Tiger King’s Carole Baskin issued a response to the show and it’s a doozy

Spoilers for Tiger King. You can still watch it, no one can spoil that insane show
In our first story about the insane Netflix documentary, Tiger King, a couple of you mentioned the entire episode devoted to the speculation that Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue, had killed her first husband, Don Lewis. Don disappeared during a trip to Costa Rica and the show floats the rumor that Carole arranged his disappearance and fed his body to her animals. In fact, Carole’s nemisis, Joe Exotic, recorded a music video about this complete with a Carole lookalike. (That was a nice moment of levity among so many terrible twists in that story.)

Carole has issued a point-by-point rebuttal on her blog to some of the claims made about her. Her essay started off reasonable and I was initially inclined to believe her, but then she started flinging accusations and it quickly devolved from here. I’m sure a lot of what she claims is true, however just because someone didn’t pay rent on a property or is otherwise shady doesn’t mean that they’re lying about her. What’s more is that the essay she has up now is a cleaner, more reasonable version of a stream of consciousness rant she originally posted. Someone helped her clean it up and they gave up towards the middle. I don’t want to get too into the weeds with this, but you can read the original version here. It’s being hosted by a site called BCRWatch, which is dedicated to hating on Carole Baskin and her husband. That cache of the page is accurate, I was able to confirm it with the Wayback Machine. Judging by both versions of this essay by Carole, she’s just as much of a nutjob as she’s portrayed. Holy sh-t there is so much drama in her life with various people and in her business dealings. Whether she killed her ex husband or not is up to debate, but she did benefit by his disappearance. I can’t do this justice by any means, and I’m only excerpting from her more polished current essay, but if you have some time to kill (you know you do), you may want to read the whole thing.

Directors told her they were exposing animal abuse at big cat zoos
When the directors of the Netflix documentary Tiger King came to us five years ago they said they wanted to make the big cat version of Blackfish (the documentary that exposed abuse at SeaWorld) that would expose the misery caused by the rampant breeding of big cat cubs for cub petting exploitation and the awful life the cats lead in roadside zoos and back yards if they survive.

There are not words for how disappointing it is to see that the series not only does not do any of that, but has had the sole goal of being as salacious and sensational as possible to draw viewers.

Don wanted sex every day and went to Costa Rica for a week during Carole’s period
Don spent one week per month in Costa Rica. Don was a man who wanted to have sex daily. He would go to Costa Rica during the week I was having my menstrual cycle.

The restraining order was so she wouldn’t get rid of Don’s stuff when he was off with his mistress in Costa Rica
During the week he was away, I would haul off the property as much of the junk as I could. Wendell told Don I was doing this. Don tried calling the police to get them to stop me. They told him he would need a restraining order. It is unclear if it was Don’s idea that to get a restraining order he should say I threatened him or if someone like Wendell suggested that. Don filed for the order June 20, 1997 and it was denied.

The meat grinder was tiny and couldn’t have been used to grind up her husband
As Gladys and the daughters did everything they could to make life difficult for me after Don disappeared, they spread this rumor that they thought I had ground Don up and fed him to the cats. And the media loved it. The meat grinder shown in the video was enormous. Our meat grinder was one of those little tabletop, hand crank things, like you’d have in your kitchen at home

Don wasn’t worth $20 million
But [Kenny Farr’s] estimate that Don was worth 20 million made me laugh out loud. He would have no possible basis for any guess of the value. That was four times what our holdings had ever been worth prior to Don’s disappearance on Aug. 18, 1997.

She swears she didn’t kill him
Don was not easy to live with and like most couples we had our moments. But I never threatened him and I certainly had nothing to do with his disappearance. When he disappeared, I did everything I could to assist the police. I encouraged them to check out the rumors from Costa Rica, and separately I hired a private investigator.

[From Big Cat Rescue]

As for whether Carole killed Don, I believe that she didn’t arrange his disappearance. She’s a drama queen for sure though and I can understand why people suspect her. There’s so much more that she gets into that I didn’t excerpt. She says that the smallest enclosure on her property is 1,200 square feet and that the show misrepresented the crowds by showing the one day they allow groups of bigger than 20 at a time. She also downplays her early involvement in big cat breeding, saying she never sold tiger cubs. She may care about her exotic cats but she’s sture profiting off them.

I agree with those of you who say her portrayal was mysoginistic. That doesn’t mean she’s not also an awful person. Let me know what other angles you’d like to talk about from the show in future article. I think the documentary downplayed both Doc’s despicable cult harem and Joe’s meth abuse.

Filmmakers have responded to Carole’s claims and even threw some shade about how little she knew, or was interested in, tigers in the wild. Co-producer Eric Goode said that Carole talked openly about her abusive marriage and the disappearance of her ex husband, so she knew wahat she was getting into. “She knew that this was not… a Blackfish because of the things she spoke about… There was a lack of intellectual curiosity to really go and understand or even see these animals in the wild. Certainly, Carole really had no interest in seeing an animal in the wild… The lack of education, frankly, was really interesting — how they had built their own little utopias and really were only interested in that world and the rules they had created.” And defending that world at any cost, I might add. She didn’t deserve the treatment she got from Joe Exotic, but she didn’t have to engage with him like she did either.


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112 Responses to “Tiger King’s Carole Baskin issued a response to the show and it’s a doozy”

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  1. Veronica S. says:

    Y’all, Netflix keeps throwing this at me first thing when I log into it, but all I can think about when I watch the previews is that it literally never starts to make sense no matter how many times I look at it. It’s hands down the most bizarre documentary I’ve ever been referred, and no amount of reading up on the people it’s about has made it seem any less insane. I’m legitimately afraid to watch it for fear of what it will do to my soul.

    • Celebitchy says:

      I mean you will wonder how people like this function in life and you will think whatever drama you have in your life is amazingly tame in comparison. If you care deeply about animals it may be hard to take at times. I was just astonished at it. It’s incredibly trashy and you can’t stop watching.

    • kahlia says:

      The previews didn’t do anything for me either. I was skeptical and then wound up bingewatching it in 1 sitting. It’s like… take “People of Walmart” x10 and add hundreds of exotic cats and some entertainingly terrible music videos. Some of the animal treatment is hard to watch, but most of it is pretty tame. It’s more about the owners of some popular big cat “sanctuaries” and the story of the rise and downfall of Joe Exotic more than anything else. You keep thinking “This is it, there’s no way this story is going to get any more ridiculous.” AND THEN IT DOES. Up until the bitter end! I came out of it both extremely entertained and also educated on the grim realities of these “sanctuaries.”

      • Natal says:

        Stop using “sanctuaries” in quotes. The men in this run roadside zoos. Sanctuaries are certified.

      • Brandy Alexander says:

        “This is it, there’s no way this story is going to get any more ridiculous.” AND THEN IT DOES.

        This, exactly this!!! My husband and I also binge watched it in one sitting this weekend, and we said – we kept going because you just needed to know what was going to happen next because it was SO CRAZY. Literally, everyone in the show was just batcrap crazy!

      • Bros says:

        It’s great. Reminds me of S Town in movie form. The southern subcultures never cease to amaze.

      • Grant says:

        Um, Natal… Not all “sanctuaries” are certified. That’s, you know, kind of the problem.

    • emmy says:

      I’m watching it right this minute and HIGHLY recommend it. It’s a wild, crazy, sad ride. The sad part is the animals but the show doesn’t harp on that aspect which, frankly, is fine by me. These zoos should be illegal and that’s a given to me. They focus on the insane characters who run them and live in this unique bubble of crazy.

      Not gonna lie, two seconds ago Joe got dragged around by a tiger and I found myself whispering “Get him, bite him just a little.” This is a show about greed and a bunch of master manipulators, I don’t think I’ll come out of this really knowing what any of them think or who they really are. Especially Carol. There’s something unsettling about her.

  2. vanna says:

    I am kinda torn on her. I actually do believe she had a hand in her ex’s disappearance, just a feeling though. She’s also a cooky character like the others portrayed, but I do believe that the cats at BCR are well cared for and live a far better life than at the others Zoos shown. They get medical attention, aren’t bred, get proper food and do not get handled by their keepers or guests. Also the law she is trying to pass would immensely help with illegal/legal wild life trade and keeping conditions in the US. What I find atrocious is that everyone on staff is a volunteer. She should pay these people proper wages!

    • Natal says:

      She does have paid employees, there’s just a lot of volunteers, as there are at most animal rescues. She runs a legitimate non-profit with transparent financial reporting.

      • vanna says:

        Good to know that some people are paid, I guess. It came across that everyone besides herself and her hubby are volunteers in the show. I did know that they are transparent and have an stellar non profit rating by charitynavigator.

    • sassbr says:

      I don’t understand the outrage over the volunteers. It’s a non-profit. There are many many volunteers for massive non-profit organizations. Do you expect to get paid for Habitat for Humanity? It’s altruism.

      • vanna says:

        I usually don’t mind volunteers, especially at shelters etc. I am glad people give their time and work to charitable causes. It just feels weird in this case, because she does charge people to visit the sanctuary, which basically makes it function like a Zoo. And Zoos employ staff, not volunteers.

      • maximeducamp says:

        I listened to the Crime Writers On podcast Tiger King episodes and one of the hosts had interviewed the directors of the documentary for another podcast (Netflix’s “You Can’t Make This Up”). She said that some of the scenes were misleading and that the big even that showed at Carole’s sanctuary with all the volunteers is a once a year event, not a regular thing.

    • tback says:

      I don’t think it’s accurate to say that Don “disappeared during a trip to Costa Rica.” From what I gathered from the podcast & the documentary, there is zero evidence he ever left for Costa Rica.

      • vanna says:

        I don’t think he left Florida either. Just think he disappeared with her (probably unwanted) assistance.

    • sassbr says:

      But yeah, she has to charge for the zoo. How else is she going to make money to continuously run it? That’s why it’s called a non-profit. It’s millions of dollars a year to feed one tiger.

    • Suz says:

      Hi Vanna – I’ve worked in non profit museums for years. We do rely on the help of volunteers because we don’t have a lot of money and our mission is public service. Zoos in essence are museums. Museums still charge admission. This is because it still takes money to run a non profit. It’s not all going to pay someone’s salary though some of it may. We still have to pay utility bills, pay for marketing so people come to our institution, pay to build educational exhibits, office materials, etc. At zoos they have to pay for the food to feed their animals, pay for vet care. Hope this helps in understanding the non profit world and volunteers.

    • H says:

      I lived a block down the road from this place and applied to be a volunteer. So happy I moved before application went through. Crazy series.

  3. JennyJenny says:

    Hey cool cats and kitties ~ I believe she killed her husband or had him killed. What other plausible explanation is there?

    • Zapp Brannigan says:

      He did a bunk to go live with the other woman in Costa Rica maybe? Nobody on the episodes I have seen so far seem to know how much he was worth, he had money buried in the garden (?) and he flew small planes with no mention of how he made his money? Adds up to something illegal by the looks of it, so he runs off with other woman.

    • Erin says:

      Hes a drug runner. Suspended pilots license, small airfields, money buried everywhere, frequent flights to central america during the 80s? That’s a drug runner people. If you believe he was setting up a zoo down there you probably also believe that story of how they first met too.

      • Dee Kay says:

        THANK YOU. Yes, he built his fortune on the drug trade. Anything could have happened, including that he thought he was flying to Costa Rica to disappear with his mistress, but was killed by a cartel. I also don’t rule out that Carole was perhaps indirectly involved (telling the cartel where her husband was going and when, maybe?).

      • M.A.F. says:

        Yeah, the writing was on the wall with this guy being a drug runner. This is why the lawyer wasn’t going to speculate on who killed Don. He knows but he isn’t talking.

      • Nic919 says:

        That’s why I think the cops didn’t pursue it too much further either. They know it was the cartel and not Carole but can’t prove it and don’t want to get involved.

  4. Natal says:

    I don’t really trust the documentarians either, considering they left out the most damning evidence that joe did intend to have her killed and wasn’t framed whatsoever (text messages where he discusses the logistics of burner phones and going to Florida to have it done, etc)

    • Mac says:

      They also whitewashed the obvious substance abuse.

      • Zapp Brannigan says:

        And the trend for the men involved to date or marry teenagers/ very young adults that were divorced when they aged out.

    • sassbr says:

      They also left out that the investigation and some of those charges were related to animal abuse. He killed at least 5 tigers, he starved and beat them-he had allegations stemming back to like 2006/2007.

      • eto says:

        They did talk about the tigers he killed – not about beating them but they showed people digging up skeletons with gunshot holes.

      • Noodle says:

        One of the hardest parts of the documentary for me is when they were short on WalMart expired meat and the animals went hungry.

    • Julie Taylor says:

      they also didn’t honour Saff’s (Kelci) wish to use his preferred name and pronouns.

      • Geeena says:

        Yup that’s just as bad as downplaying shooting healthy, aging animals to death to make space for the bred cubs and hiring a hitman to kill Carole. Sorry not sorry for the snark. I get that this is an issue too but feels like the small potatoes compared to the entirety of what this doc downplays and leaves out.

        It did sound like whoever made the 911 call called Saff by the right pronouns (he/him) so probably the staff uses his right name/pronouns.

      • Stefanie says:

        I heard this in the original version. But in Belgium in the Dutch translation they say he and him. Thought it was a mistake, but I guess not?

  5. lucy2 says:

    I haven’t watched this, and won’t, but I did listen to the podcast. Everyone sounds nuts, but – Carole does raise a lot of awareness about the dangers of these roadside zoos, cub pettings, etc.

  6. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I can’t watch the documentary, but from what I’ve read about each of them, trashy drama is their golden corral buffet. In fact I’ve never met a reputable first tier zookeeper. Whether their drug is snakes or tigers, they’re disgusting representatives of the human race. And when these types of people amass large sums of money, you can throw on a leopard coat and alligator boots, but you can’t buy a new brain.

  7. Seraphina says:

    So funny your comment that nothing will spoil that show’s plots. And there are PLOTS not just one. Depends on who they want to focus on and much they want to study abnormal psychology.

    I agree that they down played the meth use and the harem cult. There are some serious issues in that cult and would make a great series in and of itself.

    I fully believe Carole played a part due to the will having the word “disappearance”. Who in the world puts that in a will? Someone planning ahead.

  8. KBeth says:

    I think Carole is just as sleazy as everyone else in the show, she just “presents” better.

    • Natal says:

      Is she in prison? Is she on meth? Did the get other young men hooked on meth? Did she give a eulogy about a dead man’s golden balls? Does she run a sex cult? How is she as sleazy as all those MEN? Don’t forget don was an abusive predator as well, his first wife was like 14 when they got married!

      • detritus says:

        Don picked up a crying an abused 20 year old when he was in his 40s. Who’d ran away from home at 15 after being gang raped.

        He’s not a good guy. Her comments about needing sex daily plus the other stuff makes me believe he was also abusive, just with less visible marks.

        Why are we expecting a woman who suffered so much to be as lucid as the producers or directors or what have you? And of course she’s going to engage someone threatening her life.

        I dunno, Carol seems emotionally volatile and she’s definitely profiteering off the cats, but the misogyny in her story is rough

      • KBeth says:

        We get it, you’re a Carole fan. Some of us think she’s sketchy as hell, move on.

      • Natal says:

        I don’t care if you think she’s sketchy. But I sure as hell care about lumping her in with these drug abusing predatory psychotic men. Or even saying she’s worse than them. THAT Is the disgusting part.

      • Seraphina says:

        Natal, why does she have to be in jail or do what the others have done to be considered in the same ball park of sleaze as the others. She is sleazy. The park she runs is not what I would consider animal friendly. The cats belong elsewhere. She is touched in the head and had a part in the disappearance of her husband. That part is quite clear. She is sleazy and crazied like the rest of the people on the show, she just presents better and keeps her demons better hidden.

        And the film maker’s response is spot on. I believe she states in one episode that these cats need X amount of roaming area. Yet she didn’t see the issue with how she was keeping the cats???? My boys want a dog and no one is home all day. A dog needs love, attention and exercise. When one is gone 8 hours a day a dog won’t get that. I told them it’s selfish to get a dog and not give it what it needs. She was selfish too and as guilty as Joe in that respect.

      • HaHa says:

        Natal – Yes the first wife was 14 but he was 17 so not as skeezy as the 20 year age gap in his relationship with Carole. Not defending any of the appalling behavior of anyone, the story is insane enough as it is without adding half-truths in the mix.

      • Natal says:

        Where is “elsewhere” exactly? Are you not aware that once big cats are bred and born into captivity they can NEVER be released into the wild? Her entire goal is to shut down breeding, so that healthy animals will never have to live in captivity.

      • KBeth says:

        You are WAY too invested in Carole Baskin.

      • Carobell says:

        Just because Carole runs the best organization of the bunch doesn’t preclude her from having a messy personal life.

        If I was on the board of BCR, I would be pushing hard for her to step back as the public face. No one came out looking great.

    • Jessica says:

      KBeth: Stop talking to people with condescension and contempt. Lumping Carole in with these men is wrong. Period.

  9. Ann says:

    I think she had hands in his disappearance. That thing with her changing the POA to include the word “disappearance” is sketchy af. I don’t have any sorted out theories on the matter but the feeding him to the tigers thing seems totally reasonable. She is crazy. And her husband looks exactly like Warren Jeffs, which doesn’t mean anything but I found him/the resemblance to be super creepy.

    I’d love if y’all cover Doc Antle more. Joe was the focus of the documentary, and rightly so, but Antle is running a full blown sex cult with exotic animals. That needs to be sussed out way more. If there is a sequel I hope Antle is the focus.

    • MellyMel says:

      Right? Doc’s story was the one I want more information on. There’s A LOT going on there.

    • Sayrah says:

      I don’t think she had anything to do with his disappearance but she’s BSC. I also think he was involved in some shadiness in Costa Rica and he was killed there.

      I agree that Doc Antle needs to be looked at more closely. He is absolutely running a cult and it’s really disturbing.

    • kacy says:

      Her seizing the will by opening the locks is what convinced me. Until then, I was on the fence about her.

      • WriterMarie says:

        Not to mention that she changed the will to state “Death or Disappearance”… why would you have to include disappearance in there?

  10. Giggles says:

    I have not watched the series yet. Do the filmmakers give information about the cats and their welfare?

  11. GR says:

    I dunno – Big Cat Rescue sounds really great. They’re certified as a rescue group and seem to take very good care of the animals. I think that tells you a lot about the kind of person Baskin is.

    • Seraphina says:

      Becoming certified unfortunately in many areas doesn’t mean a whole lot. Not sure about here but I would wager it applies here because BCR didn’t seem all that great to me. The cats’ water was dirty at times and they were in cages too. It’s not like she provided an oasis. I guess maybe she didn’t exploit to the point joe did but in a way she did too.

  12. MellyMel says:

    I watched this doc this weekend and it’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. Like just when you thought something couldn’t be topped, something else happened. Honestly I don’t know if I would have watched it if the world wasn’t in quarantine. It’s so trashy. And regardless of whatever Carole says, I think she had something to do with her husband’s disappearance or at least knows more than she’s saying. And in my opinion she’s just as bad a Joe, Doc Antle and all the other characters.

    That being said, I’ve been telling everyone to watch it cause it’s a good distraction at the moment.

    • Natal says:

      How is she just as bad as them? Is she running a sex cult? Is she getting people hooked on drugs and being a predator going after young men and women? Is she breeding cats and letting people lay to pet cubs, then killing them when they get too big?

      • MellyMel says:

        Are you gonna copy and paste the same questions for everyone that doesn’t like Carole? She’s making money off those cats just like the rest of them. And again, IN MY OPINION she had something to do with her husband’s disappearance. Period. Stay well.

      • Natal says:

        Except she runs an actual non-profit and the money goes to care, food and lobbying to change the laws and shit down roadside zoos. Not to fuel drug addictions, sex cults and breeding, buying and selling more cats.

      • MellyMel says:

        Okay Natal. I still think they are all trash. Have a good one! 🙂

      • DeeNyc says:

        @ Natal
        Shortly before Don disappeared Carol went to purchase food for the animals in the middle of the night, accidentally ran into her brother (who works at the local Sheriff’s) with another officer who drove her home.

        What are the odd that you run into your brother after your car breaks down at 3:00 am. Why didn’t her brother drive her home?

        She broke into her missing husband’s secretary’s office to get his will. Cut his family out of the will even though she was a participant in the affair that broke the family up. She threatened to take away the 10% they were left with from them if they continued to talk to the media ( they believed she had a hand in his disappearance).

        When it comes to the animals, she started getting them as pets. She made a video describing how to take them away from their mother.

        She also mentions not bothering to remember her volunteers until 5 years in…

        Every person in this documentary is problematic to varying degrees..

      • GirlMonday says:

        Natal, please have a seat. Your repeated comments are visual clutter and annoying. You stan Carole, we get it.

    • sassbr says:

      She’s not breeding cats and creating more domesticated big cats. She’s nowhere near as bad as they are. She puts the money back into taking care of the cats. She also doesn’t collect-sometimes she has 50, sometimes she has 34. It’s a rescue.

      • MellyMel says:

        I didn’t accuse her of breeding. And I watched the doc…I know what’s doing. But sometimes bad people do good things. Her having a rescue doesn’t erase the fact that she’s sketchy as hell and may have something to do with her husband. I don’t know why you and the other one can’t understand that. Many of us don’t like her. Move on.

    • Mellie says:

      It is a crazy docu-series for sure. We couldn’t stop, watched it all in two days. All the parties are sketchy, some more so than others. Being from Indiana we were interested in Tim Stark, who was featured as a partner to Jeff Lowe (for a while), turns out just a few days ago he was shut down. I would say many of these will be raided/inspected as a result of this show. I think she had something to do with her husband as well, and his family (you know the one he was with before he met her…) only getting 10% of their inheritance? Yeah, that’s a bunch of crap. Sounds like a greedy narcissist to me. I’m with you, she wasn’t as crazy as the others, not even close, but she isn’t exactly lily-white here either.

      • DeeNyc says:

        Carol also took Joe’s parents’ house if I am not mistaken. Why do that to old people to stick it to Joe?

      • kacy says:

        It was shame on Joe for using his parents in his business to obfuscate, but yes, Carole is abhorrent for going for their house.

      • phaedra says:

        I was actually not bothered by Carole taking Joe’s parents’ house. I thought that was 100 percent on Joe. If he hadn’t tried to hide his money there, they wouldn’t responsible for his legal issues.

  13. GG says:

    I feel like you could make an entire collegiate course discussing and dissecting This docuseries. First and foremost, I’d like to discuss Joe Exotic’s Crystal meth abuse which was HIGHLY downplayed in the series. It’s like you know he is cracked out which is why he’s paranoid, but we’re not going to talk about how Joe uses crystal meth addiction to coerce sexual and romantic relationships, nor are we discussing the fact that someone who was high as a kite is responsible for the care and keeping of big cats, or the fact that the meth head is responsible for the safety of the children with big cats during cub petting time at the zoo.

    As for Carole, she’s a stage 5 looney toon. While I definitely think she was shown to viewers through a mysogonistic lense, the reporter who said she didn’t expect Carole to collect from joe exotic financially after winning the judgement is me all day. Like you won Carole let it go. And she won’t. Let. Go.

    One person I don’t hear a lot about is Jeff Lowe and his now wife Lauren Lowe. I HIGHLY encourage y’all to peruse Oklahoma Zoo’s Instagram. They posted a pic with their hot nanny. When Jeff said after the birth of their daughter he wanted Lauren back in he gym I cringed. Like dude is an old con who is telling his trophy wife to get back in trophy wife shape post partum (a whole host of fucked up shit) and in the mean time he’s probably going to screw their nanny. Yuck.

    PS “Here Kitty Kitty” the music video is a national treasure.

    • Summer says:

      That gym comment enraged me. Like what about your fat old a/ss? He’s so gross. Besides being constantly concerned for the cats, I could not for the life of me understand how these gross men were getting these pretty people. Joe Exotic too. But in Joe’s case he was getting them hooked on meth. This show was crazy.

      • Brandy Alexander says:

        I think he was planning to go in the way of Joe Exotic & Doc and have multiple “wives”. These roadside zoos seem to attract the worst of the worst.

    • Andrea says:

      His comment about his wife needing to hit the gym once the baby was born was appalling as well as hiring the nanny who probably is underpaid, overworked, and paid also in “favors”. These men would not be getting these women under normal circumstances. I don’t understand how the animals and lack of money lures these attractive women. Low self esteem abounds all around.

  14. JOANN TONER says:

    This might be just what I need to get my mind off of the devastating facts that 45 is refusing to give Michigan, Washington and other states the needed supplies for Covid-19.

    • Ann says:

      It worked for me. Anytime I’m watching something at home I am always playing with my phone. I completely forgot about my phone and coronavirus and stupid trump. It had my entire attention and that hasn’t happened in years. It is just so freaking crazy. From start to finish. Every new person is weird, every situation is insane. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m still thinking about it and I’m definitely going to rewatch again this week.

  15. Caitlin says:

    Me and my mother binged the whole 7 episodes on Saturday in our first lockdown weekend. We couldn’t stop watching. I found it bizarre how you were almost rooting for Joe Exotic, even though he was an evil person who did and said atrocious things. Married a young boy 2 months after the death of one of his young husbands. Caroline was batshit crazy and it’s very clear she was a prostitute when she first met Don (nothing wrong with that) but there is a lot in the documentary that’s been left unsaid, like it’s clear don was a drug dealer. I think she covered him in sardine oil and feed him to the tigers (she even mentioned the sardine oil herself). I think all these “zoo’s” should be shut down. We don’t have anything like this in the UK. It’s crazy. The poor animals. And the poor workers too. A lot of them lived so horribly. I felt sorry for the guy with the long hair who was a witness in court against joe and obviously found it hard to live with himself for letting the animals down and you could see him getting strung out on drugs. The guy with the amputated legs also seemed kinda okay but then he was so loyal to joe so maybe not.

  16. Freddy says:

    I felt dirty after I watched this program–and I’ll admit I was hooked. Joe Exotic’s abuse of 19 year-olds, desperate for love but willing to take meth as a substitute. Doc and his menagerie of ‘wives”. Carol and her holier-than-thou attitude when it came to “rescuing” cats, and discussing her late husband without a trace of emotion. Jeff Lowe utter aura of “yuck”. They are the most exploitive and horrible examples of humanity one could imagine.

  17. kahlia says:

    After watching the documentary and doing my own digging, I think Carole currently has the best intentions out of all of them and her non-profit is a legit non-profit. The cats seem to be well-cared for. You can have good intentions and do good things and still be a crazy cat lady – which she clearly is. I think her brand of crazy is mostly harmless though.

    • DeeNyc says:

      Unless you’re her husband lolz

    • Andrea says:

      The cages she had some in were appalling not to mention she was a hypocrite who bred them back in the day as well.

      • sunhitsthesky says:

        I keep seeing this type of comment and I don’t understand how people didn’t get that the cats are not kept in those small cages. If you go to their YouTube channel you can see that all the enclosures have these smaller areas for feeding. That’s because they close them while the cat is feeding so they can go in and clean the enclosure, or give the animal a sedative if it needs care, etc. People are not handling or in contact with these cats regularly – like the roadside zoos. It seems the doc purposefully framed shots to make it look like the cats were in teeny tiny cages for story purposes.

  18. Nievie says:

    TBH …the Cats are the only true victims in this whole saga.

    • Noodle says:

      And those poor chimps. I am glad they were finally rescued and placed in a real sanctuary. That small vignette was hard for me to watch.

      • Andrea says:

        The chimps segment was particularly moving and I think Joe realized how wrong he did them. I don’t think Carole, Doc et al have any remorse.

    • Juliette says:

      Agreed. As crazy as this documentary is, and it is pretty out there. I have zero sympathy or compassion for any of them. The whole thing left me a little sad to be honest. All those poor animals being abused & not properly cared for is disgusting.

      The fact that they said there are only 4K in the wild but 10-15K in captivity made my so sad and angry. I’m over people that use and abuse animals for their own gain. Even under the guise of rescue. I hope they all get eaten by tigers. Terrible and I kind of hate them all tbh.

  19. Darby says:

    The whole documentary is mind blowing. These people are like hybrid Walmart super species. Like if you grew up in a Walmart and then married your half sibling and you both loved cats and then you had kids together and raised them at Walmart then that kid would be one of the main people on Tiger King.
    Carole 100% killed her husband, she’s just as bad as the rest of them, she’s just less drugged out.

  20. TitusPullo says:

    I worked in rescue for many, many years. The awful truth is that the majority of people who run sanctuaries of any kind have problems with mental illness, including hoarding. That is true for dog sanctuaries, cat sanctuaries, and exotic sanctuaries. It’s expensive, thankless work that most people are not prepared for. Not to mention, the people who seek out exotics especially for the “boost” it gives them to be “special.” Exotic Joe is a horrible human being who should have never been allowed to own so many animals and I’m not sure that Carol is much better. The five freedoms are a real thing- and I see no information that indicates either of these people are meeting those five needs in the animals they are responsible for. See the Trixie Foundation in Kentucky for a heartbreaking portrayal of hoarding, delusions of grandeur, and mental illness all rolled into the worst example of what a “sanctuary” can be.

  21. happyoften says:

    This show is so chock full of nuts, the guy who was the inspiration for SCARFACE comes across as the normal one.

    And Carol totally fed her husband to the tigers. I can’t say as I blame her, but yeah. Big kitty kibble. Karma is truly a stone cold b*itch.

    How to make a meth addled, gun fetishizing, gay polygamist look good? Stand him next to a guy running a sex cult. Jay-sus.

    The whole thing absolutely defies description. It is CRAY-CRAY monster truck style.

  22. Jess says:

    I watched the first two episodes and couldn’t take any more. They’re all crazy and the cult stuff really grossed me out.

  23. AGreatDane says:

    I have no sympathy for Carole, she has hundreds of acres and her big cats are in cages like everyone else’s. She also played a part in her husband’s death, I do no doubt it, so she (almost) got what she had coming to her. Every single person involved is disgusting and those cats and other animals deserve better.

  24. Jayna says:

    She is guilty of having him killed. She’s a lunatic. She is obsessed with those cats, and he told several people he was dumping her. That’s why she got rid of him. She would have lost her animal kingdom.

  25. Amelie says:

    The entire docuseries is nuts, I haven’t watched the whole thing yet (my sister and I are up to episode 4) but basically I’ve come away with anyone remotely interested in keeping exotic animals is insane (which is what I believed before I watched this). It’s clear the substance abuse and animal abuse issues were definitely downplayed. I get the people in this subculture are fascinating but I really wished they had paid more attention to those two aspects.

    As for Carole, she’s no saint but she is clearly the smartest in the bunch as even I had vaguely heard of Big Cat Rescue in Florida before this series. I don’t think she fed her husband Don to tigers though (she is too smart for that) but definitely knows more than she is letting on. I also took everything Don’s family, his secretary, and Carole said about Don with a grain of salt, everyone is shady here. Carole also seemed very annoyed and inconvenienced every time she talked about Don lol, her irritation was palpable so clearly she was not heartbroken to see him go. I don’t know how I feel about her rescue organization to be honest. The filmmakers make an interesting point when they say Carole and none of the other people involved seemed curious about actually SEEING big cats in the wild and the total lack of education about big cats in the wild in general.

    ALSO there is this really fascinating Twitter thread by Robert Moor who did years of research and did a podcast on Joe, Carole, etc. and wrote an article for NY Magazine. He gives updates/more info on the people depicted in the series: https://twitter.com/robertmoor_/status/1241766494964305921. If you read that entire Twitter thread, you’ll see a LOT Of people’s houses mysteriously burn down!!

    The most random one I thought was the most WTF is the reality TV producer Rick Kirkham whose relationship with Joe broke down after the fire in Joe’s recording studio. He moved back to Dallas but mysteriously his house burnt down while he was living there. He almost died, remarried, and now lives in Norway.

    • Andrea says:

      In that twitter account, there is a restraining order posted from Carole’s lover after Don disappeared, prior to her current husband that he feared for his life too back in 2002!

  26. Cat Ca says:

    The only person my heart breaks for is Travis Maldonado.
    Joe Exotic took a drug addled (supposedly straight) 19 year old and married him in a 3 way ceremony 1 month later!!!! 1 month!!!

    He must have kept him pumped full of meth the entire 4 years until his tragic death.

    There was a scene where Travis gets out of his vehicle and it looks like he picks up a long chain that is on his ankle. Did anyone else see that? I keep wondering about that……..

    Everyone and everything is just gross. I was entertained while watching it for sure, but feel really dirty now. Like I saw something I wish I hadn’t now.

    • Tulip says:

      I felt very sad about Travis as well and there was so much to be sad about in this documentary for all its insanity (I didn’t make a note of the chain but I’ll have another look-sounds hideous enough to be true).

      I hope the man that witnessed his death is okay, what a horrific thing to see.

      My heart goes out to Travis’s mother and her grief.

  27. Lizzie says:

    Well Tiger King certainly took me away from Covid-19 for a few hours.

    The mystery to me is the women supposedly drawn in by the cubs by Jeff in LV. Were they hookers? I’m no longer in my teens or 20’s but I don’t think I would have ever been like ‘oh you have a tiger cub, sure I’ll sleep with you and your wife’.

    I’d like to see Doc arrested for grooming/sleeping with underage teens. It’s a tough competition to pick the most disgusting character but I think he wins.

  28. Ashley says:

    That series scarred me. I had to watch it in two days because after a few episodeS I had to give up. I can’t stomach animal abuse and in the end that’s what all of these people did: abuse animals on a massive scale.

  29. AngelaH says:

    I’ve been following Big Cat Rescue for years and love the volunteers and workers there. They are knowledgeable and show how much they care about these cats. I’ve seen them look after injured cats until they can be released too. The workers there do their best in less than ideal conditions. I believe BCR does good work.

    That doesn’t make the founder a good person. That doesn’t mean she isn’t a mess.

    I have not and will not watch the documentary because I’ve seen too many of these cats from roadside zoos and that’s what I focus on. I also feel bad for the workers at BCR and want to continue to appreciate their hard work and caring. I know I won’t be able to look at things the same after watching this.

  30. Boo says:

    We just finished this show and Jesus what a doozie. I’m glad you bring up Doc Antle because we found him to be the most sinister and toxic of the bunch, in a group full of sinister and toxic people. At times it was mildly entertaining but for the most part it was disturbing and sad. If not for quarantine I never would have watched this show.

    • Andrea says:

      Doc Antle disturbed me the most for multiple reasons: One, I have been to Myrtle Beach multiple times and know of many of my friends who have done so as well. I wonder how many people I know who have had a tour with him. Two, his name which he has them call them lord and procures these virgins or near virgins as basically sex slaves. I hope he gets raided again. I read Alligator Adventure nearby got closed for some time as well. I have visited that place 15 years ago and I wonder if anything nefarious is going on there as well.

  31. MsIam says:

    The whole thing was shockingly bizarre. But in a weird way it gave me some insight on how Trump won the election. Joe Exotic got almost 20% of the vote in the Oklahoma governors race. People said he was “entertaining, speaks his mind and tells it the way it is!” Sound familiar? Trump is Joe Exotic in a suit and tie, minus the meth presumably.

  32. Bucky Bieber says:

    She criticises the other zoos and then ‘rescues’ the animals to stock her own zoo. She’d make a great establishment Democrat.

  33. Flffgrrrrlr says:

    Has anyone mentioned the 2011 Louis Theroux documentary about exotic pets, starring Joe Exotic? https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b016yklh

  34. Jessie says:

    Hot mess all of them. I think the meth really messed joe up though. They talk about how different his care of the animals became as he got more addicted, then you see that moment of clarity when he talks about the chimps. Someone who didn’t originally love animals at some point wouldn’t have had a reaction like that. Now he’s presumably sober in jail and he gave up info on all the other big cat guys and their law breaking. I don’t feel sorry for anyone but the animals, but meth does change people. I think he started out with good intentions and no knowledge to do things properly years ago and it just went downhill fast.

    • Geeena says:

      tbh I don’t think anyone can start with good intentions if the starting point is to buy an endangered wild animal to keep as a pet. I do think the drug use was the worst possible wildcard. Almost his whole staff has admitted to hard drug use while responsible for these animals. Bad for the animals and bad for people.

      I feel for Saff because he lost his arm for one split second bad judgment, but if drug use was so openly tolerated and encouraged, makes me wonder if he was high at work when it happened. Makes me wonder how many close calls these employees had while working on drugs.