Drug Lords. Polygamy. Cults. Money. Magic and Tigers. Oh my!
For nearly 20 years, Joe Exotic ran the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma that was home to over 1200 lions, tigers, bears, wolves and snakes.
And while his reign as King of the Jungle lasted just under two decades, the former zookeeper has now been sentenced to 22 years in prison for the murder-for-hire plot to kill animal rights activist, Carole Baskin, and for killing five tiger cubs.
In the new Netflix docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, which is hailed as “the most disturbing documentary ever” — the story follows the downright crazy drama between Exotic and Baskin.
In one corner, Baskin, who founded the Big Cat Rescue animal sanctuary in Florida claims that Exotic’s treatment of the animals was poor, keeping them in terrible conditions as they cried out in distress.
In the other corner, you have Exotic, who describes himself as a “gay, gun-carrying redneck with a mullet”.
In 2006, he and the park were fined $25,000 for not providing adequate veterinary care, failing to sufficiently train staff and protect visitors during animal handling.
The seven-part series also focuses on others who own tigers including Bhagavan “Doc” Antle who owns The Institute for Greatly Endangered Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.) — a polygamist and cult leader whose employees are the women he is married to and Miami drug lord Mario Tabraue, who owns tigers so that he can cover up his drug ring with a “real” business… we kid you not.
We also get to meet and witness the weird and wonderful employees and volunteers of these people and they’re just as, ahem, colourful as their counterparts.
So colourful in fact, that according to TV Line, Universal Content Production is working on a limited series based on their lives, starring Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon.
McKinnon is set to play Baskin in the adaptation which will centre on the epic feud between her and Exotic and will no doubt address the mysterious case of Baskin’s missing first husband Jack “Don” Lewis who was declared legally dead in 2002 — her involvement unclear.
But before we get to the dramatisation, you have to watch this documentary series — if only for the fact that it is completely real and wildly disturbing, which makes for amazing TV.
WATCH: The Official Trailer for Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.