(Warning: Spoilers ahead. Do not watch if you haven’t seen all seven episodes of Netflix’s “Tiger King.”)
Like a stealthy tiger padding through the jungle, no one saw Netflix’s “Tiger King” coming until it was too late to un-see the questionable conditions the animals were kept in, and the questionable taste in tattoos of nearly everyone involved. It was the most tweeted-about show in the country this week, with celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, Kim Kardashian and Jared Leto weighing in.
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If you, too, can’t stop thinking about Joe, Carole and Doc and company, here’s an update on what they’re up to now.
John Finlay: Joe’s ex-husband, who was also having relationships with several women at the animal park, ended his marriage with Joe Exotic in 2014. He has since had his teeth fixed and is working as a welder and living with his fiancee Stormey. He started a Facebook page to counter what he didn’t like about the “Tiger King” series. (He is particularly steamed that the filmmakers chose not to show him with his new dentures.)
Things you didn’t know about John: After Joe had John arrested for assault, thus ending their relationship, he returned sometime later to manage Joe’s Safari Bar down the road from the zoo, and John helped Joe when he was distraught after the accidental shooting death of his other husband, Travis Maldonado.
Carole Baskin: Joe Exotic’s chief nemesis, Carole Baskin, released a statement after “Tiger King” premiered, calling it “salacious and sensational.” The lengthy statement goes on to refute the series’ insinuation that she may have been involved in the death of her husband Don Lewis, who disappeared without a trace. (Her household only had a small meat grinder, she says, while the Netflix doc showed a photo of a much larger one that could have more credibly ground up Lewis.) Now 58, she continues to live with her third husband, Howard Baskin, at the Big Cat Rescue facility near Tampa, Fla., and advocates to stop breeding big cats and keeping them in captivity. The facility is currently closed due to coronavirus, but you can see the cats on Instagram.
Things you didn’t know about Carole: She got married for the first time when she was just 17 and had a daughter, Jamie, who also works at Big Cat Rescue.
Bhagavan “Doc” Antle: Doc Antle, owner of the Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, (T.I.G.E.R.S.) of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, released a statement saying he was “disappointed” in the series, and accusing producers of paying participants. The safari remains open despite the coronavirus crisis. Two of Antle’s children, Kody and Tawny, work at the institute.
What you didn’t know about Doc Antle: The 60-year old former animal trainer, whose name actually does appear to be Mahamayavi Bhagavan Antle (Bhagavan means “Lord” in Hindi), though he was called Kevin at school, says he trained as a doctor in China.
Rick Kirkham: The producer who was shooting Joe Exotic’s reality TV web series started out as a crime reporter and began smoking crack while appearing on “Inside Edition.” He now lives in Bodo, Norway, where he feasts on reindeer stew with his new wife and is working on a documentary project about a man with an exciting double life, according to his Facebook post.
Things you didn’t know about Rick Kirkham: After all the footage from his Joe Exotic shoots burned in a suspicious fire at the zoo, he moved to Dallas, where his own house coincidentally burned down just six months later, according to a New York Magazine article by Robert Moor.
Joe Exotic: The central character, the Tiger King himself, Joe Maldonado-Passage (né Schreibvogel), is serving a 22-year sentence in Oklahoma’s Grady County Jail after being convicted of 17 counts of animal abuse and two counts of murder-for-hire.
But being incarcerated didn’t stop the 57-year old former zoo owner from filing a $94 million lawsuit on March 17 (three days before the series dropped) against the Federal Government and Jeff Lowe, who took over the G.W. Zoo from Joe. According to Rolling Stone, he alleged that the government contributed to the death of his mother and that Lowe provided false statements to the feds.
Things you didn’t know about Joe: Though he appeared in a number of country music videos, he’s actually lip-syncing to music from the Clinton Johnson Band. According to Moor, Joe uses a crutch as a result of a car accident in 1985 in which he says he was attempting suicide.
As for some of the others in the series, Kelci Saffery, who lost part of an arm and returned to work soon after, prefers to be called Saff and uses him/his pronouns. The Hawaii native is reportedly still working at the zoo.
Jeff Lowe is still running the Greater Wynnewood Zoo and still with his wife Lauren, who has had at least one more daughter since the series filmed. He’s planning to open a new zoo in Oklahoma in hopes of starting fresh.
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