Tiger King. It’s the stranger-than-fiction Netflix documentary everybody’s talking about. The series introduced us to a tangled web of larger-than-life characters, but where are they now?
The owner of the zoo wound up in a cage. Animal breeder, YouTube loudmouth, country “singer” and gay polygamist at the center of the madness, Joseph Maldonado-Passage ignited a bitter feud with fellow big cat lover Carole Baskin that led to his downfall. In January of this year, he was sentenced to 22 years in prison. He’s currently serving time in Texas. However, he has launched a lawsuit against the government and is hoping for a presidential pardon from Donald Trump. According to the documentary’s directors, he’s delighted with his newfound notoriety.
Carole Baskin continues to run Big Cat Rescue animal sanctuary in Tampa, Florida, with her husband Howard Baskin. She now regrets her cooperation with the documentary: On March 29, Baskin released a blog post describing the Netflix series as “salacious and sensational,” refuting many of the suggestions and implications made by those interviewed. Meanwhile, police have used the popularity of the series to appeal for information on the cold case of the disappearance of Carole Baskin’s husband Don Lewis.
Joe Exotic’s former husband now works as a welder in Oklahoma with his wife, and is the proud owner of some new teeth. His relationship with Joe ended after Joe had him arrested for assault, but he later ran Joe’s Safari bar near the zoo. On a Facebook page promising “the truth about John Finlay,” he says he’s talking to numerous news stations and producers about interviews and possibly even a biography.
Bhagavan ‘Doc’ Antle
The supplier of big cats to Hollywood productions is also the man behind The Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (Tigers) in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He denies allegations he euthanized big cats. According to CNN, he puts the show’s success down to the fact audiences are “trapped on their couch and this train wreck of an adventure into magical wildlife land has somehow just caught everybody’s attention.”
It must be strange for TV producer Kirkham to see the success of the Netflix documentary, knowing he was denied from making his own show on the subject. Before Tiger King, he made 2006 film TV Junkie showing how he juggled addiction and a career as a news journalist. Now, according to Kirkham’s Facebook page, he lives in Norway and is working on a documentary about a “guy living an exciting double life.”
After taking over the Greater Wynnewood Zoo, Jeff Lowe and his wife Lauren were planning to open a new zoo this summer. With their hot nanny.
Plucked from a job in Walmart’s ammo section to run Joe Exotic’s presidential campaign, Joshua Dial now lives in Oklahoma. In an interview with Oxygen, he said he doesn’t like to work in offices after witnessing Travis Maldonado, Joe’s husband, shooting himself in the head while sitting in the zoo’s office. He maintains that Joe’s conviction was entrapment, and he has no intention of watching the documentary.
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On his Instagram, Passage told a fan he and Joe are still married. There are no pictures of Joe on his Instagram, although there is a video of Passage riding an elephant with Doc Antle. His Insta bio reads “Animals are cooler than people.”
Rebecca Chaiklin and Eric Goode
Behind the camera, the documentary’s director Eric Goode is every bit as colorful as the people in the show. Goode was a New York nightclub owner, restaurateur and hotelier who once dated Naomi Campbell, and also runs a turtle sanctuary. Chaiklin and Goode remain in contact with Joe Exotic, although the backlash from the film’s subjects probably rules out continuing the story.
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