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Shocking Things About Doc Antle Left Out Of 'Tiger King'

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness has swept through the pop culture landscape, and while Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin are the main focus of this outrageous docuseries and have become household names, Exotic's mentor, Bhagavan "Doc" Antle deserves a show of his own. Doc Antle is a fascinating figure; he appears to have a deep respect for animals, yet there are also rumors of animal abuse and cult-like behavior. In fact, he has been investigated by the US Department of Agriculture.

There are plenty of skeletons in Antle's closet, as well as other strange facts that make him arguably the most compelling character on Tiger King. Check out these strange facts about Antle below.

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  • Photo: Netflix

    He Apparently Used A Charity Loophole To Skirt Federal Law And Sell Big Cats

    In the US, permits to import, export, or sell endangered animals can be obtained if a party can demonstrate it will “enhance the survival” of the species, and if that entity makes a cash contribution to a charity.

    Antle took advantage of this loophole in 2016; he filed an application for 18 tigers to be sent to Mexico for a movie, tentatively titled Tiger Island. He got his wish after making a pledge of $10,000 to charity and a vow that the movie would have a conservation theme. So far, nothing has been filmed. 

  • Photo: Netflix

    His Former 'Apprentice' Barbara Fisher Claimed He Threatened To Abort Her Baby By Poisoning Her Tea

    Barbara Fisher was an apprentice to Doc Antle for about eight years and left in 2008. Fisher offers some of the most eyebrow-raising testimonials against Antle in Tiger King, but many details from her time at Myrtle Beach Safari were left out of the documentary. As she tells it

    An average workday lasted from 8 in the morning to well past midnight, and we all worked seven days a week. We didn’t receive any of the money we made besides $100 a week for necessities, because the money was to go towards the animals and the cause. There was no time for outside interests or people, and I soon learned that all but the most thoroughly vetted of outsiders were destroying the planet and needed to be either educated or reviled.

    In November 2006, Antle gave her permission to go back to Iowa for her grandfather’s funeral. While there, she met the man who was to become her husband. When she returned to tell him, he gave her his blessing to leave the compound, but asked her to stay for the rest of the summer season. Fisher, newly pregnant, agreed: 

    I still remember the feeling of leaving. I was crying, but my heart was filled with absolute joy. There was a baby in my belly that felt like a guarantee that I would never have to return. When I told Bhagavan about the baby he said I should abort it. He said he would put herbs in my tea when I wasn’t looking and I would thank him later. I wasn’t sure if he was joking or not, but as we left, I remember feeling the baby fluttering around in my belly and being overcome with relief.

  • He Trained Tigers For Exxon Commercials

    Video: YouTube

    If you grew up in the '80s, you may remember seeing commercials for Exxon with the tagline, "Put a tiger in your tank."

    Antle, who calls himself a conservationist, and is the founder of the The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.) and the Rare Species Fund (RSF), once worked on Exxon's advertising campaign. His tigers were seen in commercials and print ads for the oil giant and were his first "Animal Ambassadors."

  • Photo: Netflix

    His Apprenticeship Requirements Are Unusual 

    Those who choose to work for Antle must do so through his apprenticeship program and meet some very specific qualifications. They must be single and childless. They must not expect any time off, no matter the reason. They must be in peak shape, no more than 20 pounds overweight, and be able to do push-ups, pull-ups, and run a 12-minute mile.

    A vegetarian diet is also required, and apprentices must watch The Devil Wears Prada and Kill Bill: Volume 2 to get an idea of what life under Doc Antle will be like. In return, Antle provides room, board, internet and a per diem. Antle says of his rigid program: 

    I tell my apprentices: two years, all you’re going to do is know what we do for a living, but you’re not going to know how we do it... In five years, they go, "Wow, it’s really complicated." And in 10 years, most of them don’t want to do it. It’s too hard to work those cats.