The Netflix docu-series “Tiger King” became a pop culture phenomenon shortly after its release in March 2020. The series follows the story of Joe Exotic, a zookeeper and big cat enthusiast, and his rivalry with animal rights activist Carole Baskin. While the series is well-known, here are five things that you may not know about the show:
The accident that took John Reinke’s legs was far worse than he described
Throughout the Tiger King documentary, we witness John Reinke, a former employee of Joe Exotic, displaying his artificial legs as well as discussing the traumatic event that resulted in the amputation of his real legs. However, the extent of the incident’s brutality is not fully explained. In a 2010 interview with a local Oklahoma newspaper, Reinke elaborated on the incident. Although he mentioned a ziplining accident in Tiger King, the article stated that it was actually a bungee-jumping mishap involving a significant fall. According to the newspaper report, not only did Reinke suffer leg injuries from a pulley malfunction that sent him plummeting 55 feet to the ground, but he also landed on a 6-inch metal stake, which pierced his colon and stomach. As a result, he underwent more than 20 surgeries on his feet and legs.
It was originally going to be a feature film
The creators of “Tiger King,” Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, initially planned to make a feature film about the world of big cat owners and collectors. However, they soon realized that there was too much material for a single film and decided to make a multi-part series instead.
Joe Exotic is not the only subject of the series
While Joe Exotic is the central figure in “Tiger King,” the series also features a number of other big cat owners and enthusiasts, including Doc Antle and Jeff Lowe. In addition, the series explores the larger world of exotic animal ownership and the controversies surrounding it.
Carole Baskin has criticized the series
Carole Baskin, one of the primary antagonists of “Tiger King,” has publicly criticized the series for its portrayal of her and her organization, Big Cat Rescue. Baskin claims that the series was heavily edited to create a false narrative about her and her work.
The series sparked a federal investigation
Following the release of “Tiger King,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched an investigation into the treatment of animals at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, which was owned by Joe Exotic. In addition, Joe Exotic himself was arrested and charged with a number of crimes, including murder-for-hire and animal abuse.
A follow-up series is in the works
In September 2020, it was announced that a follow-up series to “Tiger King” was in development. The series, titled “Tiger King 2,” will reportedly explore the aftermath of the original series and feature new interviews with some of the key players. The release date for the new series has not yet been announced. These are just a few of the lesser-known facts about the Netflix docu-series “Tiger King.” Despite the controversies surrounding the show, it remains a fascinating and entertaining look at the bizarre world of big cat ownership and the people who inhabit it.