Netflix’s Tiger King really is the gift that keeps on giving. On April 12, 2020, a second “after show” type special was released and all of the key players have a lot to say about Joe Exotic and their newfound “fame.”
In The Tiger King and I — now streaming on Netflix — host Joel McHale was joined by John Reinke, Joshua Dial, John Finlay, Kelci “Saff” Saffery, Erik Cowie, Rick Kirkham, and Jeff and Lauren Lowe. They all were interviewed virtually (in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines in response to the coronavirus pandemic) about their newfound fame and what they think of Exotic now that he’s behind bars.
They have a ton of thoughts, too, and none of them are very kind. For example, former zookeeper Cowie doesn’t think Exotic should ever get out of prison. “Not no, but f*** no,” he said (via AV Club). That was sort of the consensus as the interviews went on, per People.
Everyone thinks Joe Exotic got what he deserved
During The Tiger King and I, Erik Cowie added that he thought it was funny a fame hound like Joe Exotic is stuck in prison for 22 years on 17 charges — including murder for hire and for trafficking — and isn’t able to enjoy his newfound notoriety.
Saff Saffery thinks that justice was served, but doesn’t want his former boss to die in prison. He also thinks that the docuseries didn’t show some of the nicer sides of Joe Exotic. “Joe did a lot of messed-up stuff, that’s a fact and that’s shown and now the entire world knows it. But he did a lot of good things too,” Saffery said.
Jeff Lowe, who now owns Exotic’s Oklahoma zoo, might have been the hardest on his former business partner. He told Joel McHale, as per NBC News, that he thought Exotic was his “own worst enemy,” and believes that if the big cat enthusiast testified in court, things might have gone differently for him.
Joe Exotic was reportedly scared of tigers
One of the most bonkers things revealed in the new special came from Rick Kirkham, the former Inside Edition reporter, who was initially going to make a reality series about Joe Exotic and his zoo. Kirkham said that Exotic was actually scared of tigers and would only interact with them if they were heavily sedated or disabled.
Per Esquire, Kirkham said, “In the shots that you see in there, where he’s in with the two tigers, the white one and the other one, the white one is blind and the other one is on tranquilizers.” He also thought it was amusing that Exotic is unable to see the docuseries or fully understand the level of notoriety he’s attained, saying, “He doesn’t get any of the money that’s coming out. He doesn’t get any of the accolades or the opportunities. He doesn’t get anything. Except three meals a day.”
Kirkham regrets ever meeting Exotic. “I went in because I saw there was a great opportunity for an incredibly wonderful show about big animals and this crazy zookeeper. But I, too, was sucked into the surreal world of Joe Exotic,” he said.
Doc Antle and Carole Baskin are NOT fans of 'Tiger King'
Two of the most recognizable subjects from the series, Doc Antle and Carole Baskin, were not interviewed by Joel McHale for the after show special. But each of them have shared their opinions of Tiger King elsewhere and it’s safe to assume they aren’t the biggest fans.
Baskin believes people missed the point of the series, per the Tampa Bay Times. “I just feel so angry that people have totally missed the point. And the point is these cubs are being abused and exploited and the public is enabling that,” she said. Her husband Howard, who was featured heavily in the doc, said they feel “betrayed” by the filmmakers and have been receiving death threats.
Antle, on the other hand, doesn’t think people should take it seriously. He said, per CNN, “This is a salacious, outrageous ride through a television show produced to create drama, to just tie you in to some crazy train wreck of a story between the feud of Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic and the meltdown that ensued between two people who both are far too close to murder themselves, and I think a little bit of madness thrown in on their parts.”
Now it seems like everyone has had their say, aside from the Tiger King himself. Who knows if he’ll ever even get to watch it!
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