Thanks to the world on lockdown and a captive audience (literally), Netflix docuseriesTiger King has taken social media by storm. The documentary started as an exposé on how exotic animals are being treated (or mistreated) by private owners across the United States, but it evolved into something different thanks to the colorful characters and their copious real and alleged crimes.
The focus quickly falls on Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, his private zoo Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, and Carole Baskin, chief executive officer of Big Cat Rescue, who Exotic is currently serving a 22-year jail sentence for attempting to hire a hitman to kill (just one of the many crimes he was indicted for).
Despite the over-the-top and absolutely WTAF moments in the documentary, not all of the story's most ridiculous moments managed to make it into the seven-part series. Here are some other unusual facts related to Tiger King:
The original owner of the G.W. Zoo’s alligators
Joe Exotic’s reptile enclosure mysteriously burned down in the middle of the night as reported in the documentary. What the documentary doesn’t mention is the original owner of those crocodiles and alligators. Michael Jackson used to own them, according to an article in The Los Angeles Times.
The police officer investigating the fire at the zoo used to work as a limo driver
Robert Moor, who made a podcast on Joe Exotic, said the police officer that looked into the case of the fire at the zoo used to be Exotic’s limo driver.
Joe Exotic himself used to work in the police force
Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, used to be chief of the Texas police department in the town of Eastvale. After he was outed as gay to his parents by one of his siblings, he attempted suicide by crashing his police cruiser into a bridge.
Joe Exotic is currently under isolation in prison due to COVID-19 cases
Exotic is currently serving a 22-year sentence for animal abuse and his involvement in the plot of killing Carole Baskin. A few inmates in his prison have tested positive for the new coronavirus, which has led him to be placed in individual quarantine.
The G.W. Zoo is still open but not doing well
The zoo is still in operation and run by none other than Exotic's former business partner/rival, Jeff Lowe. The docuseries’ director Eric Goode told Entertainment Weekly that the zoo is not doing well financially and is staying open despite the coronavirus crisis. Lowe himself told Lights Out with David Spade that the zoo will be rebranded Oklahoma Zoo and the scheduled move to a 55-acre plot of land in Thackerville, Oklahoma in summer 2020 is set to go ahead despite the pandemic.
Bhagavan “Doc” Antle park remains open even with the pandemic spreading
In the documentary, the authors report that Myrtle Beach Safari, owned by former animal trainer Mahamayavi Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, was raided by police in December 2019. Antle told ABC 15 News the raid was not due to reports of animal cruelty (he is accused of euthanizing cubs in the documentary), but because the park own lions descended from animals from another park accused of animal cruelty. Variety reports that the park also remains open despite the pandemic. Big Cat Rescue has however closed for the time being.
You might have seen Antle before
Many will remember the iconic Britney Spear’s performance at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards where she dances on stage with an albino Burmese python on her shoulders. Well, look behind her and you’ll recognize Antle in a cage with a tiger.
You just missed out on incredible memorabilia!
Some unopened Joe Exotic For President condoms were sold on eBay in the last few days. Because why not.