Following the release of Tiger King, the internet erupted in both memes and calls to #FreeJoeExotic. Indeed, the story of the gun-toting, mulleted, polygamist zookeeper captured the world's attention, and many fans – including famous rapper Cardi B – believe Joe Exotic should be freed from jail where he's currently serving 22 years for murder-for-hire and violations of the Endangered Species Act.
However, the series' director and co-producer, Eric Goode, does not share that belief. “Should he be sprung from jail at this time? I don’t think so,” he told Page Six. Goode added that the sentence Exotic received was certainly hefty, adding: “I think Joe was a bad guy, [but] he’s a human being and there are parts of Joe I empathize with... Sometimes our criminal justice system is about punishing people and not reforming people.”
Goode recently responded to allegations from one of Tiger King's other stars, Carole Baskin, that the seven-part series was "salacious" and filled with "lies". "She knew that this was not just about... it’s not a [Sea World documentary] Blackfish because of the things she spoke about," Goode told the LA Times.
The producer expanded on his sentiments in the new interview, saying: “I feel that Carole, out of all these people, at least had the right message: to stop breeding and exploiting these cats for monetary gain.” He added, however, that he worries that Baskin is not treating her animals fairly.
“Sometimes you wonder whether or not one should humanely euthanize these cats instead of [letting them] suffer in cages,” he said. “I posed the question to Carole: is it fair to keep these tigers in cages? These animals pace neurotically. I know she means well, but I wonder if it’s really the right thing to do.”