Hey, all you cool cats and kittens!
Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of “Tiger King” premiering on Netflix.
The bonkers true-crime docuseries got many of us through the early part of the pandemic, binge-watching the mullet-wearing, meth-addicted polygamist Joe Exotic, who formerly operated the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma.
A year later, you might be wondering: Where are all those crazy characters today?
Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for the alleged murder-for-hire plot against rival Carole Baskin. He was convicted of 17 violations related to wildlife trafficking.
He reportedly filed a $94 million lawsuit seeking civil damages from the government.
Last March, Cardi B tweeted that she was setting up a GoFundMe campaign for his release and many folks waited with bated breath to see if former President Donald Trump would pardon him in his final hours. The pardon never came.
Carole Baskin, owner of Big Cat Rescue, ripped the show in a 3,000-word blog post:
“When the directors of the Netflix documentary Tiger King came to us five years ago they said they wanted to make the big cat version of Blackfish (the documentary that exposed abuse at SeaWorld) that would expose the misery caused by the rampant breeding of big cat cubs for cub petting exploitation and the awful life the cats lead in roadside zoos and back yards if they survive.”
It’s understandable why she didn’t like the show. After all, it insinuated that she murdered her first husband, Don Lewis, who mysteriously disappeared in 1997. Sometimes the “court of public opinion” is more dangerous than the legal system.
Still, that hasn’t stopped her from capitalizing on her newfound fame. Baskin performed on “Dancing with the Stars” in September and has become one of Cameo’s most popular stars with 2,300 greetings, cementing her place in the pop culture lexicon.
Joe Exotic’s ex-husband John Finlay is now married to a woman, Stormey Sanders.
Together, they run the Facebook page “The Truth about John Finlay,” taking issue with his depiction as a tattooed freak with missing teeth throughout the TV series.
“Yes I have my teeth fixed,” Finlay said on Facebook. “The producers of the Netflix series had video and pictures of this but chose not to show it.”
He now works as a welder.
Jeff and Lauren Lowe
Jeff and Lauren Lowe have lost their license to exhibit wild animals.
Last November, the Department of Justice sued them for alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act and the USDA’s Animal Welfare Act.
In December, the Department of Justice filed a motion for a Temporary Restraining Order requiring that they comply with the Animal Welfare Act and give up all cubs under one year of age, as well as their mothers, to reputable sanctuaries.
Kevin Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, owner of Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina and founder of The Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.), has posted that he wasn’t happy with his portrayal in the show and regrets his participation.
He has since been charged with two felony counts related to wildlife trafficking and 13 additional misdemeanors.
His daughters, Tawny Antle and Tilakam Watterson, also face similar misdemeanor charges for animal cruelty and alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act.
Tim Stark had his USDA license revoked for violating the Animal Welfare Act numerous times. He recently faced a civil penalty of $40,000 and his animals have been seized.