Incarcerated ‘Tiger King’ Star Joe Exotic Unraveled to Be ‘Scared to Death’ of Big Cats
Rick Kirkham, the producer behind Netflix’s ‘Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness’, additionally recalls how ‘unbelievably cruel’ the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park’s former owner could be.
- Apr 13, 2020
AceShowbiz – Joe Exotic is “terrified of big cats”, according to “Tiger King” producer Rick Kirkham.
“Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” debuted on Netflix last month, and focuses on incarcerated Oklahoma zoo boss Exotic, real name Joe Maldonado-Passage, and his plot to kill his bitter rival Carole Baskin.
It’s been a worldwide smash hit for the streaming service, with Joel McHale taking charge of a reunion special, “The Tiger King and I”, on Sunday night (April 12), which featured the return of some of the programme’s most loved characters, including producer Kirkham.
In his chat, Kirkham told McHale that despite his “Tiger King” nickname, Joe was actually petrified of big cats, and had them sedated whenever he had to get close to them for work.
“He was scared to death of lions and tigers,” Kirkham said. “In the shots you see where he’s in with the two tigers, the white one is blind and the other one is tranquilised. It’s idiotic to think how he’s become famous as ‘the tiger king’ when he’s so terrified of big cats.”
Kirkham also recounted a horrific story about the “unbelievably cruel” Joe, describing how he’d given reassurances to a tearful woman that he’d give her horse a “good life” on his property.
“Before she got off the park – he said, ‘Rick, roll your camera. Roll your camera. Come on, you’re gonna love this Rick’, – he walked up, pulled a gun out of his holster and shot the horse dead in the trailer and then cut it up with a chainsaw and then fed it to the tigers that day,” Kirkham recalled. He also claimed that Joe would kill the old tigers and “feed them right to the other tigers”.
Elsewhere in the reunion special, Jeff and Lauren Lowe, the couple who took over Joe’s Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, reflected on another allegation touched upon in the series – that Baskin killed her ex-husband Don Lewis and fed him to the tigers.
Asked whether or not he believed that Baskin murdered Lewis, Jeff replied: “There’s no question in my mind that she did it, and we’ve claimed that for years and years and years.”
“Abso-f**king-lutley,” his wife Lauren agreed emphatically.
Baskin has always vehemently denied having anything to do with Lewis’ disappearance. She said in an interview with the Tampa Times on Friday that she’s been receiving death threats herself since the show started streaming, and her publicist told Us Weekly that while she hadn’t been asked to be part of “The Tiger King and I”, she wouldn’t have participated anyway due to her portrayal in the programme.
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