Joe Exotic Was Cruel To His Animals (Often Without Reason)
Rick Kirkham, the veteran journalist and producer who tried to make a reality series about G.W. Zoo, told a story about a woman who dropped off a horse at Exotic's zoo and asked him to take care of it. The horse just needed a place to live out its life, he explained. As soon as she left, Exotic allegedly led Kirkham to the trailer and shot the horse, telling Kirkham that it was food for the tigers. The producer said "cruel" behaviour like this was not uncommon from Exotic.
Erik Cowie, whose interview was the first shown in the episode, told McHale that his former boss used to kill the cats even when they weren't physically unwell. McHale said he assumed there were medical reasons to put down the cats, but Cowie had another story. "You would think, but no," he said. "They were beautiful, healthy tigers that he called over to the fence and he shot them in the head because he needed the cage space."
The "Tiger King" Was In Fact, Afraid Of Big Cats
Kirkham told McHale that the man who called himself the "tiger king" was actually terrified of the cats he had at his zoo. He said that the photos of Exotic with the tigers don't represent the real way he felt about them. He said one of the tigers Exotic is seen cuddling up to was blind and the other was on tranquillisers.
Saff Thinks That Joe's "Good Side" Wasn't Shown
Saff, the staff member who lost his arm working for Exotic, is a trans man portrayed incorrectly as a woman throughout the series. He's the only person interviewed in The Tiger King and I who had nice things to say about Exotic. He said he thought "justice was served" when Exotic went to prison but adds that he doesn't want Exotic to die there.
Jeff Lowe Maintains His Innocence
Lowe, the man who owned the G.W. Zoo after Exotic, still says he had nothing to do with the murder-for-hire setup for which Exotic is imprisoned. There is a theory among fans that Exotic was set up by Lowe in this whole murder-for-hire scenario. "I think they tried to sensationalise the story to give it a villain," he said, adding, "Joe is his own worst enemy. Joe didn’t get set up. He admitted to killing the tigers from jail."
The Cast Pitch Who Will Play Them In The Upcoming Film Adaptation
Fictional portrayals of this story are already on the way. One limited series is set to star Kate McKinnon as Carole Baskin, and Ryan Murphy is contemplating a show with Rob Lowe playing Joe Exotic. Still, others are volunteering their services on Twitter (Dax Shepard would like to play Joe, while Stephen Merchant has his eye on the role of Howard), McHale asks the documentary stars for their picks: Kirkham wants Billy Bob Thornton, Reinke names Matthew McConaughey, and Saffery selects Brandon Baker. McHale himself suggests Ken Jeong to play Saffery.