that much has changed since 2000. When Jenna first appeared on Survivor and declined Playboy's offer, she (as well as that rest of the Survivor cast) were the hottest television stars of the year and riding the crest of an overnight wave of fame the likes of which the entertainment industry had rarely seen.

America had conducted widespread Survivor parties, Jenna had appeared on the cover of TIME magazine, the finale had brought in ratings figures that were second to only that year's Super Bowl numbers, and the future looked near limitless for television's new overnight stars. Television offers, endorsement opportunities and offers of representation were rolling in from all sides. Several castmembers had landed Reebok endorsement deals, Dr. Sean Kenniff had landed both a role on the Guiding Light soap opera and a gig as a television medical correspondent (for Extra of all shows), Gervase Peterson had landed a (non-sleeping) guest appearance on a UPN sitcom, original Survivor sweetheart Colleen Haskell had managed to score the female lead role in a major motion picture despite no previous acting experience, and Jenna herself had scored both a recurring role on CBS's Don Johnson-led Nash Bridges series and a position as host of VH1's Rock Across America series.

In short, the future looked bright. Fast-forward four years later to Summer 2004 and the situation is far different. New reality "stars" roll off the airwaves seemingly every week, Survivor 2's Elizabeth Filarski-Hasselbeck stands alone among the now 112 former Survivor contestants as the only former castaway to have enjoyed any lasting major on-air entertainment industry success, and in her own press release, Jenna's Nash Bridges and Rock Across America appearances still appear first and most prominently among her professional credits.

Against this backdrop, it's not difficult for reality television viewers to imagine that a former reality contestant, now just another struggling aspiring actress living in Los Angeles and having seen her star once again momentarily aglow as a result of her participation in Survivor: All-Stars, would make a different decision than she had four years ago.

However, Jenna says she didn't participate in the tape's distribution, and although many will no doubt remain skeptical of her claims, we'll give her the benefit of the doubt -- although frankly we still question the mother of two's wisdom in even filming such a video. But if Jenna truly wishes to put the public's skepticism to rest, she'll do another interview... one that provides plausible answers to the situation's significant remaining open questions that will continue to fuel the rumors of her participation in the tape's distribution.

(Photo credit CBS)


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