Tiger King (opens in new tab) has quickly become the most-talked-about Netflix show on the internet – the world's population intoxicated by the eccentricities of Joe Exotic. Of course, the zookeeper's story did not end when the true-crime documentary's cameras stopped rolling, and the fallout of Tiger King has quickly begun. Spoilers ahead.
First off, numerous fans have called on the American Justice Department to free Joe Exotic, with rapper Cardi B vowing to free the polygamist from jail. (If you had told me a month ago that I would be writing that sentence on GamesRadar+, I would have dismissively laughed very, very hard.)
Then Carole Baskin – the animal rights activist who Exotic allegedly attempted to murder – responded to the documentary's portrayal of her. Throughout the series, various members of the big cat community claim Baskin murdered her ex-husband, Dom, and fed him to the tigers. Following Tiger King's release on Netflix, she penned a blog post calling the series “salacious and sensational” and claiming it “lies” to attract viewers.
Tiger King co-producer Eric Goode has since defended the Netflix series, saying that she openly discussed "her personal life, her childhood, abuse from her first and second husband, the disappearance of her ex, Don Lewis".
"She knew that this was not just about... it’s not a [Sea World documentary] Blackfish because of the things she spoke about," he told the LA Times (opens in new tab). "She certainly wasn’t coerced. The other thing I would say about all these people is that 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.”
Where Baskin has been angry at her portrayal in Tiger King, Joe Exotic has apparently been "over the moon" with its reception. “Joe has called me quite a few times over the last few days and weeks," Goode said. "One, he is absolutely ecstatic about the series and the idea of being famous. He’s absolutely thrilled. I think he is trying to be an advocate for – no surprise – criminal justice reform.
“He is in a cage and of course, he’s gonna say that he now recognises what he did to these animals. With Joe, we have empathy for him, but at the same time, he’s someone who really knows what to say at the right moment. I take it with a big grain of salt when he says he is now apologetic for keeping animals.”
How Joe Exotic's case will continue is anyone's guess. For now, though, the memes are certainly a fun distraction from the ongoing apocalypse. For more Netflix recommendations, check out our lists of the best Netflix shows (opens in new tab) and best movies on Netflix (opens in new tab).