Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee (born Tommy Lee Bass) is accused of a shocking assault during a 2003 helicopter ride across Los Angeles—an incident the alleged victim says she believes is part of a history of the musician’s activities on the aircraft.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed Friday and has been obtained by Rolling Stone, a woman using the pseudonym Jane Doe says she met Lee’s private pilot, David Martz, in 2002, when he visited a bank where she worked as a teller. As the pair developed a friendship, Martz would occasionally offer Doe a ride in his helicopter, and in February 2003, she accepted.
But instead of the promised sightseeing trip over San Diego, Martz took her on a 40-minute ride to Los Angeles, with Lee also aboard. “Within a matter of minutes of being airborne, Martz pulled out alcohol he had stored in the helicopter and began to mix drinks,” the suit (as reported by R.S.) reads, alleging that Lee and Martz also used cocaine and smoked cannabis during the flight. According to the lawsuit, Doe did not partake.
In the suit, Doe claims that she was convinced to join Lee in the cockpit to see the view, but claims that instead, the rocker sexually assaulted her as Martz “merely watched.”
Doe says in the suit that she did not report the alleged incident at the time, as she believed she wouldn’t be taken seriously. But in the intervening years, she’s come to believe that Martz and Lee “had a history of engaging in indecent and illegal conduct on Martz’s helicopter.”
Martz died in 2015 following a fatal crash in Santa Barbara. At the time of his death, he “was facing a fourth revocation” of his pilot’s license, the L.A. Times reported at the time. He’d previously lost his license for a variety of concerns, most recently because he “had oral sex with an adult film actress while flying a helicopter” in 2009.
Instead, Mayhem Touring, Tommy Lee Inc., A Natural High Helicopters and Social Helicopters are named as defendants in the suit, which seeks unspecified damages for “sexual assault, gender violence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.” Vanity Fair has contacted Johnson and Johnson, the legal firm that filed the suit, as well as Lee’s attorney. Neither side has responded to a request for comment as of publication time.
This suit is the latest in a decades-long history of claims against Lee. In 1996, he faced battery allegations for an altercation outside the infamous L.A. nightclub, the Viper Room, then in 1998, he was jailed after pleading no contest to domestic violence allegations brought by then-wife Pamela Anderson. The following year, he turned himself in to officials in North Carolina, where he’d been wanted for felony rioting and three misdemeanor charges since 1997.
In recent years, however, headlines about Lee have focused more on his social media behavior, such as a 2018 Instagram post in which he criticized Anderson’s parenting style, and a 2023 post—later deleted—of a rant from conservative network One America News against transgender people. “I’m the gayest motherfucker around,” Lee said in a separate post to explain the deletion, saying he posted the anti-trans content because “it got me thinking (and you should too) about this and our world is all going.”