Tiger King’s John Reinke on why he didn’t sue after losing legs: “They said they’d take care of me”

The zoo keeper has revealed that the company behind his horrific accident broke their promise to help him out financially

Courtesy of Netflix

Zookeeper John Reinke, one of the breakout stars from Netflix documentary Tiger King, has revealed the reason why he never sued the company responsible for his horrific injuries and eventual leg amputations.


As Reinke explains in the series, he didn’t lose his legs due to a tiger maul – it was while he was working as a professional bungee jumper during the mid-90s, and tested a zip-line for a company.

“We were getting it ready and testing it out, and the pulley failed and I fell 50 feet,” he told TooFab. “Broke my back, my hip, shattered my feet. I was paralyzed for a couple of years.”

He continued, “[I] realised I didn’t want no part in a wheelchair, so I learned how to walk… and I shouldn’t have been walking. Anyways, I ended up with bone infection and that’s how ultimately I lost my feet.”

The reason he didn’t sue or publicly reveal the company’s name was because the company in question was owned by former friends of his, who promised to help him out, but never did – despite allegedly later winning the lottery.

“I don’t see ’em. I don’t even think they even know I exist any more,” he said, before adding that the statute of limitations has since passed and he can no longer sue.

“That happened back in ’94. Can’t do anything about it. That story’s even crazier; they won the Texas lottery. They won like $16 million or something.”

Tiger King
Joe Exotic in Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness (Netflix)

Asked for his thoughts on former boss Joe Exotic’s imprisonment, he said, “”He’s not where he should be. He shouldn’t be in there for 22 years. He did do some stuff wrong, but I think he’s done enough time.”


You can watch Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is on Netflix UK now. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.