Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Given the current state of the world, many of us have been staying at home and looking for ways to distract ourselves. And on March 20th, Netflix dropped one hell of a documentary series into our laps that has allowed many to stop thinking about COVID-19 for a little while. That series is "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness" and it's a seven part documentary following a man named Joseph-Maldonado-Passage or as he's better known—Joe Exotic. Exotic was the eccentric owner of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma—which once housed over 200 big cats on the property.
The show dives into many different facets of Exotic's life, from his three way relationship with two men to his run for President to a mysterious fire that destroyed his recording studio. However, the biggest plot point of the show is his relationship with Carole Baskin, his nemesis and the founder of Big Cat Rescue. The series breaks down Exotic and Baskin's ongoing feud, which included a number of lawsuits and ultimately led to Exotic attempting to hire someone to murder Baskin.
The feud between Exotic and Baskin began through their differing views on the treatment of big cats, such as lions, tigers and leopards, in captivity. For Baskin, she believes big cats should be rehabilitated, spayed/neutered and is against cub petting events. For Exotic, he was known to breed big cats, profited off cub petting and one of his employees had their arm amputated because of improper safety practices. Exotic fought back against Baskin by publishing a number of slanderous videos about her on his YouTube channel, making claims that she murdered her husband. Baskin fought back against Exotic with a million dollar lawsuit, which threatened to take away his parent's home.
Throughout the nearly five and a half hours of the series, we learned a great deal about both Exotic and Baskin as well as other kooky characters—such as Doc Antle, a fellow cub petting sanctuary owner (who notably has several wives), Jeff Lowe, a multimillionaire who took over Exotic's zoo (and is a well-known Las Vegas swinger) and Rick Kirkham, the filmmaker who spent years shooting a reality show about Exotic that never made it to the air.
However, the true unsung stars of "Tiger King" are the big cats themselves and the reason this story unfolded in the first place. One of the points this documentary makes is that the feud and the drama took away from both Exotic and Baskin's message—and that's to help big cats. Take a look at some of our favorite tattoos of big cats in the gallery below and to help out the tigers, who are endangered, take a look here at how you can help.