Tiger King: Where are They Now?

An Update on America’s Most Watched Show

Tiger King: Where are They Now?

When this Netflix docuseries hit the screens in the peak of U.S. quarantine, almost one and a half years ago, many Americans were tuned in. Why not? The show remained ranked on Netflix’s top ten for twenty-five consecutive days (a record breaker), and the ostentatious nature of the plot captivated a wide range of viewers. The seven episode series follows Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, professionally known as Joe Exotic, with the nickname of “Tiger King,” the title of the series.

Exotic is a multifaceted man. A self-made musician with two published albums – “Tiger King” and “Tiger King Part 2,” he also self stars in his music videos for his work, exhibiting his tendency to film essentially everything he does. A member of the Libertarian party, he is also a politician, as he ran for President in 2016, and then for Governor of Oklahoma in 2018. Additionally, he is a polygamous leader of what he describes his “little cult,” comprised of employees and customers that flock to his showcase of exotic cats in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. 

As the show features, his fame is in part due to his notorious apathy for Carole Baskin, a Floridian activist for big cats, and a woman believed, to have fed her husband to the said cats in her exotic animal sanctuary. However, there is no physical evidence for Joe Exotic’s controverisal claim. But its motivated by the fact Baskin has dedicated her career to trying to outlaw the private ownership and breeding of exotic cats. Overall, the genre of the exposé turned out to be comedy. Almost immediately following its premier, memes went into circulation on Twitter, and an extremely successful dance trend came off of a TikTok track singing about how Carole Baskin committed murder. 

It follows the recent trend on Netflix of “extreme storytelling,” media intended to go viral. As the show invades more into the cast’s lives, it falls more and more apart. Charleston’s very own Myrtle Beach was featured with the exotic animal owner, Bhagavan “Doc” Antle of Myrtle Beach Safari, a man who “coerces teenage girls working 100-hour weeks at his ranch to reach ‘his level of enlightenment’,” states Atlantic writer Sophie Gilbert in an article titled, “The Most-Watched Show in America is a Moral Failure.” It appears so absurd it doesn’t seem real, and in turn there is some glorification of the actions of the cast members. As it pertains to Joe Exotic, there is the very real issue of accounts of exotic animal breeding and abuse. The Humane Society of the United States has been investigating several institutions in Joe’s line of work, including himself, since 2011. 

With the two year anniversary of its release date coming, where is the cast of Tiger King now? 

Joe Exotic is still currently in prison serving his twenty-two year sentence for seventeen federal charges of animal abuse and hiring a hitman to murder Carole Baskin on two accounts. He proceeded to lose his property, including his animal facility, to Baskin in a lawsuit. Yet his husband Dillon Passage is sticking with him, being seen with cast members of Too Hot to Handle and Love is Blind. In the midst of what has been going on in the world, several petitions have been put online wanting to “free Joe Exotic.” He has appealed to celebrities like Cardi-B and the Kardashians to help him get out, and also asked former president Donald Trump to pardon him. Carole Baskin now has Exotic’s Oklahoma Zoo, post million dollar lawsuit, and is selling personalized videos for fans on Cameo. She was also featured in the last season of Dancing With the Stars, and has plans with her husband Howard to create their own series.

Jeff Lowe, an employee of Exotic, now has Exotic’s branding, as he runs an online version of the zoo, “The Tiger King Park.” Doc Antle now boasts over 1.4 million followers on TikTok,  but has also expressed that he was not pleased with his portrayal on the show. Saff, another of Exotic’s employees, has spent lockdown trying to execute a one-handed cartwheel.

Some of the cast members have opted in for an upcoming live Q and A, titled Uncaged: The Untold Stories of the Cast of Tiger King. The release date has been postponed, but it does promise to reveal never before seen footage.