Many of the key players in Tiger King are now fuming at their treatment – but there’s been a happy ending for at least one.
Many of the key players in Tiger King are now fuming at their treatment – but there’s been a happy ending for at least one.

Tiger King: What happened to the cast of zany characters

In the two weeks since Tiger King dropped on Netflix, the bizarre, seven-part docuseries has become a global sensation among viewers bored, self-isolating at home and in need of distraction.

And what better distraction from the current state of the world than the story of a "gay Joe Dirt, high on meth who feeds his tigers old Walmart meat," as one viewer memorably put it.

But what of the real-life people shown in an unflattering light in Tiger King? Unsurprisingly, many are now very unhappy with their portrayal in the show:

JOE EXOTIC

Joe Exotic’s mugshot.
Joe Exotic’s mugshot.

Yes, he's still in prison - and he'll likely be there a while yet. Joe Exotic - real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage - was sentenced to 22 years in jail in January for his role in the Carole Baskin murder-for-hire plot.

But Joe is fighting to clear his name: he has filed a US federal lawsuit seeking nearly $US94 million in damages, claiming he was convicted based on false and perjured testimony. He also says he was singled out for prosecution because he "is an openly gay male with the largest collection of generic tigers and crossbreeds".

Thanks to his magnetic presence in Tiger King, he now has some very famous supporters in his corner: rapper Cardi B, hooked on the series, says she wants to start a GoFundMe to cover his legal costs.

Hey all you cool cats and kittens.
Hey all you cool cats and kittens.

CAROLE BASKIN

She's not happy. Baskin says she took part in Tiger King because she was promised it would shine a light on the exploitation of wild animals in "backyard zoos" across America. Instead, thanks to the documentary's continued focus on her former husband's mysterious disappearance, Baskin is dealing with rumour and innuendos about herself on a global scale.

Writing on the website of her Big Cat Rescue sanctuary, Baskin vehemently denied any involvement in her husband's disappearance - and slammed the makers of Tiger King.

"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," Baskin's statement reads.

"As part of that, it has a segment devoted to suggesting, with lies and innuendos from people who are not credible, that I had a role in the disappearance of my husband Don in 1997."

Baskin's Cig Cat Rescue sanctuary remains open. And if she does want to know what happened to her former husband, she may be in luck - there's been some suggestion that the sudden attention could lead to a Serial-style true crime investigation into his disappearance.

DOC ANTLE

Doc Antle and friend.
Doc Antle and friend.


Sorry, that's Mahamayavi Bhagavan "Doc" Antle. He's still running The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (that's TIGERS for short). And he's not happy with Netflix.

"This is not a documentary. 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," Antle said in an interview with TMX News.

Like Carole, Doc said he thought the directors were making a film about his efforts to protect endangered species - this despite others in the film alleging that he gassed tiger cubs once they'd grown too big for him to be able to charge zoo visitors to pet them.

"Questions about Carole and Joe were a dozen or so thrown into hundreds of others. And I repeatedly told them, I have no desire to be involved in some show where you got the feud of Carole and Joe going on. It's not my thing," he said. "Leave me out of it."

Perhaps of most interest: Eagle-eyed viewers noticed that Antle played a pivotal role in Britney Spears' iconic performance of I'm A Slave 4 U at the 2001 MTV VMAs, as the handler for the tiger she shared the stage with:

 

JEFF LOWE

You'll remember from the series that Lowe moved in on Joe Exotic's zoo, renaming it - and, by Tiger King's end, had plans to move it to relocate it. Seems those plans are still forging ahead - Oklahoma Zoo, behind Winstar Casino, is billed as "opening summer 2020."

This new negative attention might mean he's met with some opposition - take the tiger selfie above, posted five days ago as Lowe was "on the way to the vet."

"You need to be in prison!" reads just one of the hundreds of negative comments under the photo.

"On the way to sell him is more likely," wrote another.

Jeff's also unhappy with how he was portrayed in the film: "They touched on about 10 per cent of the story and, you know, the portrayal of us stealing the zoo from Joe was very unfair because we came here to help him, we got it back on its feet," he told TMX News.

JOHN FINLAY

John Finlay in Tiger King.
John Finlay in Tiger King.

One of the few people in the whole series you find yourself rooting for, Joe's first husband John makes memorable appearances throughout the seven episodes thanks to his toothless smile and shirt-free interviews.

TMZ reports some happy news: Finlay now has a brand new set of pearly whites. He's also got a few issues with the documentary makers (join the queue, bud), who he says told him to take his shirt off before sitting down for his Tiger King interviews. And while Finlay concedes he did meth, he says it wasn't the reason for his missing teeth, which were an earlier genetic problem.

And as explained in the series, like Joe Exotic's other husband Travis, John was never gay - he now lives in Oklahoma with his fiance Stormey. She can be seen supporting him in the final episode as he gets his 'PROPERTY OF JOE EXOTIC' crotch tattoo covered up.

 

 

Originally published as Tiger King: What happened next



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