No. In the documentary, we see Joe Exotic singing in tiger-themed music videos. However, the Tiger King true story reveals that it was not actually Joe Exotic's voice we were hearing. "No, that is not Joe singin'," said ex-boyfriend John Finlay. The documentary's director, Eric Goode, confirmed this in a Netflix UK video chat, stating, "Joe lip-synced most of his songs, and he would literally go up to people with his album and say that he's number three on the charts. And it was so shameless that he could actually do that, you know, take himself so seriously, when of course, it wasn't even his music." Author and podcaster Robert Moor said that a group called The Clinton Johnson Band performed the tracks, with Joe Exotic lip-syncing in the music videos. Watch the "I Saw a Tiger" Music Video.
No, at least not according to Doc Antle. Netflix's Tiger King documentary makes it look like Doc Antle has multiple wives and is essentially a cult leader with female followers. However, Antle says that his wife died 25 years ago. During an interview with Theo Von, Antle corrected the documentary's alleged lies. "I'm a single guy," says Antle. "I was married 25 years ago, but I'm a single guy. I got girlfriends. They've come and gone over the years. I mean, it can't be unique that I have girlfriends. It's just that they got put on a screen and said this and that. Then they included my son's fiancée and my grandson's kids, my granddaughters, and everybody else. You're like, 'Look at that line up of all those ladies.' Those ladies are my relatives and/or the significant others of my staff and my friends that are here helping me out."
The Netflix Tiger King docuseries raises the possibility that Doc Antle euthanized cubs who were too old to safely interact with humans. In the series, former zoo owner Tim Stark says Antle told Joe Exotic that it's a bad business decision to keep them all "because once a tiger gets out of the stage where you can use them, they're nothing more than a bill then." Doc Antle strongly denies that he ever euthanized tiger cubs. "They know that that's not true and that euthanizing cubs is illegal, immoral, and absolutely never happens here and never has,” he told TMX News. It should be noted that Tim Stark has been stripped of his USDA license to exhibit animals and both himself and his zoo have been fined a total of $340,000 for 120 alleged violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
"The huge line [with regard to the true story] they stepped over was there at the end, bringing up on the black screen that they have asked me about some inappropriateness with tiger cubs and I haven't answered, when in fact these guys talked to me for maybe five full days of filming and three or four half days. They asked me every question in the world. 99% of them had nothing to do with anything that was going to become Tiger King, and they just picked and chose little pieces. Of course I run this incredible, world-class operation. I have tiger cubs that live with me cradle to grave. No tiger babies are ever going to be euthanized or ever gonna be squished out of the way. They're incredibly precious to us, all the way from what they provide us, to just their very nature, to they have hyper value. They're super rare."
The Tiger King documentary claims that there are more tigers living in captivity in America than living free in the wild. However, Doc Antle, owner of Myrtle Beach Safari, says that this is absolutely fiction. "That incredible blither that there are more tigers in America than there are in the wild is a hundred percent a lie," says Antle. "There may be a thousand or so tigers in America, but there are certainly not 5,000. There are hundreds of tigers in private zoos. There may be dozens of people in the entire country that would have a tiger somehow and not have a federal oversight USDA zoo license called an Exhibitor's License. It's unheard of."
Antle says that the Netflix documentary puts forth "endless misleading information about the stats of big cats and where they are." He says that there's no evidence that there are 10,000 big cats hidden out there, or that there's a risk to first responders. "If there's 10,000 of them hidden out there, you'd hear about it all day long," he says. According to Antle, it's "absolutely not true" that they are all over Texas. "A big cat census was done about 14 years ago, and they only found 17 unregistered tigers in the state of Texas," he says. "Thousands is a crazy thing." Antle says that it also makes no sense given that each tiger eats 10-15 pounds of meat every day. "That's a hell of a freezer," he says. People simply don't have the money or the resources to keep them as pets.
In researching the Tiger King true story, we discovered that the documentary likely got its figure from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which has stated that it believes there are as many as 10,000 tigers living in captivity in America, while an estimated 3,900 remain in the wild. It should also be noted that the media often massively exaggerates the number of tigers in America, while academic estimates place the number much lower.
"No, that was actually kinda the director's idea," Finlay said on Lights Out with David Spade. "It was kinda the sex appeal type thing." Finlay said that they had footage of him with his shirt on, but they chose not to include that.
No, not according to Finlay. Despite the docuseries showing a pink-shirted wedding celebration between Joe Exotic, John Finlay, and Travis, Finlay has stated numerous times that he was never legally married to Joe Exotic, including in this David Spade John Finlay Interview.
Finlay says that he has been off drugs for several years and that he works as a welder and is engaged to be married, but not to the woman he got together with in the series. However, they did have a child together. Below, he is pictured with his fiancée, Stormey Sanders. Finlay also got new teeth, a process he says was more painful than any of his numerous tattoos. In a Facebook post, Finlay said that the filmmakers did have footage of his new teeth, but they chose not to include it in the documentary.
In exploring the Tiger King fact vs. fiction, we learned that Saff's main complaint seems to be that the documentary misgendered him, referring to him in terms of his biological gender, female.
"I lived in the zoo for a year," said Kirkham. He agreed to work there so long as he could film a reality show while he was helping Joe Exotic with his Internet show. Unfortunately, the Tiger King facts confirm that Kirkham's footage was lost in the suspicious fire, as seen on the show.
According to Joe Exotic's reality show producer, Rick Kirkham, this is the darker side of the true story. Kirkham said that he had the footage of Joe killing animals, but it burned up in the fire. "There was footage in there of Joe actually killing animals for fun," Kirkham said during an interview on Lights Out with David Spade. "In the course of my year, he'd a walked up to a tiger he didn't like and just shot it in the head."
Kirkham told the story of a woman who brought an old horse in a trailer to Joe's G.W. Zoo. She told Joe that she could no longer care for the animal and asked him if he'd take it and give it a good home. He hugged her and told her everything would be fine. He told her to leave the horse and the trailer and they'd put it out to pasture and give it a good place to live. "As soon as the lady left the park, Joe said, 'Rick, grab your camera. Start rollin'.' He walks up to the horse trailer, pulls his revolver out, shoots the horse in the head dead and laughs. Just laughs. That was Joe Exotic. And of course, he fed that horse to the lions."
Kirkham said things were "a hell of a lot worse" than what's seen in the documentary. "[Watching Tiger King], you kinda had a little bit of a heart for the guy, but you really didn't realize or get to see how evil he really could be, not only to animals, but to people." Kirkham said that he felt himself cross over a moral line as he stayed at the zoo to film. After he left, he ended up needing six months of therapy, including a week-long stay in a psychiatric facility.
Carole has condemned the documentary, calling the series salacious and sensational. She too said that the filmmakers misled her, presenting the idea as a big cat version of Blackfish. Directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin have admitted this was their original intention for the series but told the Los Angeles Times that the documentary evolved as the story continued to unfold. Carole's current husband, Howard Baskin, said that "the biggest con-artists of them all were [directors] Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin." The directors responded by saying that Carole was in no way coerced.
It appears that Lowe did have some experience with big cats. Though it's not emphasized in the Tiger King documentary, prior to taking over Joe Exotic's G.W. Zoo, Jeff Lowe had 30 big cats of his own that he needed homes for.
The documentary certainly implies that Jeff Lowe was a sort-of villain who came in and stole the zoo out from under Joe Exotic. However, according to Lowe, he didn't steal the zoo from Joe Exotic, stating that the documentary leaves out a lot of the details regarding the true story. "His lawsuits started burying him. The [Carole] Baskin lawsuit, I refused to pay for, because that was his mistake, his problem," says Lowe. "He got to the point where his lawyers just said, 'Joe, you gotta dissolve your company, get out from under this.' So he did. He shut his zoo down, completely shut it down, dissolved the corporation. Lauren and I formed a new corporation and opened it back up to the public. So, you know, everybody says we stole the zoo from Joe. That couldn't be any further from the truth. He was ready to walk. He had the doors closed when we took over." -Lights Out with David Spade
No. "I won't go there, too deep," said Lowe of his relationship with director Eric Goode, "but, you know, they had the show to make and they made their show. You know Hollywood, they create a lot of things that really don't exist, and it sensationalized things. I texted [Eric] the next day and said, 'You know what, all in all, it wasn't bad. I wish you hadn't done this or said this.' That's a discussion for another time. Let him enjoy his glory. ... You know, he made us look like sluts, but it's really helping us get laid," Lowe told David Spade sarcastically. "So, it worked out okay that way. ... Call me later and I'll tell you the [full] story." -Lights Out with David Spade
No. In researching the Tiger King fact vs. fiction, we learned that of all the stars of the documentary who have appeared in interviews, none have said that they were informed of what angle Tiger King was going to take. John Reinke, who is featured in the documentary and acted as the manager of the G.W. Zoo, says that they had been filming the series for at least five years.
"No," answered Reinke when asked if he knew what it was going to be about. "There's so much missin' from it. So, I think they were just saving a lot for more episodes." The directors, Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, have stated that they didn't fully understand what it was going to be about either, at least not for a long time. -Lights Out with David Spade
Yes. According to his husband, Dillon Passage, Joe Exotic has seen Tiger King. He's a fan of the Netflix documentary and is ecstatic about being famous. Dillon says that what most people don't understand is that Joe has had broad access to the Internet in prison and is well aware of the sensation that the documentary has become. He has spent an enormous amount of time returning fan emails.
No. This was a rumor that was reported by some news outlets. However, Joe Exotic's husband, Dillon Passage, said that since COVID-19 was in Brady County Jail where Joe Exotic was incarcerated, they moved him to a medical facility and quarantined him for fourteen days to make sure he wasn't sick.
Yes. The only thing we know so far about the Netflix Tiger King scripted series is that Saturday Night Live alum Kate McKinnon is taking on the role of Carole Baskin.
Sink your teeth into the Tiger King true story by watching these cast interviews in which they reveal the reality behind what was seen in the Netflix documentary series.