Tiger King has been unleashed on the world and, boy, does a lot happen in just seven episodes. The story isn't even truly finished yet, but so much has already happened to the Tiger King cast that talks about a second season are underway. Probably because avid viewers need to know what's happening with Joe Exotic. Is he still in prison? Has he received a presidential pardon yet? On the opposite side of this madness, where is Carole Baskin now?
That's the thing about documentaries: the stories don't just end when the cameras stop rolling, and we have been left with a whole host of characters still out there in the wild. Some have moved to Norway, others are doing tell-all interviews, others still are using the internet to bash Tiger King and claim everything in it was distorted and unfounded.
And what about the tigers? Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the director of Blackfish, along with the Animal Legal Defense Fund, petitioned Congress to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act - a bill that calls for an end to private big cat ownership and cub petting.
So let's dig in and take a look at where everybody is now and speculate about what storylines might show up in a second season.
Joe Exotic (AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage) Filed A $94M Lawsuit
Joe Exotic may have ended Tiger King in prison, but his story is far from over. Despite having been convicted in a court of law, Joe is still making moves with a Hail Mary lawsuit against the US Fish and Wildlife Service for false imprisonment. On top of that, Joe is angling for a presidential pardon.
Musically, Joe's not performing much these days, but that's largely because he never actually performed any of his songs. As it turns out, there's a band behind everything - and they even sang all of his infamous classics like "I Saw a Tiger." The two musicians are Vince Johnson and Danny Clinton, and they're still making music and hoping to maybe get some recognition for their work.
But, thankfully, he's not entirely devoid of love. Though no longer married to John Finlay, Joe is still married to Dillon Passage.
Carole Baskin Is Unhappy About The Series - And Is A Contestant On 'Dancing With the Stars'
By the end of Tiger King, Carole Baskin essentially declared victory in her feud with Joe. The man was sent to jail, and she was decidedly not slain. But that doesn't mean she came out looking like a saint. Tiger King pretty seriously implies Baskin may have offed her first husband - and perhaps even fed him to her tigers.
As you might expect, Baskin is pretty unhappy with how she was portrayed in Tiger King. She still owns and operates Big Cat Rescue with her current husband, and she recently used the sanctuary's website to write a 3,000-word blog post slamming the series. In it, she attempts to refute the series' "lies" and "misinformation." The case regarding her late husband's disappearance has been reopened. Two-and-a-half months after the documentary debuted, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister told WTSP that two experts confimred her husband's will was "100 percent a forgery," stipulating that they "knew that before." More than anything, Chronister say this "cast another shadow of suspicion, by all means."
Baskin has been fairly unreachable for an interview - that is, until content creators and pranksters Josh Pieters and Archie Manners tricked her into agreeing to a Zoom interview with Jimmy Fallon. Baskin agreed to the interview under the condition that they wouldn't discuss Tiger King, and used the platform to publicize legislation she's been working on called the Big Cat Safety Act, which aims to end the abuse of big cats by private owners. In the interview she revealed her "animals are still getting their daily care" thanks to volunteers, but that she's had to let half her staff go due to COVID-19.
After the interview was released, Baskin told CNN, "I was suspicious as we were doing it because the questions appeared taped. But had no idea it would turn out to be such a fun prank. It gave us a very welcome good laugh. I appreciate their cleverness and that they created their video in a way that I don't feel was in any way mean spirited."
On June 2, 2020, CNN announced that Baskin was awarded Joe Exotic's zoo. On June 1, a judge ruled in favor of Baskin's Big Cat Rescue against Greater Wynnewood Development Group, LLC, allowing Baskin to gain control of Exotic's former land. The court order says Greater Wynnewood Development must "vacate the Zoo Land premises within 120 days of service of this Order...Vacation of premises shall also require removal of all zoo animals from the Zoo Land."
On September 2, 2020, Dancing with the Stars announced that Baskin would be one of 15 contestants on Season 29 of the ABC competition show, premiering September 14.
Jeff Lowe's Exotic Animal Park Was Closed
Jeff Lowe, Joe's one-time partner and owner of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, announced on Facebook on August 19, 2020, that the park was permanently closed.
He cited "pressures" and "false accusations" from the animal rights organization PETA leading toa 21-day suspension of his USDA exibitor's license right before he planned to voluntarily give up the license anyway. Lowe said a "new park" he's apparently planning will "be a private film set for Tiger King-related television content for cable and streaming services."
Brittany Peet of PETA said in a statement, "PETA looks forward to seeing every one of the long-suffering animals at the G.W. Zoo be transferred to an appropriate facility where it won't take federal intervention for a sick cat to receive veterinary care."
Lowe has a history of brushes with the law and legal issues, including a copyright lawsuit over clothing involving Prince.
In addition to his legal issues, Lowe has failed numerous times to expand the business into places like Las Vegas. In fact, there are several warrants out for him in Las Vegas, so he might have a hard time expanding into Sin City.
And like Baskin and Doc, Lowe is critical of the Netflix series, speaking out against his portrayal:
They touched on about 10% of the story and, you know, the portrayal of us stealing the zoo from Joe was very unfair because we came here to help him, we got it back on its feet.
Lowe's former partner Tim Stark was recently accused of breaching the Animal Welfare Act.
Bhagavan 'Doc' Antle Speaks Out Against The Netflix Documentary
Bhagavan “Doc” Antle and his staff weren't exactly thrilled to have been featured in Tiger King and have taken to Instagram and other sites to voice their displeasure. In a recent interview, the founder and head of the Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS) in Myrtle Beach, SC, told audiences not to take the docuseries seriously:
This is a salacious, outrageous ride through a television show produced to create drama, to just tie you in to some [wild] train wreck of a story between the feud of Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic and the meltdown that ensued between two people who both are far too close to [slayings] themselves, and I think a little bit of madness thrown in on their parts.
Antle has also gone to the media to take the side of Joe, stating that the former zookeeper was betrayed by everyone who was close to him in an effort to "paint a picture of him as the worse guy possible."
In October 2020, Antle was indicted on multiple counts by the Virginia attorney general: for wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to wildlife traffic (felonies), four misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act, and nine misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. Also indicted, for the same charges, was Keith A. Wilson, owner of Wilson’s Wild Animal Park in Frederick County, VA. Two of Antle's daughters, Tawny Antle and Tilakam Watterson, were charged with misdemeanors. Attorney General Mark Herring said Antle and Wilson trafficked lion cubs between Virginia and South Carolina.