Everyone wants a piece of the Tiger King pie. Netflix is riding high due to the success of its new bonkers docuseries, and now others are trying to cash in. ID has its own Tiger King sequel in the works, and now Fox and TMZ (ugh) are teaming up for a new hour-long special, titled TMZ Investigates: Tiger King — What Really Went Down. Meanwhile, answers about the fate of Joe Exotic’s tigers are starting to come out, and they’re not pretty.
This upcoming Monday, April 13, Fox will air TMZ Investigates: Tiger King — What Really Went Down, which promises to provide answers to unanswered questions from Tiger King, Netflix’s hit new docuseries. Per THR, the show “features TMZ head Harvey Levin, interviews with people connected to the case of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, and never-before-seen footage.”
The special will “explore some questions left unanswered in Netflix’s breakout docuseries, including whether lead figure Joe Exotic is ‘really guilty’ of the murder-for-hire plot of which he was convicted, a look at the disappearance of animal activist Carole Baskin’s former husband and the status of a newly reopened investigation into that disappearance.”
I enjoyed Tiger King, but I’m hesitant to put much stock in anything TMZ produces. I’m also starting to get a little ticked off at how the internet seems to be turning Joe Exotic into some sort of folk hero. Yes. Joe Exotic is often amusing in the Tiger King docuseries. But he’s also a bad person. He wasn’t just convicted of the murder-for-hire plot, he was also convicted of eight violations of the Lacey Act, and nine violations of the Endangered Species Act. I lay a lot of the blame over Joe Exotic’s online support on the Tiger King docuseries itself. Yes, it’s entertaining, but it also glosses over a lot of stuff – primarily the fate of Joe’s tigers, who, by all accounts, were mistreated – and in some cases, killed by Joe himself.
People Magazine actually dug into the fate of Joe’s tigers recently, and learned that 39 of Joe’s tigers (and three bears) are now at an animal sanctuary in Colorado. According to Kent Drotar, the public relations director of the sanctuary, “the tigers came in malnourished and weak, with lackluster coats and extensive dental issues. Additionally, many of the big cats were poorly declawed and had mobility issues as a result. The public relations director also said the animals appeared to have broken spirits as well.”
However, on the bright side, the tigers seem to be doing better now. “The animals are just happier. They are no longer just pacing,” Drotar said. “It was almost an immediate change with their demeanor. They see other tigers. They see other animals. They see a horizon. They just have more of a purpose for living.”
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