The start of lockdown already feels like a lifetime ago.
But the one thing we remember vividly is that the whole country seemed to be obsessed with Tiger King, and the bizarre story of Joe Exotic and his associates, antagonists, and Carole Baskin has played on our minds ever since.
So we thought we’d spend some time tracking everyone down. Here’s what happened to the extremely colourful cast of Tiger King – and where they are now.
At the end of the series, the self-styled Tiger King found himself stuck behind bars. Since then, reporters have asked Donald Trump if they would review his case and he said he would look into it, although there has been no further word on the matter from the White House.
Exotic is still serving a 22-year sentence at Grady County Jail in Oklahoma, which he received for plotting to kill his nemesis, Carole Baskin, and for acts of animal cruelty. However, he is appealing his conviction and hopes to clear his name.
Meanwhile, Nicholas Cage is preparing to play him in a dramatised Netflix series of the Tiger King.
Baskin continues to run Big Cat Rescue and to oppose Joe Exotic. She has enjoyed a recent victory, as the court ordered Exotic to hand over his zoo to her, which he had originally given to Jeff Lowe. Unsurprisingly, Exotic intends to fight this, with his team providing a statement to The Independent: “While we again acknowledge it is truly time to pray for justice for George Floyd’s family as well as an end to systemic racism in America, we must address Carol[e] Baskin’s treachery before it goes unchecked.”
Baskin, who has divided opinion among viewers, has also expressed her disappointment at the final edit of Tiger King. “When the directors of the Netflix documentary Tiger King came to us five years ago they said they wanted to make… [a documentary] that would expose the misery caused by the rampant breeding of big cat cubs for cub petting exploitation and the awful life the cats lead in roadside zoos and back yards if they survive,” she wrote in a blog post.
“There are no words for how disappointing it is to see that the docuseries not only does not do any of that but has had the sole goal of being as salacious and sensational as possible to draw viewers.”
Jeff Lowe was Joe Exotic’s “friend”, who ended up taking his zoo from him. While Carole Baskin has now been granted that zoo by the courts, Lowe is happy to accept the ruling, claiming that he didn’t really want the zoo anyway.
He told American website TMZ: “In all honesty, and people probably won’t believe me, but [Baskin] deserves this property. She beat Joe, he didn’t defend himself and she’s entitled to the judgement. We didn’t defend this suit because we knew, 1) the law would be on her side, and 2) it wasn’t worth us defending this property because we didn’t want it.”
He also told TMZ that he and wife Lauren are to be the subjects of a new spin-off reality show which will “divulge a lot more information about the relationship between him and Joe Exotic”. Jeff says it will be “very, very informative” and calls it “our narrative on Tiger King”. While coronavirus means there is no firm date for broadcast, he says that the show is in pre-production.
You could argue that Doc Antle came out of this show worse than either Joe Exotic or Carole Baskin. A screened interview with a former employee suggested he ran his animal institute like a cult and was guilty of all sorts of wrongdoing, and Exotic has accused him of acts of animal cruelty.
However, despite previous legal challenges, he continues to run The Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species and his social media makes it look like it’s business as usual there. However, a now deleted post did complain that they were “very disappointed our facility was mentioned in the new Netflix series” and complained that Tiger King is “not a documentary; it’s sensationalised entertainment with paid participants”.
Joe Exotic’s ex-husband has reacted to the documentary by setting up his own Facebook page called “The Truth about John Finlay” trying to set the record straight. He works as a welder now and has a new set of teeth, which he is upset didn’t make the final edit of Tiger King. “Yes I have my teeth fixed,” he said on his page. “The producers of the Netflix series had video and pictures of this but chose not to show it.”
Tiger King is available to watch on Netflix now. To find out what else is on, check out our TV Guide.